Five new faces in BetVictor World Matchplay line-up


Five players will make their BetVictor World Matchplay debuts at the Winter Gardens later this month, while Michael van Gerwen will be the top seed for the prestigious 32-player event.

The 25th staging of the World Matchplay at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens will be held from July 21-29, as players compete for “The Phil Taylor Trophy” after the renaming of the honour following the 16-time champion’s retirement.

Two-time champion Van Gerwen will top the 16 seeded players, with the world number one aiming to win back the title he claimed in 2015 and 2016.

James Wade, the 2007 champion, is the only other former World Matchplay winner in the field, although number two seed Peter Wright, number 13 seed Raymond van Barneveld and number 16 seed Adrian Lewis have all reached the final.

Lewis’ move back to 16th in the world rankings sets the two-time World Champion up for a tasty potential second round tie with Van Gerwen, while Van Barneveld could clash with number four seed Gary Anderson.

However, following the completion of the weekend’s European Darts Matchplay in Hamburg, the qualifying field has been confirmed and includes five Blackpool debutants in a strong line-up.

Welshman Jonny Clayton and Germany’s Max Hopp secured their World Matchplay debuts following European Tour victories this year, while Jeffrey de Zwaan won his maiden Players Championship title in April.

Another Dutchman, Jermaine Wattimena, and Ireland’s Steve Lennon complete the five new faces amongst a high-quality field of ProTour Order of Merit qualifiers.

Richard North held on to claim the final ProTour Order of Merit place, but faced a nervous wait as William O’Connor reached Sunday’s European Darts Matchplay final, only to lose out to Van Gerwen as the Romsey ace sealed his Blackpool spot.

The BetVictor World Matchplay will be broadcast on Sky Sports from July 21-29. The draw is expected to be made on Wednesday, July 4.

2018 BetVictor World Matchplay

PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers (Seeded for draw)

1 Michael van Gerwen

2 Peter Wright

3 Rob Cross

4 Gary Anderson

5 Daryl Gurney

6 Mensur Suljovic

7 Simon Whitlock

8 Dave Chisnall

9 Michael Smith

10 James Wade

11 Ian White

12 Gerwyn Price

13 Raymond van Barneveld

14 Darren Webster

15 Kim Huybrechts

16 Adrian Lewis


ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers

Jonny Clayton

Joe Cullen

Stephen Bunting

Max Hopp

Mervyn King

Jermaine Wattimena

Steve West

Steve Beaton

Kyle Anderson

James Wilson

John Henderson

Keegan Brown

Jelle Klaasen

Steve Lennon

Jeffrey De Zwaan

Richard North


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