The Top 5 World Darts Championship Upsets - Some Unknown Stars Have Dished Out Epic Giant-Killings
With the draw for the 2018/19 William Hill World Darts Championship having taken place last night there will be a whole host of emerging players looking to make a name for themselves at the Alexandra Palace when the tournament gets under way on December 13.
Down the years there have been some memorable giant-killings to take place on the Ally Pally stage and we pick out five of the standout upsets to have rocked the PDC darting circuit.
5 - James Richardson beat Raymond van Barneveld 3-0 in first round (2012/13)
Five times world champion Raymond van Barneveld was expected to defeat Englishman James Richardson with relative ease in the first round of the 2012/13 tournament, but the Dutchman failed to find his mojo on the oche as Richardson ran out a sensational 3-0 winner. Averaging over 90 in the match, 'Barney' struggled to see out the legs as Richardson, who averaged less, sent shockwaves around the Ally Pally. Richardson was knocked out in round two by Kim Huybrechts 4-1, but his victory over van Barneveld will live long in the memory.
4 - Kevin Munch beat Adrian Lewis 3-1 in first round (2017/18)
Dual world champion Adrian Lewis has struggled to deliver the sort of first-class performances he showed when winning back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2012, but 'Jackpot's' defeat to relative unknown German Kevin Munch in last year's tournament is another memorable giant-killing. With both players averaging over 93 it was game jam-packed with quality, but while Lewis looked to use his experience to secure a second round spot, Munch held his nerve to land double 8 to defeat a shell-shocked Lewis.
3 - Kirk Shepherd beat Wayne Mardle 6-4 in semi-finals (2007/08)
A 1000-1 outsider at the start of the 2007/08 World Darts Championship, qualifier Kirk Shepherd produced the finest performances of his darting career to reach the final of the showpiece event on the darts calendar, but while he lost to John Part in the final, Shepherd's 6-4 victory over Wayne Mardle in the semi-finals will live long in the memory. Mardle had just knocked out Phil Taylor as he went in search of his first world title, but he failed to perform with the same vim and vigour and Shepherd managed to outbattle his fellow English thrower and land one of the great victories.
2 - Bill Davis beat John Part 3-0 in first round (2008/09)
Heading into the 2008/09 event as reigning champion, John Part was handed a relatively straight-forward first round draw against American Bill Davis, but what looked an easy win on paper for 'Darth Maple' turned into a nightmare as Davis bagged a shock 3-0 first round win. Davis wasn't overawed by facing Part on the Alexandra Palace stage and he showed tremendous temperament to knock out Part in one of the biggest shocks in the history of the event.
1 - Michael Smith beat Phil Taylor 4-3 in second round (2013/14)
16-times world champion Phil Taylor had cruised past Rob Szabo in the first round of the 2013/14 World Darts Championship, but 'The Power' was well and truly cut in the second round as the Stoke thrower was beaten 4-3 by a youthful-looking Michael Smith in arguably the biggest shock in recent times. Heading into the event on the back of his World Youth Championship, Smith wasn't expected to challenge the experienced table, but the man dubbed 'Bully Boy' produced one of his finest displays to knock out Taylor 4-3 with a stunning 128 checkout to etch his name in darts folklore.