World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh to play in first Blackpool session as order on the oche is revealed

Dimitri Van den Bergh will open the defence of his Betfred World Matchplay title on a thrilling first night of action as the Professional Darts Corporation’s summer showpiece returns to Blackpool this weekend.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 8:00 am

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Darts is coming home to Blackpool: Field confirmed for return of World Matchplay

The champion faces debutant Devon Petersen on Saturday as the event which Van den Bergh won behind closed doors in 2020 returns to its home of the previous 25 years, the Winter Gardens.

The schedule of play has now been revealed, and experienced duo Dave Chisnall and Vincent van der Voort have the honour of contesting the first match back in the Empress Ballroom.

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World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh will take to the Winter Gardens stage on the opening night

A blockbuster opening night will feature four first-round matches as world champion Gerwyn Price faces Jermaine Wattimena and Premier League winner Jonny Clayton takes on Dutch debutant Dirk van Duijvenbode before Van den Bergh clashes with South African Petersen.

Wattimena replaces 2018 finalist Mensur Suljovic, who has withdrawn from the nine-day championship on health grounds.

Sunday’s double session will see James Wade and Rob Cross in action against Luke Humphries and Ross Smith respectively in the afternoon.

The evening session features 2017 runner-up Peter Wright against Danny Noppert and Grand Slam of Darts winner Jose de Sousa taking on Gabriel Clemens.

The Winter Gardens can welcome a capacity crowd again from Monday, when the first round will conclude. Two-time champion Michael van Gerwen plays Australian debutant Damon Heta that night and 2018 winner Gary Anderson faces Stephen Bunting.

The second round will take place on Tuesday July 20 and Wednesday 21, with quarter-finals on the Thursday and Friday, semis on the Saturday and the final two facing off for the Phil Taylor Trophy and £150,000 star prize on Sunday, July 25.

A limited number of tickets remain available for some sessions via The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

And don’t miss The Gazette’s preview supplement on Friday.

SCHEDULE OF PLAY (sessions start 7pm except Sunday)

First round

Saturday July 17

Dave Chisnall v Vincent van der Voort

Jonny Clayton v Dirk van Duijvenbode

Gerwyn Price v Jermaine Wattimena

Dimitri Van den Bergh v Devon Petersen

Sunday July 18

First session (1pm)

Krzysztof Ratajski v Brendan Dolan

Glen Durrant v Callan Rydz

Rob Cross v Ross Smith

James Wade v Luke Humphries

Second session (7.30pm)

Joe Cullen v Chris Dobey

Michael Smith v Ryan Searle

Peter Wright v Danny Noppert

Jose de Sousa v Gabriel Clemens

Monday July 19

Daryl Gurney v Ian White

Nathan Aspinall v Mervyn King

Michael van Gerwen v Damon Heta

Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting

Second round

Tuesday July 20

Cross/R Smith v Durrant/Rydz

Wade/Humphries v Ratajski/Dolan

Price/Wattimena v Clayton/Van Duijvenbode

Van den Bergh/Petersen v Chisnall/Van der Voort

Wednesday July 21

M Smith/Searle v De Sousa/Clemens

Anderson/Bunting v Aspinall/King

Van Gerwen/Heta v Gurney/White

Wright/Noppert v Cullen/Dobey

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