Josh To Rock Blackpool as Matchplay Field Confirmed

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Josh Rock and Mike De Decker will make their Betfred World Matchplay debuts this month, while confirmation of the field for the summer spectacular has seen two legends secure their Blackpool return.

This year’s World Matchplay will see a stellar 32-player field competing at the Winter Gardens from July 15-23 in the 30th edition of the tournament.

A huge £800,000 prize fund is on offer as the players do battle for the Phil Taylor Trophy across nine days in Blackpool, with the PDC’s top 16 joined by 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.

World Champion Michael Smith will be the top seed at this year’s event following his rise to the summit of the PDC Order of Merit.

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen is seeded third as he bids to claim a fourth World Matchplay success, with former winners Rob Cross (fifth), Dimitri Van den Bergh (tenth) and James Wade (16) also amongst the seeded stars.

Last year’s runner-up Gerwyn Price, who also landed a Winter Gardens nine-darter, is the fourth seed, while his World Cup-winning team-mate Jonny Clayton is the seventh seed.

2023 Masters champion Chris Dobey and UK Open winner Andrew Gilding are amongst the 16 ProTour Order of Merit qualifiers, based on prize money won in European Tour events and Players Championships in the last year.

World Youth Champion Rock will look to continue his remarkable rise after being the leading ProTour Order of Merit qualifier, ahead of Germany’s Martin Schindler, reigning European Champion Ross Smith and Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski.

De Decker’s qualification for a World Matchplay debut means that Belgium will be represented by three players for the first time in the event’s rich history, as he joins Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts in the field.

Raymond van Barneveld makes his 13th World Matchplay appearance, with the 2010 runner-up having last competed in Blackpool five years ago.

Steve Beaton makes his return following a two-year absence from the event to make a remarkable 22nd appearance in the World Matchplay, having made his debut in 1998.

Gary Anderson’s 15th World Matchplay appearance will see the 2018 champion on the ProTour side of the draw – meaning that he could see himself up against the likes of Smith, Van Gerwen or Scottish World Cup team-mate Wright in round one!

The draw for the Betfred World Matchplay will be made on Tuesday July 4, and available to watch through the Betfred social media channels, with the schedule of play to follow later in the week.

The Betfred World Matchplay will be held from July 15-23, while the final day of action in Blackpool also features the Betfred Women’s World Matchplay in Sunday’s afternoon session as eight players compete in the second staging of that event.

2023 Betfred World Matchplay

PDC Order of Merit Top 16

(Seeded for first round draw)

1 Michael Smith

2 Peter Wright

3 Michael van Gerwen

4 Gerwyn Price

5 Rob Cross

6 Luke Humphries

7 Jonny Clayton

8 Danny Noppert

9 Nathan Aspinall

10 Dimitri Van den Bergh

11 Dirk van Duijvenbode

12 Dave Chisnall

13 Joe Cullen

14 Damon Heta

15 Ryan Searle

16 James Wade

ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers

Josh Rock

Martin Schindler

Ross Smith

Krzysztof Ratajski

Jose de Sousa

Andrew Gilding

Gary Anderson

Stephen Bunting

Gabriel Clemens

Chris Dobey

Raymond van Barneveld

Daryl Gurney

Mike De Decker

Steve Beaton

Brendan Dolan

Kim Huybrechts

—–ENDS—–

Images: PDC

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