Raymond van Barneveld capped a dream year to take the 2007 PDC World Championship title
As reigning BDO world champions Glen Durrant and Mikuru Suzuki prepare for their Ally Pally bows, we look at the memorable World Championship debuts and the ones to forget from high-profile stars who made the switch across to the PDC.
Raymond van Barneveld (2007 – champion)
When Raymond van Barneveld moved to the PDC, there was a relief amongst darts fans as the debate as to the best player in the world would be settled.
The Dutch master had picked up four Lakeside titles, at a time when Phil Taylor was in his pomp. Finally, they were on a collision course.
Coming into the Circus Tavern tournament at Christmas time in 2006, it was difficult to contain the hype.
It looked set to be ending before it truly started for Barney, however, when he trailed top seed Colin Lloyd 3-0 in a second-round race to four. Nonetheless, from there he clicked into gear, winning four sets on the bounce. Indeed, he did not drop another set en route to the final, with 4-0, 5-0 and 6-0 wins over Rico Vonck, Alan Tabern and Andy Jenkins respectively.
That set up a mouth-watering final against Phil Taylor, as it was to be settled on the grandest stage of them all. It did not disappoint, as Barney edged the contest in one of the greatest darts matches ever seen.
Barney beat the Power in an epic
Mark Webster (2010 – semi-finalist)
Mark Webster made his Ally Pally debut at the 2010 World Championships, two years on from capturing its BDO equivalent.
The Welshman came to the Ally Pally unseeded, but slowly went about his business, knocking out seeds Mark Walsh, Peter Manley, Kirk Shepherd and Co Stompe, improving game on game.
Eventually, he became unstuck when he ran into a certain Phil Taylor in the semi-final, as the Power averaged 106 in a 6-0 romp. Nonetheless, Webster had done enough to well and truly announce himself on the PDC stage, and 12 months later went on to avenge that loss against Taylor.
Mark Webster quickly adapted to the PDC
Rob Cross (2018 – champion)
Darts has never seen a fairytale quite like it. Voltage enjoyed a hugely promising year on tour, but few could have predicted what would transpire upon his first visit to the Ally Pally.
Seeded 20th, he overcame Sergio Asada, Michael Smith, John Henderson and Dimitri Van den Bergh to reach the semi-final. Indeed, his wins over the Bully Boy and the Dream-Maker were nail-biters, and he survived two match darts against the former.
He rode his luck at times, but he could not have been accused of not taking his opportunities when they were presented.
A stunning semi-final win over favourite Michael van Gerwen followed, in which the top seed missed six shots for the match, as Voltage edged what many consider to be the greatest game seen at the Alexandra Palace.
Talyor was lying in wait in the decider, looking for a 17th world title in his final ever game. Cross clearly had not read the script, hammering the Power with a 107.67 average.
Rob Cross stunned the darting world
Jelle Klaasen (2008 – first round)
Klaasen created history with a Lakeside final win over Raymond van Barneveld in 2006, bursting onto the scene at 21 to become the youngest winner of a World Championship.
When he did eventually switch organisations, his impact in the PDC was not immediate, although he has gone on to make the semi-finals more recently.
He suffered a narrow defeat to fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort upon his first attempt at the PDC Worlds, as he exited at the first round stage.
Jelle Klaasen subsequently delivered at the Ally Pally, reaching the final four in 2016
Gary Anderson (2010 – second round)
Anderson was considered one of the best in the business when in the BDO, winning a host of high-profile titles including a 2007 World Darts Trophy final win over Phil Taylor.
However, it never quite happened for him at Lakeside – his final bow at the BDO worlds culminated in a quarter-final loss to Tony O’Shea, after which he famously threw his darts into the lake near the arena.
While he was finding his feet in the PDC, he was drafted in for an exhibition during the 2009 Premier League, as Wayne Mardle had to withdraw due to illness. The Flying Scotsman took to the Cardiff stage in style, averaging 107 in a defeat of John Part.
However, once he came to the Ally Pally, he did not make a splash.
A 3-2 win over Jamie Caven in the first round was as good as it got, as he was outplayed by Ronnie Baxter in the last 32, losing 4-0.
Gary Anderson bounced back the following year, reaching the decider on his second attempt
Christian Kist (2015 – first round)
The 2012 Lakeside champ made his debut at the Ally Pally three years on from that world title. He enjoyed a promising year on the PDC tour, climbing to number 45 on the Order of Merit.
However, he ran into another former Lakeside winner in the form of Jelle Klaasen, in the first round of the worlds. Klaasen beat his countryman 3-1, as Kist exited tamely.
Since then, he has only managed one win at the PDC World Championships, a 2016 first-round win over Justin Pipe.
Christian Kist failed to find his 2012 form in the PDC
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The action is back on your Sky Sports screens in December with the World Championship from Alexandra Palace. It all gets underway on Friday, December 13.