Canadians Jeff Smith, Matt Campbell learn draw at World Darts Championship

Neil Davidson
The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Jeff (The Silencer) Smith will face Keane Barry while fellow Canadian Matt (Ginga Ninja) Campbell takes on Scott Waites in the first round of the William Hill World Darts Championship.

The 2.5-million-pound ($4.3 million) tournament starts Dec. 15 and runs through Jan. 3 at London’s Alexandra Palace. The winner earns 500,000 pounds ($868,990).

Ninety-six players from 29 countries are represented in the field.

The tournament will be the first Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) event in the U.K., to feature a live crowd since March, with up to 1,000 fans at each session.

Should Campbell advance he will face sixth seed Nathan Aspinall of England, who has been a semifinalist the last two years. But he has to get by Waites, a former Grand Slam of Darts winner and two-time BDO World Darts Champion.

Smith would face No. 22 Chris Dobey in the second round if he beats Barry, an 18-year-old from Ireland.

Peter Wright, the second seed from Scotland, will begin his title defence against either England’s Steve West or India’s Amit Gilitwala. World No. 1 Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands will meet either Scotland’s Ryan Murray or Philippines qualifier Lourence Ilagan.

The draw sees the top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit go through to round two, with the first round featuring the ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers up against qualifiers and international representatives.

Smith and Campbell combined last month to help Canada reach the quarterfinals of the BetVictor World Cup of Darts in Salzburg, Austria.

Smith, a 45-year-old from Hampton, N.B., is the lone Canadian currently competing on the PDC Tour. He works at an auto body shop in nearby Saint John when he is not on the pro darts circuit.

Smith’s calendar has been restricted by the need to quarantine after being out of the country. He elected to skip the recent Ladbrokes Players Championship in England because of that.

En route to the World Cup, he had to stop in England to get a COVID-19 test because Austria required a negative test within three days of entering and he couldn’t get that in New Brunswick.

Campbell is a 31-year-old welder from Hamilton.