The PDC World Darts Championship gets underway at Alexandra Palace next Thursday.
All the usual suspects are being tipped for success, with the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and defending champion Peter Wright amongst the favourites.
But there are some less well-known players who will be hoping to cause a stir at Ally Pally and go deep into the tournament.
With that in mind, we take a look at three players who could cause a few shocks and potentially trouble the big boys of darts.
Rock has enjoyed a stellar first year on the pro tour, which he topped off by winning the World Youth Championship last month in Minehead, beating Nathan Girvan 6-1 in the final. Rock has already shown he had what it takes to compete in Major events, reaching the last 16 of both the European Championship and Grand Slam in the last few months. In the latter of these tournaments, Rock hit a nine dart finish in the in the last 16 as he was narrowly defeated by van Gerwen.
Many are tipping Rock to have a long and successful career in darts, including Sky Sports commentator and former player Wayne Mardle. But Rock will be hoping for a good run on his World Championship debut to really put his name on the map. Rock’s campaign begins against Jose Justicia in the first round against Jose Justicia on December 17.
This has been somewhat of a breakout year for Heta as he has risen into the world’s top 20 for the first time. The 35 year old reached the last 32 of the World Championship last year before winning a Players Championship event and then a Euro Tour event this year, his first titles on the tour. However, the highlight of the Australian’s year was his world cup victory, as he and Simon Whitlock took the title home for Australia. ‘The Heat’ also matched his best outing at a Major tournament, reaching the Quarter Final of the UK Open in March. Heta did however struggle to follow up this good performance in following Majors, failing to get past the last 32 in any other Majors this year. Thanks to his ranking, Heta will enter the tournament in the second round, where he will play either Daniel Larsson or former two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis.
Soutar was a late comer to the PDC Tour, the 44-year-old won his PDC Tour Card in 2021. This however, has not stopped the Scotsman, who also works as a firefighter in Dundee, from reaching 36th in the Order of Merit. Soutar has achieved this despite never winning a PDC title. He has however, shown good form in major events, reaching the last 16 of the World Championship last year, before getting to the Quarter Final stage of the Grand Slam of Darts last month. Soutar kicks his World Championship campaign off against Mal Cuming in the first round.