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Betfair World Matchplay 2012 First Round Draw

Phil Taylor starts his title defence against old foe Mervyn King in Blackpool (credit: Lawrence Lustig/ PDC)
The draw for the opening round of the 2012 World Matchplay has been made, with Phil Taylor versus Mervyn King the stand-out tie.

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The 32-player event features the top 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit joined by 16 qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit.

The 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit are seeded for the first round and drawn against the qualifiers.

Phil Taylor will begin the defence of his coveted title against rival Mervyn King while Gary Anderson faces newcomer Dean Winstanley.

World Champion Adrian Lewis opens up against newly crowned UK Open Champion Robert Thornton, as Aussie ace Simon Whitlock and Dutch young gun Michael van Gerwen contest another mouth watering tie.

World Youth Champion James Hubbard debutises in the event against home hero Wes Newton, meanwhile 2011 runner-up James Wade hosts resurgent Welshman Richie Burnett.

European Darts Open winner Raymond van Barneveld meets another debutant, Michael Smith, while in-form Dave Chisnall - who has reached two successive European Tour finals - takes on Blackpool favourite Ronnie Baxter, the 1998 runner-up.

World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton plays Brendan Dolan, two-time World Matchplay finalist Terry Jenkins drew Belgian debutant Kim Huybrechts and Kevin Painter meets Steve Beaton.

World number 12 Justin Pipe takes on another young star Joe Cullen, while Mark Walsh plays Colin Osborne, who won his place in the World Matchplay by reaching the quarter-finals, alongside Hubbard, in Dusseldorf.

Paul Nicholson meets Andy Smith, and number 16 seed Vincent van der Voort drew Stoke's Ian White, who is another new face on the Blackpool stage.

This year signals the 19th staging of the prestigious event at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool and the tournament will be played from July 21-29.

Betfair World Matchplay 2012 First Round Draw

Adrian Lewis (2) v Robert Thornton
Paul Nicholson (15) v Andy Smith
Raymond van Barneveld (7) v Michael Smith
Terry Jenkins (10) v Kim Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock (6) v Michael van Gerwen
Kevin Painter (11) v Steve Beaton
James Wade (3) v Richie Burnett
Mark Walsh (14) v Colin Osborne
Phil Taylor (1) v Mervyn King
Vincent van der Voort (16) v Ian White
Andy Hamilton (8) v Brendan Dolan
Mark Webster (9) v Colin Lloyd
Wes Newton (5) v James Hubbard
Justin Pipe (12) v Joe Cullen
Gary Anderson (4) v Dean Winstanley
Dave Chisnall (13) v Ronnie Baxter

View coverage of the draw below:

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Betfair World Matchplay 2012 First Round Draw

The draw for the opening round of the 2012 World Matchplay has been made, with Phil Taylor versus Mervyn King the stand-out tie.

Read more »