World Matchplay: Can Daryl Gurney Capatilise on a Kind Draw in Blackpool?
It's been a frustrating twelve months for Daryl Gurney, who has largely struggled for consistency on the PDC tour, but he will hoping to give his fans something to smile about this summer. The Northern Irishman reached the semi-final stage of the World Matchplay back in 2017, and he will be hoping to replicate that success at Blackpool's Winter Gardens later this month. 'Super Chin' we be looking for a kind draw to avoid the majority of the big-hitters during the early rounds. Can the Londonderry-born thrower capitalise on this favourable position?
This year's tournament looks set to be another hugely competitive and entertaining event, with a 32-strong field hoping to get their hands on the prestigious Phil Taylor Trophy. Gary Anderson is the defending champion, although the Scot was forced to retire from the Premier League earlier this year owing to a persistent back injury, and questions still remain over his fitness. He beat Mensur Suljović in the final twelve months ago, and the Austrian will be hoping to go one step further this time around. However, the 47-year old has been drawn in the same quarter as both Michael Van Gerwen and James Wade, and he will have to overcome some tough opposition in order to match last year's finish.
The aforementioned Gary Anderson sits alongside newcomer Nathan Aspinall, Michael Smith and Dave Chisnall, and will be expected to make it to the final four, whilst second favourite Rob Cross will surely fancy his chances against either Darren Webster or Gerwyn Price. 'Voltage' is 15/2 with Paddy Power to secure his first title at the Winter Gardens, and could be hard to beat at this summer tournament.
However, Daryl Gurney looks to have been dealt the kindest draw, with the 16/1 shot being placed alongside the inconsistent Peter Wright, Ian White and Simon Whitlock. He will seemingly avoid bumping into Michael Van Gerwen until the final, and it could be worth following his progress throughout the tournament.
After edging past Steve West in the first round of the 2018 World Matchplay, Gurney surprisingly crashed out to Joe Cullen. He was easily beaten by the Bradford-born thrower, and will be looking to bounce back this time around.
Gurney has already faced Peter Wright twice in the Premier League this year, and beat the Scot during their second meeting at the end of April. He also holds a 12-3 record over Simon Whitlock and triumphed against Ian White during their meeting at the German Darts Grand Prix in April 2018. He should be able to make decent progress at the World Matchplay this time around.
Despite some discordant displays, he did make a Premier League semi-final appearance which helped him accrue £80,000 in prize money. However, he did suffer a disappointingly premature exit at the UK Open in March. He recently reached the quarter-finals of the Czech Open, and will be hoping to build upon some promising performances in Prague.
There are a number of debutantes in the field, with the likes of Jamie Hughes, Nathan Aspinall and Danny Noppert all taking to the Winter Gardens stage for the first time. Glen Durrant is another player who has qualified for the event, and will be looking to take his chance in the north west.
Although there is no such thing as an easy game on the PDC Tour, Daryl Gurney will be hoping for a kind draw, and he must take advantage of this potentially fortuitous situation. The Northern Irishman will be also be hoping to add his name to the select list of winners at this tournament and follow in the footsteps of both Phil Taylor and Rod Harrington.
PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers (seeds)
ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
|1. Michael van Gerwen||Krzysztof Ratajski|
|2. Rob Cross||Ricky Evans|
|3. Daryl Gurney||Glen Durrant|
|4. Gary Anderson||Joe Cullen|
|5. Michael Smith||Steve Beaton|
|6. Peter Wright||Stephen Bunting|
|7. Gerwyn Price||Jermaine Wattimena|
|8. James Wade||Jamie Hughes|
|9. Mensur Suljovic||Jeffrey de Zwaan|
|10. Ian White||Chris Dobey|
|11. Simon Whitlock||Danny Noppert|
|12. Dave Chisnall||Max Hopp|
|13. Nathan Aspinall||Mervyn King|
|14. Jonny Clayton||John Henderson|
|15. Darren Webster||Keegan Brown|
|16. Adrian Lewis||Vincent van der Voort|