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Article: World Matchplay Preview: Maiden Matchplay for Humphries?

World Matchplay Preview: Maiden Matchplay for Humphries?

World Matchplay Preview: Maiden Matchplay for Humphries?

The summer darting extravaganza is almost upon us, as the 2024 Betfred World Matchplay returns to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on the 13th of July.

Nathan Aspinall won the title last year after defeating Jonny Clayton in the Final, but will it be a repeat, a new name on the trophy or a previous winner writing another chapter?

32 players will battle it out for the second biggest tournament in the PDC darting calendar, with some making their first appearances and others returning to the Winter Gardens for another attempt.

Luke Humphries heads into his first World Matchplay campaign as a World Champion, having reached the Semi Finals at the Winter Gardens last year.

“Cool Hand Luke” was involved in a Blackpool classic with Jonny Clayton, narrowly missing out 17-15 against the Welshman in the Semi Finals twelve months ago.

The 29-year-old enjoyed strong performances against the likes of Jose de Sousa, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Damon Heta, producing his best World Matchplay campaign in 2023.

The World Number 1 will arrive at this year’s competition on the back of reaching the Premier League Final on debut, whilst also winning the German Darts Grand Prix with an 8-1 victory over Michael van Gerwen, to claim a 6th European Tour title.

Humphries opens his campaign against Ricardo Pietreczko, who will make his debut at the Winter Gardens this Saturday.

Gerwyn Price arrives as a former Finalist in the World Matchplay, as he hunts down a first crown in Blackpool.

Price has claimed the one PDC Title in 2024, beating Michael Smith and Rob Cross en route to the Nordic Darts Masters in Copenhagen, whilst also reaching 2 Semi Finals and a Final on the European Tour.

The Welshman beat Stephen Bunting 12 months ago in Blackpool, before a narrow defeat against Joe Cullen, despite recording a 100+ average over 24 legs of darts.

“The Iceman” will open the action at this year’s tournament, as he prepares to face Daryl Gurney for a place in the Last 16.

Jonny Clayton is in good form coming into Blackpool, as he looks to go one better than he did 12 months ago.

“The Ferret” won the last PDC competition before the World Matchplay, after beating Wesley Plaisier 8-5 in the Final of Players Championship 14 in Milton Keynes.

Jonny has enjoyed a strong bounce back in 2024, reaching the Final of the Dutch Darts Championship as well as the Quarter Finals at the Belgian Darts Open on the European Tour.

The 2023 World Matchplay Runner Up will begin his campaign on the opening night, as he prepares to face Raymond van Barneveld at the Winter Gardens.

Peter Wright is one of seven former winners involved in this year’s World Matchplay, with Snakebite’s success in 2021 arguably one of the best individual performances in the history of the competition.

The Scotsman included fantastic displays three years ago to defeat the likes of Joe Cullen, Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and defending champion at the time Dimitri van den Bergh in the Final, averaging a staggering 110.37 in a 17-10 win in the Semi Finals over Van Gerwen.  

Wright will want a strong campaign in Blackpool this time around as well, after reaching the 2nd Round last year, beating Andrew Gilding 10-4 before a narrow 11-8 defeat against Ryan Searle in the Last 16.

“Snakebite” will face “Goldfinger” once again in the 1st Round, with the winner going through to face either Dave Chisnall or Krzysztof Ratajski in Round 2.

Gian van Veen will make his debut at the 2024 Betfred World Matchplay, after a fantastic couple of years on the PDC Circuit.

The 2023 Development Tour Number 1 finished 5th overall in the Pro Tour Order of Merit to qualify for Blackpool, reaching the Quarter Finals of the Austrian Darts Open as well as 2 Semi Finals in Players Championship Events this year.

Having earnt his tour card at European Qualifying School in 2023, the 22-year-old has gone from strength to strength, as he now sits within the Top 32 on the PDC Order of Merit.

Gian will face 2019 World Matchplay Champion Rob Cross in the 1st Round, as he looks ahead to a maiden appearance at the Winter Gardens.

The 2024 Betfred World Matchplay starts from 7pm on Saturday in Blackpool, as the 31st staging of the tournament commences at the Winter Gardens.

By Harry Masterson


2024 Betfred World Matchplay Draw

(1) Luke Humphries v Ricardo Pietreczko

(16) Stephen Bunting v Ryan Joyce

(8) Jonny Clayton v Raymond van Barneveld

(9) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Martin Schindler

(4) Gerwyn Price v Daryl Gurney

(13) Ross Smith v Josh Rock

(5) Nathan Aspinall v Luke Woodhouse

(12) Danny Noppert v James Wade

(2) Michael van Gerwen v Luke Littler

(15) Joe Cullen v Brendan Dolan

(7) Dave Chisnall v Krzysztof Ratajski

(10) Peter Wright v Andrew Gilding

(3) Michael Smith v Gary Anderson

(14) Chris Dobey v Ritchie Edhouse

(6) Rob Cross v Gian van Veen

(11) Damon Heta v Ryan Searle



 Credit- Harry Masterson

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