Paul Nicholson backing Netherlands to retain World Cup of Darts crown

Nicholson and Whitlock look on (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Former World Cup of Darts finalist Paul Nicholson believes it will take a “titanic performance” to halt the Netherlands at this year’s tournament in Frankfurt.

Nicholson, who reached the final with Australia alongside Simon Whitlock in 2012, admits Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld are justifiably red hot favourites to retain their crown.

MVG and RVB have claimed glory in 2014 and 2017, while Barney partnered Co Stompe to victory back in 2010 and Nicholson believes the decorated Dutch duo can storm to a record-equalling fourth title.

"The Dutch have got to be the bookies' favourites for me because of the fact that Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen have dominated over the last few years," he told Live Darts TV.

"You've got to say they're going to be the ones to watch out for.

"You've got to think about chemistry and the way they've performed in previous seasons.

"The way they played last year, who's going to stop them? It's going to take some sort of titanic performance and a great few days from a team to really stop them."

Nicholson has been involved in a number of classic contests in the unique pairs event, including a highly-charged Quarter-Final against Belgium three years ago.

After the two singles matches had been shared, Nicholson and Whitlock were eventually beaten by Huybrechts brothers Kim and Ronny in the pairs decider after a series of run-ins on stage.

This year, Kim Huybrechts will be partnered by Dimitri van den Bergh for the first time, and Nicholson says he is unsure how the pair will perform under the new dynamic.

"Sometimes Dimitri has come out and said that he looks at Kim Huybrechts as his idol and he does get a bit edgy with him," added The Asset.

"It'll be interesting to see how he gels with him in a pairs environment.

"In a pairs environment with the Huybrechts brothers it was never a problem and sometimes Kim would drag Ronny into it and then Ronny would drag Kim into it and they would gel like nobody ever has in World Cup darts.

"Dimitri's form has been a little bit up and down this season, Kim's has improved which is good to see. Maybe this is the catalyst for both of them to have a really good 2018.

"I think there may be some sort of tentative nature about them at the start of the tournament but if they do gel, they will be very dangerous.

"The World Cup always seems to bring something out of Kim, whether it's a good or a bad thing, I'll say from my own personal experience!"

Nicholson has five World Cup appearances under his belt, but his two missed match darts against England's Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis in the 2012 remain firmly in the back of his mind.

"Everything is dominated by the fact that we should have won it a few years ago," he added.

"I had a couple of shots to win the tournament and they were the most nerve-racking darts of my life.

"Simon had shots as well and it was heartbreaking, it took its toll for about five or six months afterwards and I've never really been the same since that defeat.

"The memories of the battle with Belgium, England and Wales are some of the greatest memories I've got of my career."


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Paul Nicholson backing Netherlands to retain World Cup of Darts crown

Former World Cup of Darts finalist Paul Nicholson believes it will take a “titanic performance” to halt the Netherlands at this year’s tournament in Frankfurt.

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