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 dad Ray.
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.
The 19-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 sort of form that his dad had produced 24 hours earlier as he went down three sets to one to Dutchman Maik Kuivenhoven.
Whereas Ray had averaged 94.84 on Saturday in his win over Englishman Jamie Hughes, Ky could only manage a disappointing 79.36 every three darts.
That was nowhere near enough firepower 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-profule secnd round clash with England star Jamers Wade, will now stay around in London to watch Ray’s second round clash against South African Devon Petersen on Tuesday.
In another disappointment for the five-strong Australian challenge, the 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, who’d been the next best ranked player on the reserve list, suffered a 3-1 loss to England’s Jason Heaver.
Mathers, who was 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 No.20 Simon Whitlock and No.31 Damon Heta.