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Nathan Aspinall halts Luke Humphries at the World Matchplay as Gurney ousts Anderson

World Matchplay Darts 2022 | Day Two Preview and Order of Play

Jamie Shaw in World Matchplay 17 Jul 2022
Van Gerwen and Lewis go head-to-head (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The First Round action continues at the 2022 World Matchplay on Sunday with three former champions and a host of other decorated stars beginning their Blackpool campaigns.

An unmissable Day Two at the Winter Gardens features eight matches across two sessions as the top seeds bid to avoid an early exit.

The afternoon session includes a show-down between 2018 World Matchplay champion Gary Anderson and two-time major winner Daryl Gurney.

Anderson, an ever-present in this event since 2009, was runner-up behind closed doors in Milton Keynes two years ago and is defending £70,000 against his ranking as a result.

Semi-finalist in the most recent World Championship, Anderson finished rock bottom of the Premier League table and has struggled for form on both floor and stage this season.

Gurney, meanwhile, returns to Blackpool as a ProTour qualifier having dropped to 24th in the Order of Merit, but boasts a solid record on this stage with two Semi-Final appearances – the first of which coming in 2017 when he defeated Anderson along the way.

Michael Smith, runner-up here in 2019, starts his latest quest for an elusive maiden major title with a clash against a resurgent Andrew Gilding.

Smith lost out in a second World Championship final in January before again being denied glory in the UK Open final, but did go on to win the US Masters in New York last month.

The world number three has also picked up a European Tour title and three ProTour titles this season and has reached at least the Quarter-Final stage in each of his last three Matchplay appearances.

Gilding is making his return to the Winter Gardens for the first time since 2015, having reached two ProTour finals this season, one of which coming only last Saturday.

The world number 67 has registered a number of astronomical averages in floor events of late and will look to transfer that form onto the televised stage.

The opening match of the afternoon sees two former major finalists collide as Dirk van Duijvenbode meets Ryan Searle.

Van Duijvenbode defeated Searle 8-7 in the final of a Players Championship event in April to land his second PDC ranking title and heads to Blackpool as a seed for the first time and in pursuit of his first win in the World Matchplay.

The Dutch World Cup star was runner-up in last month’s Dutch Masters World Series event and has become renowned as one of the most prolific maximum hitters on planet darts.

Searle is also making his second successive Matchplay appearance, having lost out to Michael Smith on debut last year, and has also picked up a Players Championship title this season in addition to reaching a further two finals.

Van Duijvenbode’s World Cup team-mate Danny Noppert gets his campaign under way with a tie against veteran Brendan Dolan.

Both players warmed up for this event in dream fashion by winning a Players Championship event last week, with Noppert adding to his landmark UK Open triumph back in March.

The number 11 seed is making his fourth consecutive Matchplay appearance but is yet to progress beyond the Last 16, however he returns in arguably the most clinically consistent form of his career so far.

Former World Grand Prix finalist Dolan made his Matchplay debut a decade ago but has never made it beyond the Second Round stage in seven appearances in total.

Anderson and Gurney face off (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The evening session kicks off with a fascinating show-down between Masters champion Joe Cullen and World Cup winner Damon Heta.

Cullen came within a whisker of being crowned Premier League champion in his debut campaign last month, wiring a match dart at double 16 in the deciding leg before watching Michael van Gerwen snatch the title from his grasp.

He suffered similar agony at the Winter Gardens in 2018, missing two match darts against Gary Anderson before eventually going down 19-17 in an epic Quarter-Final.

Heta is the highest ranked ProTour qualifier, having claimed one ProTour title and reached a further final – where he was denied by Cullen.

The Aussie ace partnered Simon Whitlock to World Cup glory in Frankfurt last month and is now eyeing his first win on this stage at the second time of asking.

The box office clash of the evening sees two-time World Matchplay champion Van Gerwen take on 2013 finalist Adrian Lewis.

Van Gerwen comes into this event as the number four seed, having picked up the Premier League title in June before undergoing surgery on his throwing arm and subsequently missing the World Cup of Darts and four Players Championship events.

Back-to-back World Matchplay champion in 2015 and 2016, MVG has suffered a mixed bag of results in Blackpool since, including one First Round and two Second Round exits.

Lewis famously defeated the green machine in an epic 2013 Semi-Final before being denied glory by Phil Taylor, but Van Gerwen gained his revenge when the pair met at the same stage of the competition three years later.

Lewis has enjoyed a timely return to winning ways, ending a three-year wait for a ranking title during the recent batch of ProTour events, and is now out to consolidate that with a headline-making victory over his former rival to mark what would be a first win in Blackpool since 2018.

Another mouth-watering contest sees man of the moment Luke Humphries take on former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall.

Humphries has enjoyed a sensational season so far, storming to four European Tour titles, a ProTour title and a career-high ranking of world number 12.

The former UK Open finalist and three-time World Championship quarter-finalist is in hot pursuit of a first televised title but faces a formidable opener against the 2020 Premier League runner-up.

Despite the injury woes which threatened to derail his career, Aspinall has dug deep to return to form in recent months, picking up a ProTour title and reaching a further two finals.

Quarter-finalist here 12 months ago, ‘The Asp’ is targeting a swift return to the world’s top 16 and warmed up for this event with two Semi-Final runs on the ProTour last week.

Matchplay specialist James Wade, meanwhile, starts his 17th consecutive campaign against Martin Lukeman – one of four debutants in this year’s line-up.

Having lost in the final on debut in 2006, Wade went one better the following year to clinch the first of his ten televised titles to date.

He has since reached a further four finals at this historic venue, but has been a First Round casualty in three of his last five visits.

Lukeman, the world number 68, enjoyed a sensational run to the final of the German Darts Grand Prix in April and has been a regular at the business end of ProTour events.

The 37-year-old is now poised for a debut appearance in front of the TV cameras as he bids to announce his arrival into the big time with an upset.

The action gets under way from 1pm BST, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of 19 legs.

All matches must be won by two clear legs, with a match being extended if necessary for a maximum of six extra legs before a sudden death leg is required.

For example, in a first to ten First Round match, if the score reaches 12-12 then the 25th leg will be the sudden death decider.


Betfred World Matchplay 2022 Day Two Schedule

Sunday July 17

First Round

Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ryan Searle
Danny Noppert v Brendan Dolan
Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith v Andrew Gilding

Evening Session (7.30pm-11.30pm)
Joe Cullen v Damon Heta
James Wade v Martin Lukeman
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Luke Humphries v Nathan Aspinall

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