The Winters Gardens Blackpool plays host to one of the most popular darts tournaments on the PDC Calendar, the World Matchplay. The week-long event 20-28 July will see players play for the newly named ‘Phil Taylor’ Trophy and a top prize of £150,000. Taylor won the event sixteen-times during his professional career the same amount he won the World Darts Championships.
Thirty-two competitors are made up from sixteen by PDC Order of Merit and a further sixteen via Pro Tour Qualification.
The 2019 World Matchplay is likely to be one of tightest contests to call. However, World Champion Michael van Gerwen and PDC No.1 will be a hard opponent to beat as he looks for his third Matchplay title.
Gary Anderson returns as the defending Matchplay Champion, and he looks on good form following his success with Peter Wright at the World Cup of Darts last month.
Gary withdrew from the Premier League due to an injury to his back. He lost weight and looks as good as ever. He will be a major contender for retaining the World Matchplay title.
For the punters, there are some new players to look out for! Nathan Aspinall certainly has an outside chance. Nathan won the UK Open earlier this year and was a player ‘contender’ in the Premier League. Nathan also won the US Master earlier this month his debut into the World Series of Darts and booked himself a firm place in the World Series Finals in November. The young player has now got used to the big TV stages. It may be worth looking at the top online sportsbook to place a small wager on this young man as he is undoubtedly on the way up the PDC Order of Merit. However, the World Series doesn’t count to the order of merit ranking; never the less Nathan is one of the new breed of players looking to make a name for himself.
From Winning the BDO World Championships on three consecutive occasions, Glen Durrant will be stepping on the Matchplay oche for the first time. Glen qualified via the Pro Tour of Merit Qualification and isn’t a ranked 16 play (yet!). Glen will be one to look out for and could easily lift the Matchplay title.
Glen is destined to make a big impression on the PDC circuit over the next two years. He has won a player’s championship earlier this year which propelled him up the ranking table, and a couple more would undoubtedly place him firmly in the mix come the end of the year.
Glen dominated the BDO circuit leaving on a high as the three-time back-to-back World Champion, yet he like others still had to qualify to play on the PDC circuit. Of all the player that joined the PDC in January Glen has made the best progress and I expect to see him impress at his first real major event in Blackpool. The World Matchplay will be the best start to Glen’s PDC career.
The bookies may have Glen, as a ranked outsider because he qualified by virtue of the Pro-Tour Order of Merit. However, as any dart fan will know Glen is a player to be reckoned with and could easily take the World Matchplay crown. Ranked players on the PDC circuit know Glen is more than capable of mixing it with the best on the PDC circuit and now that Glen is a full-time darts professional the outlook for Glen looks rosy.
This event has become a pilgrimage for dart fans from all over the world and is a title every dart player wants to win. As the title suggests, this is a Matchplay event and in the past has seen some very tight last leg deciders, nine-dart finishes and ranking players upsets.
PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers (seeds)
ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
|1. Michael van Gerwen||Krzysztof Ratajski|
|2. Rob Cross||Ricky Evans|
|3. Daryl Gurney||Glen Durrant|
|4. Gary Anderson||Joe Cullen|
|5. Michael Smith||Steve Beaton|
|6. Peter Wright||Stephen Bunting|
|7. Gerwyn Price||Jermaine Wattimena|
|8. James Wade||Jamie Hughes|
|9. Mensur Suljovic||Jeffrey de Zwaan|
|10. Ian White||Chris Dobey|
|11. Simon Whitlock||Danny Noppert|
|12. Dave Chisnall||Max Hopp|
|13. Nathan Aspinall||Mervyn King|
|14. Jonny Clayton||John Henderson|
|15. Darren Webster||Keegan Brown|
|16. Adrian Lewis||Vincent van der Voort|
First Round Draw
|Gerwyn Price||v||Stephen Bunting|
|Michael van Gerwen||v||Steve Beaton|
|Gary Anderson||v||Danny Noppert|
|Peter Wright||v||Vincent van der Voort|
|Dave Chisnall||v||Max Hopp|
|Jonny Clayton||v||Keegan Brown|
|Mensur Suljovic||v||Jermaine Wattimena|
|Nathan Aspinall||v||Mervyn King|
|Rob Cross||v||Chris Dobey|
|Adrian Lewis||v||Glen Durrant|
|Darren Webster||v||Krzysztof Ratajski|
|Michael Smith||v||Jamie Hughes|
|Daryl Gurney||v||Ricky Evans|
|Simon Whitlock||v||John Henderson|
|James Wade||v||Jeffrey de Zwaan|
|Ian White||v||Joe Cullen|