Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor and Michael van Gerwen make the unwanted list…
We’ve selected our top five darting shocks from down the years at the PDC World Championship, and there have been a few seismic ones. Which one gets your vote as the most shocking? Let us know by Tweeting us @SkySportsDarts
Ever heard of James Richardson? Well, five-time winner Raymond van Barneveld knew all about him by the time the world No 85 had crushed his dreams in 2012. The Dutch legend won just four legs against the bricklayer and was left in the rubble at Ally Pally.
Richardson, who was in his first season with the PDC, enjoyed two 145 checkouts in a victory that helped him set up a clash with Kim Huybrechts in the last 32.
Michael Smith also gets on the roll of honour after pulling off a major upset by dumping out an off-colour Phil Taylor in 2014 with a 4-3 second-round win.
Taylor produced an error-strewn display, but ‘Bully Boy’ wasn’t overawed and finished the King of Darts off in style, producing 11 and 13-dart legs in the decider before clinching the set 4-2 on the bull.
Kent qualifier Kirk Shepherd so nearly produced a Leicester City-style title win in 2007. After Wayne Mardle had knocked out Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals, ‘Hawaii 501’ was hot favourite to make the final, where John Part was waiting.
But the sheet-metal worker from Ramsgate had not read the script and defeated Mardle 6-4 amid an outpouring of emotion to become the youngest player ever to reach a PDC world final at just 21.
“I’m on cloud nine – I’m pinching myself all the time,” said Shepherd, who was rated as a 500/1 outsider at the start of the tournament.
“I believe I can do it – I know I can win this.”
Darth Maple put an end to his dreams with a 7-2 win in the final.
Top-seed Colin Lloyd slipped to a surprise first-round defeat to St Helens qualifier Gary Welding in 2005. ‘Jaws’ was beaten 3-2 despite cruising into a 2-0 lead.
Welding, who celebrated his victory with a belly flop on the oche, said: “I thought I had the second worst draw next to having to face Phil Taylor, but Colin has been playing as well as Phil. I thought if I could beat him I would get all the limelight!”
Last year, Michael van Gerwen was hot favourite against Van Barneveld, but Barney turned back the clock to produce a vintage display in a 4-3 third-round thriller at Ally Pally.
In a meeting between the two Dutchmen, five-time world champion Van Barneveld finished things off with 96 from two darts following a see-saw battle which saw both men hit the heights.
Competition favourite Van Gerwen exited with the highest losing match average (105.78) that the World Championship had ever witnessed.
The 2018 World Championship from Alexandra Palace starts on Thursday, December 14 and ends New Year’s Day.