Dolan Heads Pack Seeking Matchplay Places

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A group of star names boosted their World Matchplay qualification chances with victory on the opening day of the Interwetten European Darts Matchplay in Trier on Friday.

Heading into Saturday’s second round, and after Raymond van Barneveld secured his spot on Friday, three ProTour Order of Merit qualification places remain unsettled, currently occupied by Steve Beaton, Brendan Dolan and Kim Huybrechts.

The opening day of the £175,000 event saw 16 first round ties take place at Arena Trier, as players jostled for position in the race to Blackpool.

Dolan strengthened his chances of a ninth World Matchplay appearance with a 6-2 defeat over Connor Scutt, while Huybrechts suffered a 6-2 loss at the hands of Keane Barry.

Barry is among the chasing pack for qualification places, with world number one Michael Smith up next for the Irish youngster in round two.

Beaton, like Huybrechts, also faces an anxious wait on his Blackpool chances, having not qualified for this weekend’s event.

German prospect Ricardo Pietreczko and world number 26 Callan Rydz also strengthened their chances with wins over Fabian Herz and Stephen Burton respectively.

However, the qualification hopes of Simon Whitlock, William O’Connor, Luke Woodhouse and Matt Campbell were all ended with defeat on the opening day in Trier.

Emerging Dutch star Gian van Veen and Czech newcomer Vitezslav Sedlak impressed with ton-plus averages in their wins over Christian Kist and Daniel Klose respectively.

Gabriel Clemens celebrating; Interwetten European Darts Matchplay 2023

Germany’s recent World Cup semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens raised the roof with a 6-3 defeat of Jose de Sousa, his first victory over the Portuguese number one in four years.

Elsewhere, there were victories for UK Open champion Andrew Gilding, Martin Lukeman, Ryan Joyce and Marko Kantele.

The 16 seeded players enter the tournament in Saturday’s second round, with World Champion Smith, world number three Van Gerwen and top seed Luke Humphries amongst the top stars in action.

The tournament is being broadcast live on Viaplay, DAZN and PDCTV (excluding Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and through bookmakers’ websites worldwide.

—–Ends—–

Images: Jonas Hunold / PDC Europe

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