World Matchplay Darts best ever Major event line up…...EVER!!
The summer fest of darts culminates once again at the Winter Gardens this month with the Betfair World Matchplay starting on Saturday 21st July.
The tournament is notorious for thrills and spills and here we will try too guide you through where the form is, and the shocks could happen.
The opening night sees Red Dragon star Robert Thornton fresh from his UK Open triumph take on World Champion Adrian Lewis. With Thornton riding the crest of a wave having continued his great form to reach the Winter Gardens he is in contrast to Lewis who has been in quiet mood coming into the tournament.
Adrian Lewis is always a tough opponent to beat but Thornton will fear nobody so there could be a World Champion departing on Day 1.
Day 1 has also thrown up a belter between Terry Jenkins and Kim Huybrechts, both having been in great form on the floor this year. Two real form-horses it would not be a surprise to see this go to a tie-break, but Jenkins^ vast experience could prove the vital factor.
On Day 2, Winmau^s Simon Whitlock opens his campaign against Michael van Gerwen, whom he beat at the World Championships in a classic but recently the Dutchman has hit a rich vein of form winning two Pro Tour events, including a 6-1 demolition of "The Wizard" in a final.
However, "The Beard to be Feared" is looking confident and his sheer consistency could just pip Van Gerwen to the post. Preceding that match is Red Dragons Richie Burnett taking on James Wade. Burnett hit a staggering 121.57 average on his way to the semi-finals of a European Tour event and owing to hard work and his self-belief he is back in the form of his life.
Wade has something of a love affair with the Winter Gardens reaching the final 4 times in the last 6 years, including being the Champion once and he will know what waits in store for him on stage.
While Wade is unpredictable he can be equally brilliant but Burnett^s power scoring will put him in with a great chance, so again, we predict another tie-breaking epic!
The standout match on Monday is Phil Taylor^s clash with Winmau’s Mervyn King. The last time they met on television King beat "The Power" for the second time in front of the live cameras, and "The King" will fancy his chances once again as he reached the semi-finals in Dusseldorf a couple of weekends ago, including a 105 average in the quarter-finals.
Taylor will be reeling from his defeat to Thornton in the UK Open final but his batteries will be recharged in Blackpool - never a good sign for any player! Nonetheless if any player can rise to Taylor^s challenge its Mervyn King as history proves and with the tension sure to be high we may well see Mervyn^s third TV victory over "The Power", blowing the bottom half of the draw wide open.
Mark Webster rounds off the night in a tough match with "Jaws" Colin Lloyd. Lloyd has been in great form after practicing with newly-signed Winmau legend Bobby George, but "Webbo" is always a tough cookie, and is keen to kickstart his 2012 with a good run at the Winter Gardens so again, another cracker in-store.
Tuesday see’s Winmau^s and PDC New boy Dean Winstanley make his World Matchplay debut against Gary Anderson, who is recovering from a serious eye problem. The only thing "Over the Top" will be eyeing up however is a spot in the second round as he looks for his solid performances on the floor to stand him in good stead against "The Flying Scotsman".
It will be a challenge but TV nerves won^t be affecting him and Anderson will have a lot on his plate with the former Lakeside World Finalist.
Dave Chisnall and Ronnie Baxter round off the First Round, as arguably the most form players on the planet right now go head-to-head. Baxter with local support could fly, but Chisnall has been nothing short of stunning of late on TV, and he is a big favourite to go all the way to the Final this week.
Watch this space!