Richardson ready for the next test after his narrow success

James Richardson is targeting a place in the third round of the William Hill World Championship after narrowly avoided a place in the history books at the weekend.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:15 pm
Rushden's James Richardson celebrates during his first-round win over Mikuru Suzuki in the World Darts Championship. Picture courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The Rushden player held his nerve to clinch a 3-2 first-round victory over Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki who was one of two female players in this year’s competition.

With the boisterous Alexandra Palace crowd firmly in his opponent’s corner, Richardson raced into a 2-0 lead in sets and also led 2-0 in the third before Suzuki stormed back to win the next seven legs to level the match up.

She missed two darts to go two legs ahead in the decider but a 101 checkout forced a sudden-death leg, which Richardson won on tops with Suzuki waiting on 36.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Having come through that, ‘Ruthless’ is now gearing up to take on John Henderson in the second round on Thursday afternoon.

And he knows it will be a “completely different game” to the one he faced on Sunday.

“It was an interesting night,” Richardson said as he reflected on his win.

“I was cruising at 2-0 up in sets but she clawed it back and the crowd played their part in helping to make that happen.

“I was expecting it to be like that. I knew it was coming and it was all about me having to deal with it.

“I thought I dealt with it well. I kept calm. I always felt I would win but I wasn’t expecting it to go to the last leg like that!

“I have played John loads of times on the PDC ProTour and the European Tour. I couldn’t tell you what the head-to-head statistics are.

“But it will be a completely different game and I will be more relaxed.

“He’s been doing it for years and he is a seasoned pro. But I think I have the game to get through.”

The winner of that match between Henderson and Richardson will go on to play either world number three Gerwyn Price or William O’Connor in the third round on Friday, December 27.

Kettering’s Ricky Evans gets his campaign under way in the second round on Friday afternoon when he takes on Mark McGeeney.

The winner of that will then face the ultimate test against defending champion and world number one Michael van Gerwen on Sunday evening.