William Hill World Darts Championship Day Seven

Gerwyn Price (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

Gerwyn Price survived a huge scare against William O'Connor on Day Seven of the 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Championship on Thursday at London's Alexandra Palace.

World number three Price was twice a leg away from crashing out of the tournament, but Republic of Ireland's O'Connor was unable to deliver the fatal blow.

With the deciding set tied at 2-2 in legs, O'Connor approached the oche needing four points but threw at double one, allowing Price to take out 75 to break throw before winning it with a 13-dart leg.

With Rob Cross and Michael Smith among the seeded players to fall at the first hurdle, Price showed determination to avoid joining them but admitted he never felt at ease on the big stage. 

"That's the most uncomfortable I've ever felt in a darts match, I couldn't handle the heat up there," admitted Price, who will meet John Henderson in round three.

"From the moment I walked out I never felt at ease and I ended up chasing Willie throughout; he was probably the better player.

"He put me under pressure and I knew I don't have the best of records here but a win's a win.

"I had a bit of luck with Willie going for the wrong double at the end but I'm not going to tap him on the shoulder and tell him that!

"I've won tournaments before where I should've gone out in my first game so maybe this could be another one of those."

After edging the opening set 3-2, Price lost both the next two 3-1 to go within a set of a shock early exit.

Set four went to a deciding leg, putting the Welsh number one on the brink for the first time in the contest but Price found a last dart double six for a 15-dart leg when he needed it most.

With O'Connor 2-1 up in the deciding set, another 15-dart leg from Price took the match to a tie-break, before O'Connor's counting error allowed Price to go ahead for the first time since set one.

Price produced a timely 180 in the next leg, followed by a 134 setup shot to leave double 18 which he pinned with his first dart to relieve fears of a first hurdle exit.

World Championship results (PDC)

Day Seven of darts' biggest event also saw Chris Dobey reach the third round in dramatic fashion, as he survived two match darts to overcome Ron Meulenkamp in a thrilling tie-break.

Having squandered a two-set lead, Dobey found himself 2-0 down in the deciding set but after the Dutchman missed two darts at double eight to end the contest, Dobey made no mistake on double 14 to level at 2-2.

A 14-dart leg earned Dobey a crucial break of throw, before the next leg saw the Northumbrian seal the win on double eight to reach round three where he will meet Mensur Suljovic or history-maker Fallon Sherrock.

"It's an amazing feeling to win on that stage, it would've been really disappointing to lose here after a good year," said Dobey.

"When I hit double 14 to level in the last set I said 'I'm still here' and I always say it's never over until it's over.

"I don't mind who I play next but I thought Fallon was absolutely outstanding the other night, I was out there watching and the atmosphere was fantastic."

Two-time World Championship quarter-finalist Dave Chisnall safely secured his passage through to the third round with a 3-1 win over Vincent van der Voort.

Although Chisnall struggled to produce his trademark high-scoring on a consistent basis, his accuracy on the outer ring saw him miss just five darts at double to keep Van der Voort at bay.

Chisnall, who has enjoyed a return to form in 2019, will face another Dutchman, Jeffrey de Zwaan in round three.

"I'm really happy with the win, Vincent is a top player so I'm relieved to get a difficult first game out of the way," said Chisnall.

"I've changed darts but it's not just that, I feel relaxed playing and I probably want it more now than ever before.

"I've never practiced like this for a World Championship and hopefully this year we're going to see the best version of myself.

"If I play my best game all the way through, who knows what could happen?"

Steve Beaton began his 19th PDC World Championship with a 3-1 victory over Australian number two Kyle Anderson.

With Beaton leading 2-1 in sets, Anderson missed three darts to take the contest to a deciding set before Beaton clinically took out 50 in two darts to advance to round three.

Beaton now has the chance to reach last 16 for first time since the 2003/04 event against eighth seed James Wade.

Popular Scot Henderson breezed into the last 32 for the third year in a row with a 3-0 whitewash of James Richardson.

Richardson, who came through a last-leg shoot-out with Mikuru Suzuki in round one, registered just three legs in the contest as Henderson dominated throughout.

There was a less simple passage into the last 32 for Danny Noppert, who came from behind to beat Callan Rydz 3-2.

Debutant Rydz landed a 160 checkout on his way to a 2-1 lead in sets, before World Series of Darts Finals runner-up Noppert won six of the last seven legs to book his place in round three against Kim Huybrechts.

There was heart-break for last year's quarter-finalist Ryan Joyce as he missed four match darts against Jan Dekker.

From 2-0 down in sets, Joyce fought hard to take the match to a deciding but Dutchman Dekker made the most of his chance to reach round two for a second successive year where he will take on Welsh number two Jonny Clayton.

A day of drama also saw Justin Pipe survive three match darts as he fought back from 2-1 down to defeat Slovenian debutant Benjamin Pratnemer.

Pratnemer missed a trio of darts at double ten and double five to win 3-1, before Pipe found a vital last dart double eight to level.

Pipe then went on to win the deciding set 3-1 to enjoy a winning return to darts' biggest stage after a two-year absence, with world number six Daryl Gurney awaiting him in round two.

The William Hill World Championship continues on Friday with two sessions of second round action, as Peter Wright begins his quest for the Sid Waddell Trophy against Noel Malicdem of the Philippines.

Day Eight will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Darts channel and through NOW TV in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

Thursday December 19
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
2x First Round, 2x Second Round

Justin Pipe 3-2 Benjamin Pratnemer (First Round)
Jan Dekker 3-2 Ryan Joyce (First Round) 
John Henderson 3-0 James Richardson (Second Round)
Steve Beaton 3-1 Kyle Anderson (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round

Chris Dobey 3-2 Ron Meulenkamp (Second Round)
Danny Noppert 3-2 Callan Rydz (Second Round)
Dave Chisnall 3-1 Vincent van der Voort (Second Round)
Gerwyn Price 3-2 William O’Connor (Second Round)

Friday December 20
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
4x Second Round

Darren Webster v Yuki Yamada (Second Round)
Mervyn King v Ciaran Teehan (Second Round)
Jonny Clayton v Joyce/Dekker (Second Round)
Ricky Evans v Mark McGeeney (Second Round)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round

Nathan Aspinall v Danny Baggish (Second Round)
Joe Cullen v Nico Kurz (Second Round)
Max Hopp v Benito van de Pas (Second Round)
Peter Wright v Noel Malicdem (Second Round)