Australian teenager Ky Smith has been knocked out of the World Darts Championship at London’s Alexandra Palace, leaving his family’s hopes now resting on the broad shoulders of his dad, Ray.
- Ky Smith lost 3-1 to Dutchman Maik Kuivenhoven
- Ray Smith with face South African Devon Petersen in the second round
- Brisbane’s Gordon Mathers was also eliminated in the first round
It sealed a disappointing Sunday afternoon session for Australia’s challenge at the famed ‘Ally Pally’ venue, as fellow Brisbane marksman Gordon Mathers also lost in the first round.
Nineteen-year-old Queenslander Smith had been hoping to follow in the arrow path of 42-year-old Ray by making it through to the second round.
Yet, the young debutant, who’d qualified by winning the recent Oceanic Masters, couldn’t find the same form that his dad produced 24 hours earlier, losing three sets to one to Dutchman Maik Kuivenhoven.
While Ray had averaged 94.84 on Saturday in his win over Englishman Jamie Hughes, Ky could only manage a disappointing 79.36 with every three darts.
That was nowhere near enough to trouble his 33-year-old Netherlands opponent, who averaged nearly 10 points a visit more than Smith as he raced into a 2-0 lead, even while squandering plenty of shots at doubles.
Smith’s only bright moments came when he took advantage of Kuivenhoven’s nervy doubling attempts in the third set but the Dutchman then took the fourth by three legs to one to book his place in the second round.
Ky, who had been dreaming of a high-profile second-round clash with England star James Wade, will now stay in London to watch Ray’s match against South African Devon Petersen on Tuesday.
In another disappointment for the five-strong Australian challenge, 40-year-old Mathers couldn’t take advantage of his late call-up for the championships after Spaniard Juan Francisco Rodriguez was ruled out of the event after testing positive for COVID-19.
Mathers, the next-best-ranked player on the reserve list, suffered a 3-1 loss to England’s Jason Heaver.
Mathers, making his third championship appearance after winning his PDC Tour Card at qualifying school and basing himself in England this year, couldn’t find his best, averaging only 81.61.
He found some hope by dragging himself back into the match by taking the third set 3-2 but eventually succumbed 3-0 in the fourth set.
Australia’s chances now rest with Ray Smith and the nation’s top two players, world number 20 Simon Whitlock and number 31 Damon Heta