World Matchplay Darts Its Really Heating Up In Blackpool
The World Matchplay
darts tournament is a particular favourite of the hardcore darts fan. A week long tournament, at the height of summer, played in the plushest of plush surroundings in the Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens, Blackpool, UK, Earth.
The first round action concludes tonight
with the following match ups:
Tuesday July 24
7.10pm Justin Pipe v Joe Cullen
8.00pm Wes Newton v James Hubbard
9.00pm Gary Anderson v Dean Winstanley
10.00pm Dave Chisnall v Ronnie Baxter
It is a night of up and comers, and old pros. In the old pro category; Gary Anderson and Ronnie Baxter. Baxter is always capable of going on a run, and is in decent form, but his days challenging in the later sages of televised tournaments may be, and likely are, behind him.
Gary Anderson may also be an old pro, in terms of experience, but he is very much in his darting prime. His form is a mystery this week however. He hasn’t played competitively in a month due to a complaint with his tear duct. He struggles to focus in the affected eye. Good eye balls, along with the skinniest tungsten implements, are pretty essential tools for the modern chucker. Who knows what Anderson will do. He’ll be very bad or very good.
Most everyone else is in the up and comer category: Winstanley, Chisnall, Pipe, Cullen, Hubbard and Newton.
Justin Pipe was winning floor tournaments at will last year. He won bucket loads of them. Fine. Well done. His next stated aim was to master darts on the box. Telly tungsten. And that has been his focus, the frequent tour victories have fallen away. But he still hasn’t broken through in a major televised tournament.
This would be the perfect tournament for him to do so. An appreciative, less combative audience, made up of the darting hardcore; who won’t jeer and boo and otherwise hurl disapprobation at Pipe for his less than swift throwing. They will support him. Now’s the time. If he can’t beat Cullen it is time to ask questions of the ponderous Pipe.
Chisnall is Pipe 2.0. Not because he is a slow chucker; he’s actually pretty exciting to watch. No, he, like Pipe previously, is winning tour events more regularly than George Lucas releases a new, increasingly ruined, version of Star Wars. So about once a month.
And despite wins against Phil Taylor at the Worlds, and a decent run at the UK Open. He has yet to do anything of note on the telly. He is following the Pipe road to success; win a bunch of floor events then....well the next part is the tough bit, and neither player is yet to rise to the challenge. Their time may come this week. Or then again it may not.
Wes Newton is ranked fifth in the World. So it is no longer perhaps accurate to describe him as an up and comer. He is on the precipice of joining the big boys. But to do that he needs to win something, or at the very least add another final - he reached the UK open final in 2011 - to his C.V.
James Hubbard is the World Youth Champion and he is another player tearing up the PDC’s tour of non-televised events. He’s only 12 years old but has all the skills to be a monumental chucker. OK he’s not 12. He just looks it. He’s 19. You must really be old when the darts players start to look young. What happened to darters all looking 50? 50 stone.
The following second round matches have been confirmed:
Phil Taylor vs. Ian White
Andy Hamilton vs. Mark Webster
Adrian Lewis vs. Andy Smith
Raymond van Barneveld vs. Terry Jenkins
MIchael van Gerwen vs. Steve Beaton
James Wade vs. Mark Walsh
It is dangerous to bank on anything in darts but Taylor, Wade and Lewis should progress without too much difficulty to the quarter finals. It is in the other bouts that some mystery remains.
Mark Webster isn’t the man he was before his embarrassing Premier League outing in 2011. Andy Hamilton on the other hand had the opposite Premier League experience. He was invigorated by the touring tungsten circus. He made the playoffs in his debut season and has went from strength to strength.
But there are signs Webster may be getting back to his best. This may be just the occasion to finally lay those Premier League demons to rest. Or not. The Hammer is the grittiest competitor in darts.
Barney vs. Terry Jenkins is another mouthwatering match up. Jenkins came through a scare against Kim Huybrechts in the first round. He was lucky to beat the Belgian. But when Terry’s back’s against the wall he’ll scratch your eyes out. Huybrechts gave Terry too many opportunities in the end, and Terry snapped them up gratefully.
Barney looks back to his best. That sentence alone should be enough to whet the appetite for that game.
Ladies man Steve Beaton is still breaking hearts in his late forties. He may have to do so again against Michael van Gerwen. But worryingly for the housewives’ favourite van Gerwen is capable of absolutely anything at the oche. This could be the match of the second round.
Still plenty of darts to look forward to from Blackpoo
l this week. Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.
Remember you can watch every match live on your computer or mobile with Sky Sports streaming on SkyGo . Need a UK IP address? See Click Here
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