UK Open 2022: Predictions for the First Round

uk-open-darts-preview-banner uk-open-darts-preview-banner
TournamentUK Open
TimetableMarch 4th: Starts at 11:00
PredictionRafferty, Klassen, and Rodriguez to win.
Odds1.61 (Bet €100 and win €161 if Nathan Rafferty wins)
Rafferty, Klassen, and Rodriguez to win.
The best odds
Odds : 1.44
If Nathan Rafferty wins, you will receive €100 x 1.61 = €161
€50+ 50 Free Spins
Casumo Sport
Odds : 1.25
If Jelle Klaasen wins, you will receive €100 x 1.25 = €125
Odds : 1.89
If Rowdy-John Rodriguez wins, you will receive €100 x 1.89 = €189

The 2022 Ladbrokes UK Open darts will be played at the Butlin's Minehead Resort from the 4th to the 6th of March. This competition is considered to be the FA Cup of darts and will see 160 players compete for the right to lift the title and the top prize of £100,000. James Wade is the defending champion, having beaten Luke Humphries 11-5 in the 2021 final. The first round is due to be played on the 4th of March, and below we take a look at the full fixtures and a closer look at some of the matches to keep a look out for.

Some Predicted Winners from the First Round

Above we provided you with the full fixture list for the First Round of the UK Open, and now we are going to take some time to look at a number of the matches and provide you with who we think will go on to win the match.

Jelle Klaasen vs Mark Rice

At the age of 21, Jelle Klassen became the youngest person ever to win the World Darts Championship, and big things were expected of him. However, things have not turned out the way that many expected, and he has not won anything since. The last couple of years have been quite poor for him, having failed to qualify for a number of the big events such as the Premier League Darts, The Masters, and the Grand Slam of Darts. He has been on a bit of a poor run of form lately too, having won just four of his last 10 matches.

Mark Rice, on the other hand, is a darts player that not even the most avid of darts fans have even heard of. He has career earnings of just £340 and his best major result is the last 128 of the 2016 UK Open. These two played have never played against each other, and the bookmakers have Klaasen as the clear favourite to win the match, which is not surprising. We also think that Klassen will win the game but, given his recent form, we are sure that Rice will be somewhat confident of being able to cause an upset.

Our match prediction: Klaasen to win.

John O'Shea vs Nathan Rafferty

John O'Shea is ranked 106 in the world, but he has the very notable achievement of having won the 2019 World Masters by beating Scott Waites 6-4 in the final. He was non-seeded for the tournament and became the third non-seeded player to win the tournament in three consecutive seasons. In addition to this, he also became the first player from Ireland to win a major darts competition in the modern era. His best performance in a PDC event is reaching the last 96 of the UK Open in 2011. However, he has been in some poor form lately, having lost seven of his previous 10 matches.

Nathan Rafferty is more than half the age of O'Shea, and he made his television debut back in 2018 during the UK Open, where he beat Jason Mold, Peter Wright in Round 3, and then lost to Robert Owen. The fact that he managed to beat a player of Wright's quality shows that he is a skilled player. He is in better form than O'Shea, having won six of his last ten games.

Who will end up being victorious in this match? Well, while we think that this will be a close game, we think that Rafferty will come out on top. The likes of Betway have him as their favourite to win this match, giving him odds of 1.61 compared to odds of 2.30 for O’Shea to win.

Match prediction: Nathan Rafferty to win.

Prakash Jiwa vs Toni Alcinas

Prakash Jiwa is an experienced darts player, having been playing darts for more than three decades now. However, he has not had that much success, with his best performances in PDC premier events being making it to the Last 96 of the UK Open in 2012 and 2013. He is in some decent form as of late, having picked up ten wins from his last six matches.

Toni Alcinas is probably someone that you have heard or seen more of since in 2008 he made it to the last 24 of the World Masters. Then, in 2018, he made it to the Last 16 round of the World Championship and the Last 64 of the Players Championship Finals. In 2010 and 2011, he also made it to the Last 32 of the European Championship. When it comes to the UK Open, his best performance came in 2014 where he made it to the Last 64. He has five wins and five losses from his previous ten matches.

It is not easy to pick a winner from this match, but if we were to place a bet on it, then we would put our cash on Alcinas to be victorious.

Our match prediction: Toni Alcinas to win.

Ted Evetts vs Nick Fullwell

Ted Evetts is just 24 years of age, and he is currently ranked as the 128th best player in the world. He showed his class in 2021 by winning the PDC World Youth Champion, beating the aforementioned Nathan Rafferty 6-4 in the final. Some of his best performances in PDC Premier events include reaching the Last 64 of the World Championship in 2018 and 2019 and reaching the Last 32 of the 2019 and 2021 European Championship. When it comes to the UK Open, his best performance was reaching the Last 32 stage in 2017. However, with just two wins from his last ten matches, it must be said that he is really out of form at the moment.

Nick Fullwell started playing darts seven years before Evetts was even born, but despite this the latter has still had more success on the darts stage. Fullwell's best PDC Premier events were the World Championship in 2009, where he made it to the Last 64, and the 2014 UK Open where he also made it to the Last 64. At the time of writing, he currently sits in 127th place in the world rankings, so one place ahead of his opponent. He has also not been in great form lately, having won three of his last ten matches.

So, who do we think will go and win this match? Well, their form is pretty much the same from the last ten matches that they have played, but given the fact that Evetts has had more success on the international darts stage, despite his much younger age, we think that he will come out on top. Betway also agrees with us here as they have Evetts as their favourite with odds of 1.50 to Fullwell’s 2.62.

Match Prediction: Ted Evetts to win.

Bradley Brooks vs Rowby-John Rodriguez

Bradley Brooks is another youngster who should have a pretty decent darts career ahead of him. He showcased his talent back in 2020 when he won the PDC World Youth Championship by beating Joe Davis 6-5 in the final. In the 2021 and 2022 World Championship, he made it to the Last 96, and in the 2021 Grand Slam of Darts he was eliminated in the Last 16. His best performance in the UK Open came in 2020, when he made it to the Last 64. What has his form been like as of late though? Well, from his last ten matches, he has won just three of them.

Rowby-John Rodriguez is an Austrian darts player that is ranked 118th in world, and he has participated in a number of the best PDC Premier events. For example, he played in the Last 64 of the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2022 World Championship and made it to the Last 16 in the 2021 Grand Slam of Darts and the 2015 European Championship. When it comes to the UK Open, his best performance to date has been the Last 64 in the 2021 edition. He is in the same form as Brooks, since he has also lost all but three of his previous ten games.

So, who will win this match? Well, it is a tough one to call since it could go either way, but we think Rowby-John Rodriguez will put his experience to good use and come out on top here.

Our match predictions: Rowby-John Rodriguez to win.

Jim Williams vs Ryan Murray

Jim Williams is a Welsh darts player who is currently ranked as the 106th best player in the world. In the past he has had quite a bit of success in BDO majors, having won the World Darts Trophy in 2019, beating Richard Veenstra 8-6 in the final. He also finished in second place at the 2020 World Championship and the 2017 Finder Masters. When it comes to PDC Premier Events, he played in the Last 64 of the World Championship and the Group Stage of the 2018, 2019, and 2021 Grand Slam of Darts. His best showing in the UK Open was reaching the Last 96 in 2021. At the time of writing, he has won four of his last ten games.

Ryan Murray is a Scottish darts player who once had the misfortune of watching Michael van Gerwen hit two nine-dart finishes against him in a qualifier match for the UK Open. With regard to PDC Premier events, he has participated in the Last 64 of the World Championship in 2021, and made it to the last 32 of the 2020 Players Championship Finals. His best finish in the UK Open came in 2011 and 2017, when he made it to the Last 96. He is in the exact same form as Williams, also having won just four of his last 10 games.

This is a tricky match to pick a winner from, since both players are more or less the same quality, but Williams has performed slightly better throughout his who darts career, so this is who we would end up putting our money on.

Our match prediction: Williams to win.

Ryan Harrington vs Rusty-Jake Rodriguez

Ryan Harrington is probably best known for being the son of Rod Harrington, a former player who won the World Masters in 1991 and the World Matchplay in 1998 and 1999. Unfortunately for Ryan, he has not come anywhere close to emulating the performances of his father. His best performance to date was at the 2016 Grand Slam of Darts tournament where he made it to the last 16 before losing to Dave Chisnall. In 2015, 2016, and 2018 he played in the Last 64 of the UK Open. From his last ten darts matches, he has won three games and lost seven, so is a bit out of form going into this competition.

Rusty-Jake Rodriguez, at the age of 21, is one of the youngest participants in the competition. In 2017, he won the very first Junior Darts Corporation World Championship. Since then, he has played in the Last 64 of the World Championship in 2022 and the Last 64 of the Players Championship Finals in 2021. From the last ten matches that he has participated in, he has won just the two matches.

Yet again, this is another hard one to call. Bookmakers such as Betway have Rodriguez as the slight favourite to win, and we are inclined to agree with them there.

Our Match Prediction: Rusty-Jake Rodriguez to win.

George Killington vs Reece Robinson

George Killington is a player that we are pretty sure you have not really heard much about, and we cannot say that we blame you. He is 25 years of age, and the only PDC Premier events that he has played in is the UK Open, where his best performances came in 2018 and 2019 when he reached the Last 96. From his last ten matches, he has won half of them and lost half of them.

Reece Robinson is yet another player who you have probably not heard a lot about. At the time of writing, he has only played at the UK Open, and his best performance came back in 2011 when he made it to the Last 32. From the last ten games that he has played, he has 7 defeats and three wins under his belt.

When it comes to the winner of this match, Betway has priced Killington at odds of 1.50 and Robinson at odds of 2.62, and this is something that we agree with.

Our match prediction: George Killington to win.

Winners from the Other Matches

We have provided you with our predictions for eight matches that we think are worth paying attention to from the first round, and in the table below you can find our predicted winner for the remaining games.

Kai Fan Leung vs Fabian SchmutzlerKai Fan Leung
Mario Vandenbogaerde vs Jules van DongenMario Vandenbogaerde
Richie Burnett vs Tony MartinezRichie Burnett
Martin Thomas vs Kenny NeyensMartin Thomas
Dan Read vs Diogo PortelaDiogo Portela
James Wilson vs Shaun WilkinsonJames Wilson
Jurjen van der Velde vs Mickey MansellMickey Mansell
Vladimir Andersen vs Steve ClaysonVladimir Andersen
Wesley Plasier vs Radoslaw SzaganskiRadoslaw Szaganski
Danny Jansen vs Liam MeekDanny Jansen
Shaun McDonald vs Jamie ClarkJamie Clark
Luc Peters vs Paul MarshLuc Peters
Matt Campbell vs Sebastian BialeckiMatt Campbell
Danny Lauby Jr. vs Niko SpringerDanny Lauby Jr.
Ryan Harrington vs Rusty-Jake RodriguezRusty-Jake Rodriguez
Darren Webster vs José JusticiaJosé Justicia
Josh Rock vs Damian MolJosh Rock
Matt Good vs Keelan KayKeelan Kay
Ricardo Pietreczko vs Scott TaylorScott Taylor
Paul Hogan vs Dom TaylorPaul Hogan
Darren Beveridge vs Jimmy HendriksJimmy Hendricks
Ross Montgomery vs Reece ColeyRoss Montgomery
Adam Warner vs Lukas WenigLukas Wenig
Kevin Burness vs Graham HallKevin Burness

The Format of the Competition

The 160 players that will make up the 2022 UK Open will enter the tournament incrementally. For example, the players that are ranked 1-32 in the PDC Order of Merit will be given byes into the Fourth Round, while those who are ranked 33-64 on the PDC Order of Merit will get byes into the Third Round, numbers 65-96 will get byes into the Second Round, while 97-128 will start in the First Round alongside qualifiers.

The first round sees 64 players compete in 32 matches for the right to advance to the second round. These matches are the best of 11 legs, meaning that the first player to win six legs, will advance to the next round.

First Round Fixtures

In the table below we have listed all of the fixtures for the First Round, and as the tournament wears on, we will come back and update the table with the winners and the scores for each of the matches.

Bradley Brooks vs Rowby-John RodriguezTBDTBD
Kai Fan Leung vs Fabian SchmutzlerTBDTBD
Mario Vandenbogaerde vs Jules van DongenTBDTBD
Ted Evetts vs Nick FullwellTBDTBD
Richie Bunett vs Tony MartinezTBDTBD
Martin Thomas vs Kenny NeyensTBDTBD
Dan Read vs Diogo PortelaTBDTBD
James Wilson vs Shaun WilkinsonTBDTBD
Jim Williams vs Ryan MurrayTBDTBD
Jurjen van der Velde vs Mickey MansellTBDTBD
Vladimir Andersen vs Steve ClaysonTBDTBD
Prakash Jiwa vs Toni AlcinasTBDTBD
Wesley Plaisier vs Radoslaw SzagańskiTBDTBD
Danny Jansen vs Liam MeekTBDTBD
Shaun McDonald vs Jamie ClarkTBDTBD
Luc Peters vs Paul MarshTBDTBD
Jelle Klaasen vs Mark RiceTBDTBD
Matt Campbell vs Sebastian BialeckiTBDTBD
Danny Lauby Jr. vs Niko SpringerTBDTBD
Ryan Harrington vs Rusty-Jake RodriguezTBDTBD
Darren Webster vs José JusticiaTBDTBD
George Killington vs Reece RobinsonTBDTBD
Josh Rock vs Damian MolTBDTBD
Matt Good vs Keelan KayTBDTBD
John O'Shea vs Nathan RaffertyTBDTBD
Ricardo Pietreczko vs Scott TaylorTBDTBD
Paul Hogan vs Dom TaylorTBDTBD
Darren Beveridge vs Jimmy HendricksTBDTBD
Ross Montgomery vs Reece ColleyTBDTBD
Adam Warner vs Lukas WenigTBDTBD
Kevin Burness vs Graham HallTBDTBD
Scott Waites vs ByeScott WaitesBye

Rafferty, Klassen, and Rodriguez to win.

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