LITTLER EARNS BETFRED WORLD MATCHPLAY DEBUT, AS WADE SEALS BLACKPOOL RETURN

Luke Littler will make his Betfred World Matchplay debut later this month, while 2007 champion James Wade secured his qualification in last-gasp fashion on Wednesday.
The 32-player field for the sport’s summer showpiece was confirmed following the conclusion of Players Championship 14 in Milton Keynes, with Wade claiming the 16th qualification place via the ProTour Order of Merit.
This year’s World Matchplay will see a star-studded field competing for the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy at the Winter Gardens from July 13-21, televised live on Sky Sports and through the PDC’s global broadcast partners.
The sport’s biggest names will battle it out across nine days of action in Blackpool, with the PDC’s top 16 joined by 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.
World Champion Luke Humphries will be the top seed in the £800,000 event following his remarkable exploits over the last 12 months, with three-time World Matchplay winner Michael van Gerwen seeded second.
2023 World Champion Michael Smith and 2022 World Matchplay runner-up Gerwyn Price will be third and fourth respectively, while reigning champion Nathan Aspinall makes his Winter Gardens return as the number five seed.
Former champions Rob Cross (sixth), Dimitri Van den Bergh (ninth) and Peter Wright (tenth) are also amongst the seeded stars, along with 2023 runner-up Jonny Clayton.
2018 World Matchplay champion Gary Anderson headlines the 16 ProTour Order of Merit qualifiers, based on prize money won in European Tour events and Players Championships within the last year.
Premier League champion Littler will make his highly-anticipated Blackpool bow after winning three PDC ranking titles in 2024, as Josh Rock, Ryan Searle and German number one Martin Schindler return to the Empress Ballroom.
World Youth Championship runner-up Gian van Veen is one of five debutants set to feature, with Littler, Ricardo Pietreczko, Ritchie Edhouse and Luke Woodhouse also securing their qualification for the first time.
Dutch icon Raymond van Barneveld – a finalist in 2010 – will make his 14th World Matchplay appearance in 2024, while Wade overhauled Kevin Doets during this week’s ProTour double-header to seal his place in Blackpool for a 19th consecutive year.
Dutch youngster Doets missed out alongside fellow countryman Dirk van Duijvenbode, while Cameron Menzies and Gabriel Clemens gave Wade some nervy moments during Wednesday’s Players Championship 14 before failing in their bid to snatch qualification.
The draw for the Betfred World Matchplay – which pits the PDC’s top 16 against the ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers in round one – will be made on Thursday July 4, and will be available to watch through the Betfred social media channels.
The Betfred World Matchplay will take place from July 13-21, while the final day of action in Blackpool also features the Betfred Women’s World Matchplay in the afternoon session on Sunday July 21, as eight players compete in the third edition of that event.
2024 Betfred World Matchplay
PDC Order of Merit Top 16
(Seeded for first round draw)
1. Luke Humphries
2. Michael van Gerwen
3. Michael Smith
4. Gerwyn Price
5. Nathan Aspinall
6. Rob Cross
7. Dave Chisnall
8. Jonny Clayton
9. Dimitri Van den Bergh
10. Peter Wright
11. Damon Heta
12. Danny Noppert
13. Ross Smith
14. Chris Dobey
15. Joe Cullen
16. Stephen Bunting
ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
Gary Anderson
Josh Rock
Ryan Searle
Martin Schindler
Gian van Veen
Luke Littler
Ricardo Pietreczko
Daryl Gurney
Ryan Joyce
Raymond van Barneveld
Brendan Dolan
Ritchie Edhouse
Krzysztof Ratajski
Luke Woodhouse
Andrew Gilding
James Wade
Photos credit PDC

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