Preview European Darts Matchplay 2023: Battle for Euro Tour title and qualification for World Matchplay erupts in Trier

The Trier Arena in the south-west German city of Trier will be the venue for the European Darts Matchplay from 30 June to 2 July. The event is the tenth Euro Tour tournament of 2023.

Trier is one of the new playing cities of the PDC European Tour. Last year, the PDC only moved to the city 15 kilometres from the Luxembourg border for the first time. Back then, the title went to Luke Humphries, who defeated Rowby-John Rodriguez (8-7) after a thrilling final.

Tournament history

Before the European Darts Matchplay touched down in Trier, three other playing cities hosted the tournament. Michael van Gerwen won the very first edition in Innsbruck, Austria, in 2015.

The following three years, the event took place in the northern German city of Hamburg. James Wade captured the title in 2016, while Van Gerwen was the best again in 2017 and 2018. Van Gerwen made it to the final match again in 2019, but then had to leave the final victory to Joe Cullen.

In 2018, Van Gerwen threw the only nine-darter in the history of this tournament. It was a remarkable perfect leg, as it was only the first nine-darter on the European Tour since 2013.

Who is competing?

The field of participants for the European Darts Matchplay consists of 48 players. The top-16 of the Pro Tour Order of Merit at the time of the cut-off have received an invitation and will enter the tournament from the second round. These include household names such as Dirk van Duijvenbode, Michael van Gerwen, Danny Noppert, Dimitri van den Bergh, Luke Humphries, Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross, Nathan Aspinall, Josh Rock and Jonny Clayton.

Through several qualifying tournaments, the remaining 32 starting spots were distributed. Among others, Raymond van Barneveld, Gian van Veen, Christian Kist and Belgian darter Kim Huybrechts secured a starting place. Players such as José de Sousa, Simon Whitlock, Ross Smith, Stephen Bunting, James Wade and Brendan Dolan also forced qualification.

Last tournament before cut-off World Matchplay

Apart from the fight for a Euro Tour title, the battle for the final qualifying spots for the World Matchplay is also erupting in the background. The European Darts Matchplay is the last tournament to count in the qualification race for the prestigious summer tournament in Blackpool.

The top-16 of the world rankings and the top-16 of the cleaned Pro Tour rankings will be included in the field of participants for the World Matchplay. The 16 players who will qualify via the world rankings are as good as fixed. Only James Wade could still drop out of the top-16, but then Ross Smith or Jose de Sousa would have to take the title in Trier. In that case, Wade will qualify through the Pro Tour rankings.

More interesting for the qualifying race are the final starting spots via the Pro Tour rankings. Raymond van Barneveld, who is also competing at the European Darts Matchplay, seems to be safe with his thirteenth spot. Steve Beaton is 14th and missing in Trier. However, 'The Bronzed Adonis' does have a considerable margin on Kim Huybrechts and Brendan Dolan, numbers fifteen and sixteen. They need to reach the quarter-finals to overtake Beaton. William O'Connor and Simon Whitlock are currently the first players outside the virtual qualifying spots for the World Matchplay. They need to reach at least the last sixteen this weekend to keep a chance of participating in Blackpool.

What is the Euro Tour?

The PDC European Tour is a series of darts tournaments in continental Europe. The circuit consists of 13 tournaments in 2023. Eight tournaments will take place in Germany, while one Euro Tour tournament will be played in Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Participation in the Euro Tour tournaments are the only route for players to secure qualification for the European Darts Championship. The 32 best players on the PDC European Tour Order of Merit will be allowed to compete in the final tournament in Dortmund from 26 to 29 October.

Where can I follow this tournament?

This year, for the first time, the Euro Tour tournaments will be broadcast by Viaplay. The afternoon sessions start at 13:00, while the evening sessions start at 19:00.

Furthermore, the European Darts Matchplay can be watched for British darts fans via PDC TV. A subscription is required to access this live stream.

How much prize money is there to win?

During each Euro Tour tournament, £175,000 in prize money is distributed. All qualifiers are guaranteed £1,250, while the top-16 players on the European Darts Matchplay placement list receive £2,500 anyway. However, these 16 players must win their first game in the second round for the prize money to actually count towards the world rankings and other rankings.

Per win, the prize money earned increases. Thus, the finalists already get a minimum of £12,000. The winner of the tournament goes home with the top prize of £30,000.

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