ACOMB arrows ace Chris Thompson is the first reserve for next month’s Ladbrokes World PDC Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Thompson finished an agonising one win short of clinching a place in the 72-strong field at the PDPA Qualifier in Wigan, but could still take part in darts’ most-famous competition for a second successive year should anybody drop out.

World number five and 2010 runner-up Simon Whitlock is currently doubtful for the tournament, which runs from December 15 to January 2.

A broken bone in Whitlock’s ankle, sustained during the Spanish Darts Trophy Players Championship in Benidorm, saw the Australian miss this month’s Grand Slam of Darts event.

In previous years, national champions from other countries have also enountered visa problems, meaning Thompson will be waiting by his phone for the next fortnight.

He said: “I will just carry on playing and practicing as usual and see what happens. I had a long wait after qualifying for the competition last year but, fingers crossed, if I get a late call up this time, there would be less pressure and that could make it easier, as will me having been there before now.”

Thompson, who lost 3-1 to Colin Osborne at last year’s World Championship, beat Tony Blundell (5-1), Nigel Birch (5-0), Dave Honey (5-0) amd Michael Barnard (5-3) to set up a showdown with PDC Under-21 world champion Arron Monk for at least a preliminary round place at Ally Pally.

A 5-3 win for Monk saw Thompson then forced to play a third-place play-off match with Tony Ayres that he won 5-2.

Monk went on to beat Bradford’s Joe Cullen 5-3 to decide which player would win a place in the first round proper.

Having suffered the disappointment of missing out on an automatic place by the narrowest margin, Thompson credited close pal and Rawcliffe-based fellow PDC player Martyn Turner for making him realise the potential importance of his meeting with Ayres.

The Minster Law legal executive said: “At first, I thought ‘how can I get myself up for this match?’. It’s the first time they’ve done a third-place play-off and I didn’t really know what it was for.

“It was Martyn that told me this could be a big, massive match so I went in with the required attitude to win the game.”

Thompson’s performances came on the back of two third-round appearances at this year’s final Players Championship events in Wigan where he was unfortunate to run into top seed Justin Pipe twice.

But he pushed the in-form Pipe close in a 6-5 defeat, checking out on 147 and 156 and added that he was also pleased with his form in the World Championship qualifier, saying: “I played very well, but Arron took out some fantastic finishes.

“He hit 125 with a bull finish, double top for 97 and a 106. There wasn’t a lot I could do.”

darts draw

World Championship draw Preliminary round: Connie Finnan v Warren French, Haruki Muramatsu v Dennis Nilsson, Devon Petersen v Jose De Souza, Joe Cullen v Oliver Ferenc, Kevin Munch v Lee Choon Peng, Paul Barham v Scott MacKenzie, Per Laursen v Petri Korte, Dietmar Burger v Christian Perez.

Round 1: (seedings in brackets) Phil Taylor (1) v Muramatsu/Nilsson, Mark Dudbridge (32) v Dave Chisnall, Vincent van der Voort (16) v Mark Hylton, Andy Hamilton (17) v Antonio Alcinas, Raymond van Barneveld (8) v James Richardson, Brendan Dolan (25) v Kim Huybrechts, Paul Nicholson (9) v Mensur Suljovic, Alan Tabern (24) v Burger/Perez, Simon Whitlock (5) v Dennis Smith, Steve Beaton (28) v Magnus Caris, Mervyn King (12) v Geoff Kime, Colin Osborne (21) v Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson (4) v Jyhan Artut, Steve Brown (29) v Petersen/de Sousa, Colin Lloyd (13) v Darin Young, Andy Smith (20) v Scott Rand, Adrian Lewis (2) v Nigel Heydon, Robert Thornton (31) v Ian White, Wayne Jones (15) v Barham/ MacKenzie, Jamie Caven (18) v Roland Scholten, Wes Newton (7) v Kurt van de Rijck, Justin Pipe (26) v Sean Reed, Terry Jenkins (10) v Cullen/Ferenc, Co Stompe (23) v Michael Smith, Mark Webster (6) v Richie Burnett, John Part (27) v John Henderson, Mark Walsh (11) v Finnan/French, Kevin Painter (22) v Arron Monk, James Wade (3) v Laursen/Korte, Peter Wright (30) v Jelle Klaasen, Ronnie Baxter (14) v Steve Farmer, Denis Ovens (19) v Munch/Choon Peng.