Kirk Shepherd celebrates beating Wayne Mardle 6-4 during the semi-final of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London.

Chris Dobey enters this years darts World Championships in form – but Phil Taylor stands in his way of a place in the second round. 

The year ending tournament has provided us with some of the sports greatest upsets over the last decade.

The Bedlington thrower can take comfort from the fact that a number of former champions – including Taylor – have exited the tournament in the early stages.

Here are three of the most memorable giant-killings from Alexandra Palace.

Kirk Shepherd vs Wayne Mardle (2008)

Kirk Shepherd reached the final of this event back in 2008, capping off a memorable debut at the tournament.

Having knocked out a host of talented players, Shepherd faced the experienced Wayne Mardle in the semi-final.

Having trailed 3-1 in sets early on, Mardle pegged back the youngster to take a 4-3 advantage.

The 21-year-old Shepherd answered back, and won the next three sets to book his place in the final.

James Richardson vs Raymond Van Barneveld (2012)

Raymond Van Barneveld’s form had been poor leading up to the 2012 World Championship, but was expected to to breeze past his opponent in the first round.

Debutant James Richardson set alarm bells ringing early on for the Dutchman, reeling off three straight legs to clinch the opening set.

Richardson made light work of the second set winning it 3-1, putting more misery onto Barneveld.

The Englishman then wrapped up the third set with a barrage of high finishing, sending the 8th seed packing.

Michael Smith vs Phil Taylor (2014)

Reigning champion, and number one seed at the time, Phil Taylor was expected to cruise through his second round match against Michael Smith.

It all seemed a formality early on, as Taylor wrapped up the first set in comfortable fashion.

After a number of tight sets, Smith missed four darts to take a lead in set 5 which saw Taylor take a 3-2 lead.

The youngster came back will some powerful scoring, and won all three legs in the sixth set to take the game into a decider.

Smith held his nerve in the final set, and won the game with a 128 checkout on the bullseye to dispatch of world number one.