2016 World Matchplay – Day One Preview
Today sees the start of the BetVictor World Matchplay; the tournament is always one of the highlights on the darting calendar.
The Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens is a wonderful venue which has played host to some memorable matches since the tournament started in 1994 and looking at the field for this year’s tournament we could be in store for more.
World number one and defending champion Michael van Gerwen is the favourite for the tournament and is considered the man to beat , but the likes of Gary Anderson, Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis, James Wade and Peter Wright to name but a few will have something so say about that.
Here is the full tournament draw.
(1) Michael van Gerwen v Jamie Caven
(16) Vincent van der Voort v Kyle Anderson
(8) Robert Thornton v Josh Payne
(9) Dave Chisnall v Benito van de Pas
(5) Peter Wright v Joe Cullen
(12) Ian White v Daryl Gurney
(4) Adrian Lewis v Mark Webster
(13) Kim Huybrechts v Gerwyn Price
(2) Gary Anderson v Alan Norris
(15) Terry Jenkins v Justin Pipe
(7) Michael Smith v Simon Whitlock
(10) Jelle Klaasen v Steve Beaton
(6) James Wade v Mervyn King
(11) Raymond van Barneveld v Brendan Dolan
(3) Phil Taylor v Robbie Green
(14) Stephen Bunting v Mensur Suljovic
As usual I have plenty of stats and facts to help guide you through the action, here’s my preview for the opening night.
Saturday July 16 (7pm) – First Round
van der Voort
- Vincent van der Voort is making his 8th appearance at the World Matchplay; his best performance was a quarter-final appearance back in 2009 where he defeated Wayne Mardle and John Part before losing to the 5th seed Mervyn King.
- He hasn’t won a game at the Matchplay since 2011 when he defeated Alan Tabern in the Last 32. He has lost each of his last 4 matches at the tournament.
- All of van der Voort’s averages in the Last 32 at the Matchplay have been averages of under 93.
- Anderson is making his 2nd appearance at the Matchplay; last year on his debut he lost a very high quality first round match against eventual runner-up James Wade by 10 legs to 7. In that match Anderson averaged 99 and hit a very impressive 9 180’s during the game.
- He had his best run in a big PDC ranking tournament when he reached the quarter-finals at the UK Open back in March, he only dropped 6 legs in defeating Hamilton, James Wilson and van de Pas before losing 10-0 to Klaasen in their quarter-final match.
- Anderson has reached two ranking semi-finals this season, the most recent of these was at the Austrian Darts Open in June, on his way to the semi-final he won consecutive matches against Suljovic, Klaasen and van Gerwen before losing a last leg decider to Phil Taylor in the semi-final having led 4-1 and he also missed a dart at double to win the match.
Kyle Anderson poses a big threat to the 16th seed van der Voort and indeed Anderson is one of the most dangerous unseeded players in this year’s tournament. He has shown he is capable of beating anyone on the tour, van der Voort is inconsistent and although he is extremely capable his form hasn’t been good having only been further than the Last 16 on one occasion in ranking tournaments this season. I think Anderson might take this match 10-7 and expect a good number of 180’s during the game.
- He has lost in the 1st round each time he has played at the World Matchplay and this is Thornton’s 7th appearance at the Matchplay having only missed one year since making his debut in 2009.
- His first 3 defeats at the tournament were against Taylor, Lewis and Gary Anderson (he suffered consecutive 10-0 defeats against Lewis and Anderson). In each of the last 3 years he has lost to an unseeded player.
- Thornton has lost in his first match in each of his last four PDC TV tournaments (excludes World Cup).
- On the PDC ranking circuit in 2016 he has failed to make the quarter-finals or any ranking tournament and has only reached the Last 16 on 3 occasions.
- Josh Payne is making his World Matchplay debut; he has qualified for the UK Open in each of the last 3 years, reaching the Last 32 in 2015 when he lost to Suljovic.
- He made his big breakthrough on the PDC tour this season when he won a Players Championship tournament in April. On his way to the title he defeated the likes of Gerwyn Price, Mensur Suljovic and won the final on a last leg decider against James Wade.
- Payne still plays in Development Tour events and also won a tournament on that circuit this season, beating Keegan Brown and Rowby-John Rodriguez along the way.
Josh Payne is very much a player on the up and is expected to keep on rising; he proved his calibre by winning a ranking tournament this season and comes into the Matchplay with nothing to lose. Thornton hasn’t endured the best of times since he won the World Grand Prix last year, he has exited early in TV tournaments, struggled in the Premier League and hasn’t made an impact on any of the regular tour events during 2016. A good start for Payne in this match would really put Thornton under pressure; Thornton’s record at the Matchplay is very poor having never won a 1st round game in 6 attempts. There is a genuine opportunity for Payne to progress to the Last 16 but it all depends how quickly he settles on the big stage.
- Michael van Gerwen is the defending champion at this tournament having claimed his first World Matchplay title when he defeated James Wade in the final last year, prior to that he had reached quarter-final, semi-final and final in consecutive years, going one better each year.
- MVG has already won 11 tournaments during 2016, including the Masters, the UK Open and the Premier League.
- In 7 previous World Matchplays van Gerwen has only ever lost once in the first round, this was in 2009 when he was beaten by van Barneveld.
- He has never lost to an unseeded player at the World Matchplay.
- The average of his averages at the Matchplay since the start of the 2012 tournament is over 101 this spans 17 matches.
- Caven made his Matchplay debut in 2009 and is competing in the tournament for the 7th Only once has he managed to get further than round one, this was in 2013 when he defeated 7th seed Wes Newton before losing 13-10 to Chisnall. Last year he took Chisnall to extra legs in their opening round match losing 13-11.
- All of his defeats at the Matchplay have been against seeded players; he has lost twice to James Wade, twice to Dave Chisnall, once to Gary Anderson and once to Ronnie Baxter.
- On the tour this season he reached his first ranking final in two years when he lost in the final of a Players Championship tournament to Gerwyn Price.
- Caven has made it past the Last 32 only once in his last seven TV ranking tournaments, the only time was at the World Championships.
The world number one Michael van Gerwen will be a big favourite going into this match and Jamie Caven has it all to do if he is to overturn those odds. MVG has won 11 of his last 12 matches against Jamie Caven, going back to October 2011. Although van Gerwen hasn’t been as dominant recently as he was in the Premier League it will take a huge performance to defeat him. Caven has been showing some good darts on the circuit over the last few months but I don’t think he will have enough to really trouble MVG.
- Chisnall is making his 6th consecutive appearance at the World Matchplay since making his debut in 2011. He lost in the first round during the first 2 years but since then he has had a quarter-final appearance for each of the last 3 years.
- His 3 quarter-final defeats at the Matchplay have been against van Gerwen (twice) and Taylor, ironically when they defeated Chisnall they failed to win the tournament.
- Chisnall has played 6 unseeded players at the Matchplay and has won 5 of those matches, the only unseeded player to beat him was Ronnie Baxter in 2012 when Baxter went on to reach the semi-finals.
- Exiting the Premier League early did not do Chisnall any harm, in his last 10 events he has reached 8 quarter-finals, going through to the semi-final in 6 of those and reaching 3 finals from those 6 semi-finals. He won his first ranking tournament in just over a year when he won a Player Championship tournament at the start of July.
van de Pas
- Benito van de Pas is competing at the Matchplay for the 2nd year in a row, on his debut last year he had the formidable task of facing van Gerwen, van de Pas lost 10-4 and van Gerwen went on to win the title.
- He has had an excellent 2016 on the tour, he won his first PDC ranking title in April when he defeat van Gerwen 6-5 in a Players Championship final, having lost in a final to van Gerwen the previous day. He backed up his tournament win by taking another title in May, dropping only 10 legs in 7 matches on his way to winning the event.
- van de Pas has won 2 games in each of the last 3 PDC TV ranking tournaments, reaching the quarter-finals at the Players Championships and the Last 16 at the World Championships and UK Open.
- The only previous time they have met on the TV stage was back in December 2014 at the World Championships; van de Pas came out on top a 4-2 winner.
I would see both of these players as potential quarter-finalists and it’s a massively tough draw for them. They have each tasted success on the tour this season and have been amongst the form players over recent months. van de Pas does have a 3-1 advantage over Chisnall in the head to head but I’m not sure that has a great bearing on the outcome of this game. Both players when at their best are very heavy scorers and capable of producing 100+ averages but they both have inconsistencies in their game which can see them struggle to find their rhythm on occasions. I find it very hard to pick a winner as I really believe it could go either way. I do see chances of high checkouts for both players and a good 180 count.
That’s it for my day one preview, I hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to call back tomorrow for my preview for the two Sunday sessions.