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Rookie rocks the world

Image: Shepherd: Incredible performance

Veteran John Part and debutant Kirk Shepherd will face off in the World Championship final on New Year's day.

Watch the final live on Sky Sports 1 from 7.30pm on New Year's day

John Part and 21-year-old debutant Kirk Shepherd will face off in the World Championship final on New Year's day after coming through their respective semi-finals. Former BDO and PDC world champion Part brushed Raymond van Barneveld's conqueror Kevin Painter aside 6-2 in Sunday's first encounter at Alexandra Palace. 'Young Gun' Shepherd then showed nerves of steel in his first World Championship semi-final to beat Phil Taylor's conqueror Wayne Mardle 6-4 in a thriller.


'Darth Maple' Part, who knocked third seed James Wade out of the quarter-finals, took out an 86-finish to break Painter in the first leg of the match and never looked back. The Canadian went on to take the first two sets and, despite conceding the third and the seventh sets to 'The Artist', always looked in control of the match. A 160-finish en route to the crucial fourth set was vintage Part and a 130-finish in the eighth set sealed the victory. Part won the tournament at the Circus Tavern in 2003, but the 41-year-old is taking nothing for granted ahead of his showdown with Shepherd. "I have the advantage in the sense that I've done won the World Championship before," Part told Sky Sports 1. "It's always been in my plans to win it for a third time, but I'm still one big match away from that."
Shepherd, who knocked out Peter Manley and Terry Jenkins en route to the final, produced a scintillating display of dartistry against 'Hawaii 501' in the second semi-final. The PDPA qualifier was whitewashed in the first set, but fought back and forged his way into a 3-1 lead courtesy of a magnificent 128-finish. Mardle then produced the darts which took him to victory against the 'Power' on his way to sets five, six and seven. But the former World Youth Masters winner hit straight back to level the match at 4-4 and he then broke back against Mardle. Shepherd had the advantage of throwing first in the 10th set and he made it pay with a 62-finish in the final leg as he wrapped up a stunning victory. And despite his inexperience the youngster is convinced he can go all the way now. "I'm on cloud nine," he told Sky Sports 1. "I believe I can beat anyone on my day and I'm here to win this now. "John's beaten me once 3-2 in Holland so he won't fear me, but I won't fear him. "I believe I can do it."

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