Dobey claims his best is yet to come ahead of Ally Pally return

Chris Dobey (PDC)

Chris Dobey will be hoping to build upon his breakthrough 2023 season when he begins his Paddy Power World Darts Championship campaign against Ireland’s Willie O’Connor this evening.

Dobey dumped out former winners Gary Anderson and Rob Cross on his way to the 2022/23 World Championship quarter-finals, before succumbing to a rampant Michael van Gerwen in the last eight.

Dobey then claimed his maiden Premier TV title with victory in January's Masters, which earned him a full Premier League debut after his previous appearances as a contender in 2019 and 2020.

“Hopefully I can better last year’s quarter-finals," claimed Dobey, who will take on former European Champion Ross Smith if he defeats O'Connor.

“I played brilliantly [last year]. I played a great game with Rob Cross before I played Michael [van Gerwen], so I finally broke that curse getting past the last 16 stage."

His last eight showing at Alexandra Palace was the beginning of an impressive 2023, and despite finishing seventh on his Premier League bow, he underlined his credentials with a string of ton-plus averages.

The Newcastle man credits his run at last year's World Championship to his success this year, and he now has his sights set on a return to the sport's biggest roadshow.

“I think that kickstarted this year leading up to the Masters," admitted Dobey, currently ranked 17th on the PDC Order of Merit.

"Knowing that I can actually go so far in the biggest event of them all, then winning the Masters and taking it into the Premier League was big for me.

“I played some good stuff [in the Premier League]. I didn’t get the results I probably deserved but I loved every minute of it.

“Once I’ve had that taste, I want another taste of it, so I’ll be trying to get back there.”

The Masters champion also added quarter-finals at the World Matchplay and the European Championship to his CV, and exacted revenge on three-time World Champion van Gerwen at the World Grand Prix. 

“I’m just happy to be playing and being consistent as well so I think the only way is up," continued the man nicknamed 'Hollywood'.

"It’s a normal thing now [getting] to these quarter-finals, it’s just trying to get that win and get another taste of victory.

“My best is still to come, without a doubt. I still haven’t produced anything like my best on stage yet; what I do in practice is ridiculous.”

Dobey has experienced highs and lows under the spotlight of darts’ biggest stage, and has earmarked his clash with Fallon Sherrock as his favourite memory from his seven previous World Championship appearances.

The Bedlington thrower ended the history-making run of Sherrock in 2019 and was full of admiration for the ‘Queen of the Palace.’

“Obviously I’ve had some great games, but my best memory was the game against Fallon [Sherrock]," Dobey claimed.

“I think there was so much pressure riding on that, so much on the line. She had done fantastic to get to where she was, but I was going out there to do one job and that was to get the win.

“I knew the crowd was going to be against me and all for Fallon and I think it was - at that time - my best performance on the World Championship stage as well.

"I just prepared exactly the same way, take nothing for granted and you’ve got to treat her like any other player.

“You can’t treat her differently because she’s a woman, she deserved to be there and she earned the right to be there.”

Dobey begins his hunt for World Championship glory in the final game of the evening against O'Connor, who whitewashed Bhav Patel in nine straight legs to book his place in round two.

2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship
Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round

Dimitri Van den Bergh v Florian Hempel (R2)
Martin Schindler v Jermaine Wattimena (R2)
Raymond van Barneveld v Radek Szaganski (R2)
Chris Dobey v William O'Connor (R2)