Jaymes Monte picks out his best bet from Wednesday night's action as we near the end of the first round action...
"The likeable Priestley would be an extremely popular winner amongst darts romantics"
Thanks to an end-of-season surge that moved him up to number 39 in the year's ProTour Order of Merit, Dennis Priestley returns to the world stage to make his 19th appearance at the PDC World Championships. Up until 2011 Dennis "The Menace" Priestley had competed in every staging of the PDC World Championships, but most believed that when he failed to qualify 12 months ago we'd seen the last of one of the game's all-time greats.
But Priestley wasn't done yet.
A run to the final of a Players Championship event in Crawley at the beginning of November, where he beat Mervyn King, Dave Chisnall, Kevin Painter and Michael van Gerwen before losing to Simon Whitlock in the final, was followed by consecutive quarter-final appearances on both days of the Barnsley event at the end of the month. Catapulting the 62-year-old up the rankings and back onto the Ally Pally stage.
In one of those Barnsley events he beat today's opponent Ronnie Baxter 6-3 at the last-16 stage, while wins against the aforementioned top players show that there's still plenty of life left in this old-timer.
The likeable Priestley would be an extremely popular winner amongst darts romantics, and the elder statesman's naturally slow pace could work to his advantage when up against a rapid Rocket.
Baxter comes into this one as favourite and his position in the world's top 16 justifies that tag. But his inconsistencies, coupled with Priestley's own return to form, mean that we can take the odds-against prices about a man who knows how to win here.
Back Priestley to beat Baxter @ 2.68/5