A Welsh World Matchplay Winner?
The Betfred World Matchplay returns to our screens this weekend from the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, with Red Dragon players Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright, Jonny Clayton and Luke Humphries in action.
2023 marks the 29th staging of the competition, with World Number 3 Michael van Gerwen coming in as the defending champion after he beat Price 18-14 in last yearâ€™s Final.
Gerwyn Price is in action this Saturday live on Sky Sports as he prepares to face former BDO World Champion Stephen Bunting in the 1st Round. Gerwyn has enjoyed a return to his very best darts this year, winning four nights in the Premier League as he topped the table for the first time and qualified for his maiden Finals Night.
Price fell at the final hurdle against Michael van Gerwen at the O2 Arena but has claimed success winning the European Darts Open and defending the International Darts Open in Riesa, after beating Mighty Mike 8-4 in the Final on the European Tour.
Jonny Clayton will hope for a better outing in Blackpool this time around after his World Matchplay campaign was cut short 12 months ago, as he lost on the opening night against debutant Rowby-John Rodriguez.
Jonny has claimed Players Championship 12 earlier in the year in Leicester, as well as the Austrian Darts Open after he beat Josh Rock 8-6 in the Final in Graz. He comes into the Winter Gardens on the back of two impressive runs in the recent Pro Tour competitions, reaching the Quarter Finals in both Events at the Morningside Arena.
Clayton will open his World Matchplay campaign on Monday in the Final 1st Round match, facing recent World Championship Semi Finalist Gabriel Clemens.
World Number 2 Peter Wright searches for his 2nd World Matchplay crown, after beating Dimitri van den Bergh 18-9 in the Final back in 2021 in what was an impressive tournament for Snakebite, averaging over 100 in 4 out of his 5 matches.
Peter averaged over 105 in his Second Round 11-5 victory over Joe Cullen, and repeated the trick in the Final where he scored 105.90 over 27 legs in Blackpool. His best display though came in the Semi Finals against Michael van Gerwen after clinching a 17-10 win over the Green Machine with a staggering 110.37 average.
The Red Dragon player has had a mixed year winning the Nordic Darts Masters back in January as well as the Czech Darts Open, after he beat Dave Chisnall 8-6 in the Final in Prague.
Wright will face reigning UK Open Champion Andrew Gilding in the penultimate 1st Round match at the Winter Gardens.
Luke Humphries comes into the Betfred World Matchplay on the back of a late surge in form, including a 9-dart leg in winning his first Pro Tour Event of the year on Monday. Cool Hand Luke defeated Dave Chisnall in a last leg decider to win Players Championship 15 in Leicester, as well as including a 105.64 average in beating fellow Red Dragon player Jonny Clayton 6-3 in the Quarter Finals.
The 28-year-old claimed his 5th Euro Tour after successfully defending the European Darts Matchplay crown, beating Dirk van Duijvenbode 8-7 in the Final at the start of the month.
Luke like the Jonny will hope for a better outing in Blackpool this time around, after the World Number 6 crashed out to Nathan Aspinall early on. Luke has been one of the most inform players recently within the Professional Darts Corporation, being the most successful player on the PDC European Tour in 2022 with 4 wins on the circuit.
Humphries will open his World Matchplay campaign on Sunday evening as he prepares to face 2020 Grand Slam of Darts winner Jose de Sousa in the 1st Round.
The Betfred World Matchplay starts on Saturday 15th of July live on Sky Sports, with the Womenâ€™s World Matchplay also scheduled for the 23rd of July from the Winter Gardens as Fallon Sherrock defends her title.
By Harry Masterson
2023 Betfred World Matchplay Draw:
Michael Smith (1) v Steve Beaton
James Wade (16) v Chris Dobey
Danny Noppert (8) v Martin Schindler
Nathan Aspinall (9) v Krzysztof Ratajski
Gerwyn Price (4) v Stephen Bunting
Joe Cullen (13) v Mike de Decker
Rob Cross (5) v Daryl Gurney
Dave Chisnall (12) v Gary Anderson
Peter Wright (2) v Andrew Gilding
Ryan Searle (15) v Raymond van Barneveld
Jonny Clayton (7) v Gabriel Clemens
Dimitri van den Bergh (10) v Ross Smith
Michael van Gerwen (3) v Brendan Dolan
Damon Heta (14) v Josh Rock
Luke Humphries (6) v Jose de Sousa
Dirk van Duijvenbode (11) v Kim Huybrechts