The field for the World Matchplay has been confirmed. Seven players will make their debut at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from July 20-28.
Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant headline the debutants. Aspinall claimed the title at the UK Open title this year and will be one of the seeded players in the draw. Durrant secured a first appearance at the World Matchplay after winning two Pro Tour titles since his switch to the PDC in January.
Krzysztof Ratajski, Ricky Evans, Danny Noppert, Chris Dobey and Jamie Hughes are the other five players who will make their debut in Blackpool. Ratajski won his fourth PDC ranking title in June, while Evans reached three ranking finals in the last ten months. Dobey appeared in the Danish Darts Open final recently, as he moved into his maiden European Tour final.
Noppert claimed a first PDC title in September during the Pro Tour double-header in Dublin. Hughes secured a spot after winning the Czech Darts Open last weekend, the only result which could have won him a place in the draw.
Michael van Gerwen will be the number one seed at the World Matchplay for a sixth consecutive time. The Dutchman could meet Adrian Lewis in the second round as ‘Jackpot’ is the number sixteen seed. The top half of the bracket seems a bit more stacked then the bottom half.
James Wade and Mensur Suljovic are in the same quarter as Van Gerwen and Lewis. Defending champion Gary Anderson, Nathan Aspinall, Dave Chisnall and Michael Smith will be placed in the second quarter of the draw.
World number two Rob Cross leads the bottom half of the draw. If the seeds proceed, ‘Voltage’ could face Darren Webster in the last sixteen. Cross is in the same quarter as Gerwyn Price, which means they could meet in the quarter-finals. Peter Wright, Daryl Gurney, Ian White and Simon Whitlock are the big names in the fourth part of the draw.
Anderson defends title in Blackpool
Gary Anderson claimed the title last year at the World Matchplay after defeating Mensur Suljovic 21-19 in a stunning final. This was the longest final in the tournament’s history.
Jeffrey de Zwaan stole the show last year as he made it to the semi-finals during his debut in Blackpool. His fairytale run started with a sensational 10-6 victory over Van Gerwen in the first round. ‘The Black Cobra’ continued his breakthrough moment with wins against Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall, before losing 17-12 to Anderson in the semi-finals.
De Zwaan is one of the five Dutch participants in Blackpool alongside Van Gerwen, Noppert, Jermaine Wattimena and Vincent van der Voort. The latter makes his return at the World Matchplay after a two-year absence.
Van Barneveld and Huybrechts among missing names
Raymond van Barneveld, Kim Huybrechts, Steve West, Kyle Anderson, Jelle Klaasen, Steve Lennon and Richard North are the missing names compared to last year’s edition.
Van Barneveld always appeared at the Winter Gardens since moving to the PDC in 2006. In his final year as a professional darts player, this streak is coming to an end. The five-time world champion dropped out the top-16 on the PDC Order of Merit and also didn’t won enough prize money on the Pro Tour ranking. The same applies for Kim Huybrechts. The Belgian will miss the World Matchplay for the first time since 2011.
Field World Matchplay 2019
PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers
(Seeded for first round draw)
1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Daryl Gurney
4 Gary Anderson
5 Michael Smith
6 Peter Wright
7 Gerwyn Price
8 James Wade
9 Mensur Suljovic
10 Ian White
11 Simon Whitlock
12 Dave Chisnall
13 Nathan Aspinall
14 Jonny Clayton
15 Darren Webster
16 Adrian Lewis
ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
Jeffrey de Zwaan
Vincent van der Voort