Scotsman To Fly High In Winter Gardens
World Matchplay Darts
A week of top class darts awaits us at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool as the PDC’s very best players battle it out for the prestigious title.
The Season So Far
Phil Taylor remains second in the PDC Order of Merit but he hasn’t made much of an impact in the big events in 2015, his main success coming at the World Cup of Darts with Adrian Lewis last month. Michael van Gerwen remains the world number one, having won the Masters and the UK Open whilst world champion Gary Anderson had a notable victory in the Darts Premier League at the end of May.
The World Matchplay is regarded as the second-most prestigious PDC event after the World Championship. The PDC’s top players including the top 16 on the Order of Merit take part over eight days in a straightforward knockout, with matches played in a legs format. There have been only six winners in the event’s history, and not surprisingly Phil Taylor has dominated, winning it 15 times.
Who To Avoid
Phil Taylor wouldn’t meet Michael van Gerwen until the final, but has landed in the tougher half of the draw. He could face Gary Anderson in the semi-final, Dave Chisnall in the quarter-final and his old rival Raymond van Barneveld in the second round and on this season’s form, would be no certainty to beat any of them. He’s no longer priced up as a big odds-on favourite but even at 3/1, he doesn’t appeal.
The days when other top players felt that there was a chance that Gary Anderson might buckle on the big occasion are over.
He has shown a greater resilience in recent months and as a result stands on the brink of an annual Triple Crown.
Although he is in the tougher section of the draw, he will feel confident of beating anyone in that half, and at 11/2 he’s a solid bet.
Peter Wright crashed out of the Premier League at an early stage, but he has generally been in consistent form this year, and as he showed in the UK Open, when beating Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld en route to his final appearance against Michael van Gerwen, he is capable of beating anyone. Van Gerwen could lie in wait again in the semi-finals but at big odds, Wright offers a touch of each-way value.
The other player to add to your shortlist also appears in the top half of the draw. Michael Smith has been creeping up the Order of Merit in recent months as he continues to show signs of fulfilling his potential, and goes into this tournament with plenty of confidence having clinched his second European Tour title at the end of June. It won’t be too long before he makes a major impact in one of the big events and he’s another worth backing each-way in Blackpool.
*Prices correct at time of publication