Darts is coming home to Blackpool: Field confirmed for return of World Matchplay
The field of 32 has been finalised for the return of darts’ Betfred World Matchplay to its home in Blackpool.
Played annually at the Winter Gardens since its launch in 1994, Covid forced the Professional Darts Corporation’s summer showpiece to be staged behind closed doors in Milton Keynes last year.
But it returns to its spiritual home a week tomorrow, when £700,000 in prize money and the Phil Taylor Trophy up for grabs in the nine-day championship.
The top 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit will be seeded for the event and will be joined by 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.
The final four qualifying events have taken place this week at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
World Champion Gerwyn Price heads to Blackpool as the top seed, while reigning champion Dimitri Van den Bergh will step onto the Winter Gardens stage for the first time as eighth seed.
The 2015 and 2016 champion Michael van Gerwen is the number three seed, with 2017 runner-up Peter Wright seeded second.
Three other former champions also feature in the field, with James Wade, Rob Cross and Gary Anderson seeded fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
South Africa’s Devon Petersen will be among seven players in line for debuts, along with Damon Heta, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Ross Smith, Luke Humphries, Ryan Searle and Callan Rydz.
Tuesday’s Players Championship winner Chris Dobey took the final ProTour Order of Merit qualifying place ahead of Jermaine Wattimena.
The last of those Players Championships in Coventry was won by Wright, who denied Van Gerwen a first title of 2021 with an outstanding 8-2 victory yesterday.
The draw for the first round of the 2021 Betfred World Matchplay will be made this lunchtime.
A limited number of tickets remain available for some sessions of the Betfred World Matchplay, which will operate at full capacity from day three after limited crowds over the opening weekend because of Covid restrictions.
The event will be broadcast on Sky Sports.
PDC Order of Merit qualifiers: 1 Gerwyn Price, 2 Peter Wright. 3. Michael van Gerwen, 4 James Wade, 5 Rob Cross, 6 Gary Anderson, 7 Michael Smith, 8 Dimitri Van den Bergh, 9 Dave Chisnall, 10 Jose de Sousa, 11 Nathan Aspinall, 12 Glen Durrant, 13 Krzysztof Ratajski, 14 Daryl Gurney, 15 Joe Cullen, 16 Jonny Clayton
ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers: Brendan Dolan, Devon Petersen, Damon Heta, Danny Noppert, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Ross Smith, Mensur Suljovic, Stephen Bunting,
Mervyn King, Luke Humphries, Gabriel Clemens, Vincent van der Voort, Ryan Searle, Ian White, Callan Rydz, Chris Dobey
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