Home Darts World Matchplay Darts 2019 – All you need to know
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World Matchplay Darts 2019 – All you need to know

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There’s just something about Blackpool and darts that goes hand in hand this time of year. The synonymous Winter Gardens has played host to the World Matchplay since 1994. This year’s 26th annual staging of the event looks to be one of the most open yet, with seven debutantes and a plethora of players peaking at a crucial time. And you can catch all the action at Rileys Sports Bars for the whole tournament. 

The front runners

It has been 12 months since two-time World Champion Gary Anderson ground out one of the best tournament wins of his career to claim the Phil Taylor Trophy. The Flying Scotsman fought to a marathon 21-19 win over Mensur Suljovic in one of the best finales to a tournament seen in 2018. Since then, Anderson’s back injury has continued to plague but a win at the World Cup with Scottish compatriot Peter Wright proves Anderson can still produce on the big stage. Wright himself must surely be considered a contender after his German Masters win last week. 

Reigning world champion Michael van Gerwen meanwhile has had a tough few weeks by his standards. The world number one has eight titles to his name this year in addition to his world crown but has suffered three unexpected defeats in as many tournaments of late including to Keegan Brown (Czech Open) and Martin Schindler (German Masters). And MVG won’t have happy memories of last year’s event, having lost out to fellow Dutchman Jeffrey de Zwaan in the opening round

What do the experts say

Matt Porter, the PDC’s chief executive told Dartsnews.com: “Michael van Gerwen is obviously the number one and favourite, but he has not had it all his own way recently, and the best players raise their game on the biggest stages.

“So don’t be surprised to see some special darts from the top-ranked players and a few lesser-known characters emerge to create their own headlines.”

The new breed

Much has been made of the seven debuting players at the Matchplay at the Winter Gardens, and there is no greater pressure than on Glen Durrant. The three-time Lakeside winner has already picked up two titles on his maiden year on the circuit. 

“It’s always been one of my biggest ambitions to play in Blackpool, it will be another dream come true for me,” said Durrant. “When I first moved over to the PDC my ultimate target was to make it to the Matchplay, it’s somewhere I’ve always thought looks like a special place to play.

His 1st round clash with Adrian Lewis looks to be the pick of the first-round ties. 

Meanwhile, Jamie Hughes will be full of confidence following his win at the Czech Open, while Chris Dobey recently reached the final of the Danish Open. Danny Noppert, Krzysztof Ratajski, Ricky Evans and UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall are among the other Winter Garden first-timers. 

When is it on and how to watch

The action kicks off Saturday 20th July from 7pm and is live on Sky Sports. Book a dartboard at Rileys Sports Bars and follow along with the action. 

Stats to impress your mates

  • This is Steve Beaton’s 20th World Matchplay and 19th consecutive appearance at the tournament. The most appearances by anyone in the field. 
  • James Wade’s opening match against de Zwaan will be his 49th match on the Winter Gardens stage 
  • Adrian Lewis holds the record for the most number of 180s in a tournament, he hit 56 in 2013. 
  • Phil Taylor has earned over £1m during the tournament’s history. The next on the list is James Wade who has earnt just over £350k. 

How do we think it will go

With van Gerwen’s form dipping in recent weeks, this could be one of the widest open Matchplay’s in recent memory. With Peter Wright winning the German Masters and a Pro Tour title just this week, perhaps its Snakebite who will get the party started in Blackpool come a week on a Sunday. 

Get involved with darts at Rileys! 

Matthew Kiernan Multimedia Journalist. Passionate about darts.