Line-up is finalised for Betfred World Matchplay darts spectacular in Blackpool

Gary Anderson will defend his Betfred World Matchplay crown in Blackpool  Picture: LAWRENCE LUSTIG / PDC
Gary Anderson will defend his Betfred World Matchplay crown in Blackpool Picture: LAWRENCE LUSTIG / PDC
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Seven players will make their Betfred World Matchplay debuts in Blackpool this month.

The field for the Professional Darts Corporation summer showpiece at the Winter Gardens was finalised following the Czech Darts Open over the weekend.

Thirty two players will compete for the Phil Taylor Trophy and a £150,000 top prize from a £700,000 prize fund, 16 of them having qualified.

World champion Michael van Gerwen will be the top seed as he aims to claim a third World Matchplay win, while Gary Anderson will defend his title as the number four seed.

Former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown’s run to the semi-finals in the Czech Darts Open in Prague saw him claim a qualification spot at the expense of Australia’s Kyle Anderson, while former quarter-finalist Vincent van der Voort held on to his spot.

Jamie Hughes won the tournament in Prague, earning himself a World Matchplay debut.

A Tour Card winner in January, Hughes had to qualify for Prague and defeated top-16 stars Adrian Lewis, Ron Meulenkamp, Ian White and Simon Whitlock on his way to the final, in which he defeated Stephen Bunting 8-3 to claim the £25,000 prize and a first full PDC title.

The other six Blackpool debutants are UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall, who is seeded 13, Krzysztof Ratajski of Poland, Lakeside champion Glen Durrant, Ricky Evans, Chris Dobey and Danny Noppert.

The 2018 World Champion Rob Cross is seeded second and 2018 Players Championship Finals winner Daryl Gurney is the third seed.

World Championship finalist Michael Smith will be seeded fifth, with 2017 World Matchplay finalist Peter Wright the sixth seed.

Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price is the number seven seed and 2007 World Matchplay winner James Wade number eight.

Last season’s semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan and quarter-finalist Joe Cullen return to Blackpool as qualifiers alongside veteran star Steve Beaton, who will be making his 20th World Matchplay appearance.

Czech Darts Open finalist Bunting will head to Blackpool in confident mood, while the remaining qualifiers included former semi-finalist Mervyn King.

The draw will be made next week for the Betfred World Matchplay, which runs from July 20-28 at the Winter Gardens.

Tickets are still available via SeeTickets, Ticketmaster and the Winter Gardens box-office.

Seeded players: 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: Krzysztof Ratajski, Ricky Evans, Glen Durrant, Joe Cullen, Steve Beaton, Stephen Bunting, Jermaine Wattimena, Jamie Hughes, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Chris Dobey, Danny Noppert, Max Hopp, Mervyn King, John Henderson, Keegan Brown, Vincent van der Voort