2015 WORLD MATCHPLAY – PLAYER REVIEWS

Now the dust has settled on the 2015 World Matchplay I have decided to do a brief review on each player who played in the tournament along with listing their tournament average and tournament checkout percentage.

Here goes…

TOP 8 SEEDS

Michael van Gerwen
Round Reached: Final (Winner)
Tournament Average: 102.79
Tournament Checkout %: 46.3%

van Gerwen defeated all before him to claim yet another Major trophy, meaning he is now the current holder of the World Grand Prix, European Championship, The Masters, UK Open and World Matchplay. On his way to the title he defeated van de Pas, Jamie Lewis, Ian White, Peter Wright and James Wade. He was pushed the hardest in his quarter-final against White when he was 6-1 down and only managed to sneak through taking four legs in a row from 13-12 down.

Phil Taylor
Round Reached: Semi-final
Tournament Average: 100.27
Tournament Checkout %: 39.6%

Taylor came into the tournament looking to win the World Matchplay for the eighth time in a row. He wasn’t really pushed in the first two rounds and didn’t hit the heights we know he can. The highlight was an impressive performance in the quarters to brush aside Chisnall. Taylor didn’t play badly in his semi-final defeat though his doubling wasn’t clinical enough.

Gary Anderson
Round Reached: Last 16
Tournament Average: 94.94
Tournament Checkout %: 33.9%

Current World and Premier League champion Anderson was expected to be one of the men with a realistic chance of winning the whole tournament but his campaign was ended in the Last 16 by the tricky Mensur Suljovic. Anderson struggled to cope with the Austrian’s more methodical and eccentric approach and bowed out 13-9.

Adrian Lewis
Round Reached: Last 16
Tournament Average: 99.13
Tournament Checkout %: 44.4%

Adrian Lewis, another who was expected to be a main contender, also dipped out in the second round with the impressive debutant Gerwyn Price his conqueror. Lewis actually didn’t perform too badly in the defeat but came across a player who had a knack of finding a treble or a double at the key moments. Lewis was guilty of not forcing enough chances at double himself but this was more a case of his opponent winning the game than Lewis losing it.

Peter Wright
Round Reached: Semi-final
Tournament Average: 101.12
Tournament Checkout %: 45.5%

Wright is becoming one of the most consistent players on the circuit right now and his performances on the stage are impressive. Having reached the final of the UK Open, Wright followed this up with a run to the semi-finals here where he was beaten by the eventual champion van Gerwen. The best performance from Wright was in his first round win against Kim Huybrechts when he averaged 108.

James Wade
Round Reached: Final (Runner-up)
Tournament Average: 97.34
Tournament Checkout %: 41.2%

The week was a very positive one for Wade despite losing in the final for the fifth time. Wade showed how much he enjoys and performs at this tournament. The highlight for Wade is without doubt the win over Taylor in the semi-final. The quality and timing of Wade’s finishing in that match was outstanding. Although he didn’t score or finish well in the final itself it can’t overshadow what a good week he had.

Dave Chisnall
Round Reached: Quarter-final
Tournament Average: 97.87
Tournament Checkout %: 30.9%

Chisnall reached the quarter-finals where he was comfortably beaten by a ruthless Phil Taylor. Chisnall has shown he has the game to go deep into the major tournaments but he never really showed darts this week to suggest that he could make it to the semis or final here. He did show bottle to come through two tight games against Jamie Cavan and Keegan Brown but the fact he never finished above 32% in the tournament showed his finishing wasn’t up to scratch.

Simon Whitlock
Round Reached: Last 16
Tournament Average: 95.44
Tournament Checkout %: 41.3%

Prior to this tournament he hadn’t won a match in a TV major ranking tournament since last year’s Matchplay and given a tough first round tie against an inform Jelle Klaasen the bookies expected Whitlock to exit again. To his credit Whitlock did play well and defeated what turned out to be a below par Klaasen. In his second round match Whitlock was in control against Ian White leading 9-6 but then proceeded to lose his touch and the remaining 7 legs. Still winning a game on TV will have given him so hope moving into the second half of the season.

SEEDS 9 TO 16

Ian White
Round Reached: Quarter-final
Tournament Average: 99.01
Tournament Checkout %: 37.5%

White can come away from this tournament believing he really made a positive showing at the event. Given a tough first round match against Stephen Bunting it was a tremendous performance from White to come through in a very high quality match. In his second round game White showed bottle to come from 9-6 behind to reel off 7 legs in a row against Whitlock. The match against MVG in the quarter-finals showed White’s capabilities though, he led van Gerwen 6-1, the lead was pegged back but White didn’t let MVG take control and he was still very much in it all the way to the end losing 16-13.

Robert Thornton
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 92.90
Tournament Checkout %: 41.2%

Thornton made an exit from the tournament for the sixth time from sixth attempts, losing 10-7 to the emerging talent of Keegan Brown. Thornton trailed 5-1 early on and with his previous record on the Blackpool stage this was the worst thing that could have happened.

Brendan Dolan
Round Reached: Last 16
Tournament Average: 89.70
Tournament Checkout %: 32.1%

Although he has reached the final and semi-final of the World Grand Prix most of Dolan’s best results come away from the main stage and quite often in the TV majors, the Last 16 is his limit. This proved again the case this week; he came through a very patchy game against van der Voort before Wade proved too strong in round two.

Mervyn King
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 94.99
Tournament Checkout %: 42.1%

In the past King has reached the final and semi-finals of virtually all of the Major TV tournaments and when he is on his game he can still go deep in the major tournaments, he hasn’t really produced his best games on the Winter Gardens stage though and will again be disappointed with his first round exit. From a 2-0 lead against Andrew Gilding he lost 7 legs in a row and although he pulled it back to 8-8 Gilding won the two decisive legs.

Michael Smith
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 91.17
Tournament Checkout %: 33.3%

Away from the TV stage Smith has proven to be a threat to anyone with his undoubted talent. He is rising up the rankings towards the top 10 and will probably be there before long. This tournament will be a massive disappointment to Smith he went 5-0 down in his match against Gerwyn Price and never really looked likely to recover. Smith has the potential but needs to start doing it more consistently on the TV stage.

Terry Jenkins
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 90.24
Tournament Checkout %: 28.1%

Jenkins reached two major ranking event finals last year showing he still has the ability to go far in the majors but his form isn’t as consistent as it used to be. Jenkins was in a strong position against Suljovic in the first round with a 5-2 lead but allowed Suljovic to turn things around and trailed 9-6, to his credit Jenkins did come back to level the match at 9-9 thought went on to lose 11-9.

Raymond van Barneveld
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 89.08
Tournament Checkout %: 33.3%

This was an early exit for van Barneveld who will be disappointed with his overall performance in losing to Andy Hamilton. It has to be said that Hamilton did produce some very good darts, hitting scores and doubles at the right times but van Barneveld has more ability than he showed on the night.

Justin Pipe
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 90.08
Tournament Checkout %: 26.9%

Justin Pipe has a poor recent record on the TV stage and this continued with another early exit. Pipe won the first couple of legs against Jamie Lewis but missed doubles from Pipe and good finishing from Lewis took the Welshman into a 5-2 lead that was never relinquished. Pipe has to find a way to win on TV again or he will slip down the rankings.

UNSEEDED PLAYERS

Kim Huybrechts
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 95.82
Tournament Checkout %: 41.7%

This was Kim’s fourth visit to the Matchplay and he has lost in the first round in every attempt. The draw was unkind for Huybrechts this year coming up against an in form Peter Wright who showed his quality in reaching the last 4. Huybrechts though didn’t play well in the early stages of the game against Wright going behind 6-0 whilst averaging under 90. Although Huybrechts rallied taking 5 of the next 7 legs the damage had been done.

Jelle Klaasen
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 91.46
Tournament Checkout %: 44.4%

Much was expected of Klaasen coming into the tournament, he has been in excellent form on the tour and although drawn against one of the top 8 seeds, his opponent Whitlock might have been vulnerable. Klaasen never really settled though and didn’t look likely to come back after falling 5-0 behind meaning a disappointing tournament for Klaasen.

Vincent van der Voort
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 92.78
Tournament Checkout %: 26.1%

The tournament nearly started perfectly for van der Voort having come close to hitting a 9 darter in the very first leg of his match against Dolan. It was downhill from that point as Dolan surged into a 7-3 lead, neither player was setting the stage on fire and in particular van der Voort should have punished Dolan for some missed doubles. Vincent was to bow out 10-6 and will be another player who will want to forget this year’s tournament.

Benito van de Pas
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 93.62
Tournament Checkout %: 40%

Making his Matchplay debut against the tournament favourite and world number one was a tough ask for Benito and so it proved with champion-to-be MVG storming ahead 9-1 and not giving van de Pas a chance to settle into the game. There will be more to come from van de Pas though having broken into the top 32 in only his second season on the tour.

Stephen Bunting
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 101.62
Tournament Checkout %: 33.3%

Of all the players exiting in the first round Bunting is one of the most unfortunate due to the standard of his performance. He played a high quality game against Ian White, averaging over 101 with 9 180’s he was unlucky to come up against a very much inform White who was to give van Gerwen the hardest match of his tournament in the quarter-finals. Bunting has already proven in the PDC that he can get to the business end of the majors and will again.

Mensur Suljovic
Round Reached: Quarter-final
Tournament Average: 91.45
Tournament Checkout %: 35.7%

An impressive showing at the Matchplay for Mensur, coming through a tense match in extra legs against Terry Jenkins in the first round, and then upsetting the World Champion Gary Anderson in the last 16. Suljovic showed his competitiveness and composure against Anderson despite the crowd being against him for much of the game. Although Wade proved too good in the quarter-final Suljovic didn’t lie down coming from 12-5 behind to get back in the game at 13-11 before Wade pulled away again. A very consistent performer on the tour and now in the top 32 we haven’t seen the last of Mensur this season on our TV screens.

Gerwyn Price
Round Reached: Quarter-final
Tournament Average: 92.88
Tournament Checkout %: 41.1%

An excellent week for Price, a newcomer to the tour last season he has shown his potential away from the TV and now proven his potential on the main stage. Given a tough draw in the opening round against Michael Smith he settled in quickly, punished from some wayward darts from Smith to progress. The highlight though is definitely the thrilling win against Adrian Lewis in the last 16. Lewis wasn’t playing badly but Price was hitting the treble 20 at key moments and his finishing ice cool. He didn’t back up the performance against Wright in the quarters but he can be pleased with his weeks work and the experience gained.

Steve Beaton
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 89.70
Tournament Checkout %: 16.7%

Beaton has a dreadful recent record in the TV majors and this carried on with an early exit to the current World Champion. The draw was certainly not kind to Beaton but his form away from the TV hasn’t been consistent and he didn’t pressure Anderson enough to suggest an upset was on the cards.

Jamie Caven
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 92.57
Tournament Checkout %: 37.9%

If somebody had told me before the tournament started that a player would be involved in an extra legs nail biter in the opening round I’d have said it would be Jamie Caven. Unfortunately for Caven he seems to have lost a few of these games on TV recently and an 11-9 defeat to Chisnall meant an early exit from the tournament. Caven is a match for most players and when it clicks he is a joy to watch but he just needs to find a way and a bit of luck to win matches like this.

John Henderson
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 81.86
Tournament Checkout %: 33.3%

Big Hendo never really turned up in his first round defeat against Taylor. Henderson is a momentum player who relies on rhythm and he never found any in the match and also looked uneasy with the heat on the Blackpool stage.

Keegan Brown
Round Reached: Last 16
Tournament Average: 93.32
Tournament Checkout %: 43.8%

Brown is a player with very good potential moving steadily up the rankings and gaining experience in the TV majors, he had an excellent run at the Grand Slam last year before losing to Chisnall and it was the same man who ended Brown’s run in the second round here. I was very impressed with the first round win vs Thornton when Keegan had a checkout % of over 50%, he was competitive against Chisnall but never really hit his best form. In my opinion a lot more to come from Brown no doubt about it.

Andrew Gilding
Round Reached: Last 16
Tournament Average: 93.76
Tournament Checkout %: 42.5%

Gilding is a tricky opponent and one many wouldn’t have wanted to draw in the first round. A run to the semi-finals at the UK Open highlighted his capabilities though he never really showed them fully in this tournament. He did show patches against King in a see-saw encounter but against Wright, he failed to push him hard enough and might be disappointed with the way he exited.

Jamie Lewis
Round Reached: Last 16
Tournament Average: 95.65
Tournament Checkout %: 50%

Lewis has worked hard on the circuit to climb up the rankings and is nearing the top 32. He hasn’t as yet shown his true form on the TV stage but can walk away from this tournament with his head held high, despite a heavy loss against van Gerwen the score didn’t tell how well Lewis played. He stayed competitive in many of the legs and van Gerwen gave his best performance of the week with a 110 average. Winning his first round game and the experience against MVG will be something Lewis can carry forward and build on.

Joe Murnan
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 93.02
Tournament Checkout %: 41.2%

To say Murnan didn’t win a tour card at Q school shows what an achievement it is for him to even qualify for the Matchplay. He won a floor tournament this season and gave a good account of himself on the stage against Adrian Lewis. He trailed 7-2 but managed to pull back to 7-6 before Lewis saw the game out 10-7. This week is a bonus for Murnan and will have done him no harm whatsoever despite a first round defeat.

Kyle Anderson
Round Reached: First Round
Tournament Average: 99.06
Tournament Checkout %: 30.4%

Anderson was going to be a dangerous player for a seed to draw due to his consistent form on tour this season and this was proven to be correct as he pushed eventual finalist James Wade hard in their first round match. After 10 legs the players were locked at 5-5 and both averaging over 100, the match then went with throw until Wade secured a crucial break at 8-7 with Anderson missing 4 darts to win the leg. Wade sealed the victory with an 11 dart leg on throw which gave Anderson no chance. Anderson is another player who we will be seeing in the major ranking events in future.

Andy Hamilton
Round Reached: Last 16
Tournament Average: 92.81
Tournament Checkout %: 34.8%

Hamilton used to be a regular in the quarter-finals of the major events but his form has tailed off recently leading to a slip down the rankings and he only just scraped into this tournament. Winning his first round match against van Barneveld will have given Hamilton a huge lift of confidence. Although Barney didn’t play his best Hamilton earned his win. Hamilton couldn’t deal with Taylor in the next round but will take positives from the Matchplay.

And there we have it. A good tournament for some and a tournament to forget for others. Nobody can really argue that van Gerwen didn’t deserve to win the whole thing and moving forward he is the man to beat at the next major the World Grand Prix in October.

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