Over the coming weeks, the biggest names in darts will take to the stage at Ally Pally to entertain the masses in the PDC World Championship.
There is no doubt it is is the landmark occasion in the game. It features the best players, liveliest crowds, and some of the most enthralling matches you are ever likely to see.
All of the usual suspects are expected to be there or there abouts when it comes to lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy in the first week of January. Michael van Gerwen is the bookies favourite at the moment, followed closely in the odds by Gerywn Price and Michael Smith. After that, Peter Wright and Luke Humphries round out the top five.
At that point, you will encounter a name that you might be less familiar with. He is currently 16/1 to win the event, the sixth favourite overall.
It is that of Josh Rock, the 21-year old Antrim native who has experienced a remarkable rise having only joined the professional tour this year.
Josh Rock set to make World Championships debut
He will be making his debut at Ally Pally tomorrow night, taking on Spain's José Justicia in the first round. While neither player is seeded, there will be a lot of people interested to see how Josh Rock gets on.
He has been in sensational form in 2022. He has won eight tournaments since the turn of the year, including a Player's Championship event in Barnsley in October. On that occasion, he would defeat Luke Humphries in the final, having also beat the likes of Adrian Lewis and Andy Boulton along the way.
He has moved up to 47th in the world rankings as a result, an impressive position for someone of his experience.
Prior to that, he came close to break the world record for the highest average ever recorded in a match when he averaged 121.88 in a win over Brendan Dolan. Michael van Gerwen holds the record at 123.4 for a performance back in 2016.
Rock has also shown that he is capable of performing to his best on the big stage. Playing in the the Grand Slam of Darts for the first time, he would hit a nine-darter in his last-16 clash against MVG.
There's a new kid on the block! 🔥🔥
Josh Rock with a nine darter to STUN Michael van Gerwen at the Grand Slam of Darts 😮💪pic.twitter.com/rQX7mTIX98
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) November 17, 2022
While he would fall short in that game, it does bode well for his chances at Ally Pally.
Cork man John O'Shea will also be making his debut in the event in the days ahead and he knows Rock well. The pair often travel to events and practice together. Speaking to Balls last week, he said to keep an eye out for the youngster in the coming weeks.
Keep an eye out for him. He's a phenomenal darts player and a good lad.
It's not about your ability, sometimes it's how you can and react to press and media. That will be be a new learning curve for Josh. He will learn that as he's going along. He's a lovely, lovely fella.
Now getting plenty of attention in the sport, it will be interesting to see how he performs at the World Championships.
It would be great to see him make a deep run in the tournament.