MVG Has Riot on His Hands

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Michael van Gerwen will begin his defence of the Cazoo Players Championship Finals against Callan Rydz, with the field and draw for this month’s event confirmed.

The £600,000 event – featuring the top 64 players on the Players Championship Order of Merit following the conclusion of the 30-event 2023 Players Championship season – will take place at Butlin’s Minehead Resort from November 24-26.

Seven-time champion Van Gerwen opens his challenge with a tough tie against former World Championship quarter-finalist Rydz, a Players Championship 19 winner in September.

Van Gerwen tasted victory at Players Championship Seven back in March, although he will arrive in Minehead as the 40th seed, having only featured in 15 of the year’s 30 events.

2019 runner-up Gerwyn Price will be the top seed in this year’s showpiece after winning four Players Championship titles in 2023, and his reward is a first round encounter against Ricky Evans.

Evans sealed his place in last-gasp fashion, landing a nine-dart finish in his first round victory over Rydz in Thursday’s Players Championship 30, before holding on to claim the final qualification spot.

Scottish legend Gary Anderson will return to Minehead as the second seed following a hat-trick of Players Championship wins in 2023, and the 2014 champion will face fellow veteran Steve Beaton in a high-profile tussle.

Australian number one Damon Heta will meet American debutant Jules van Dongen in his opener, with 2016 runner-up Dave Chisnall pitted against another newcomer, Lee Evans.

Fifth seed Josh Rock will play Austria’s Rowby-John Rodriguez, while Dirk van Duijvenbode – a winner of three Players Championship titles in 2023 – takes on his compatriot Jermaine Wattimena for a place in round two.

World Grand Prix champion Luke Humphries will lock horns with Martin Lukeman, as 2021 finalist Ryan Searle marks his return to home soil in Somerset with a clash against Croatia’s Boris Krcmar.

Ross Smith and Danny Noppert face Scott Williams and Matt Campbell respectively, while World Champion Michael Smith – the number 27 seed – will collide with Richard Veenstra in a quick-fire contest.

Masters champion Chris Dobey will play Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld in one of the stand-out first round ties, as last year’s runner-up Rob Cross meets the enigmatic Cameron Menzies.

Daryl Gurney – one of three former champions in this year’s field – kicks off his campaign against Niels Zonneveld, while UK Open champion Andrew Gilding goes head-to-head with Ireland’s Steve Lennon.

Elsewhere, former finalists Jonny Clayton and Kim Huybrechts go up against Stephen Burton and Martin Schindler respectively, with European Championship runner-up James Wade set to take on William O’Connor.

However, there will be a number of high-profile absentees in Minehead this year, including 2021 champion Peter Wright, a winner at last weekend’s European Championship in Dortmund.

World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall, Austrian stalwart Mensur Suljovic and two-time runner-up Mervyn King also miss out following underwhelming seasons on the Players Championship circuit.

The first round will get underway on Friday November 24, with Saturday’s double session featuring the second and third rounds.

The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will then be held on Sunday November 26, with the Winmau World Youth Championship final taking place during a blockbuster evening session.

The tournament will be broadcast live on ITV4 in the UK, and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay.

Coverage will also be broadcast on PDCTV (excluding subscribers in the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland), while action from Stage Two will be broadcast worldwide on PDCTV on Friday and Saturday.

The schedule of play will be announced in due course.

2023 Cazoo Players Championship Finals
Draw Bracket
(1) Gerwyn Price v (64) Ricky Evans
(32) Kim Huybrechts v (33) Martin Schindler
(16) Stephen Bunting v (49) Mickey Mansell
(17) Gian van Veen v (48) Chris Landman
(8) Ross Smith v (57) Scott Williams
(25) Callan Rydz v (40) Michael van Gerwen
(9) Danny Noppert v (56) Matt Campbell
(24) Mike De Decker v (41) Mario Vandenbogaerde
(4) Dave Chisnall v (61) Lee Evans
(29) Chris Dobey v (36) Raymond van Barneveld
(13) Rob Cross v (52) Cameron Menzies
(20) Luke Woodhouse v (45) Simon Whitlock
(5) Josh Rock v (60) Rowby-John Rodriguez
(28) Gabriel Clemens v (37) Connor Scutt
(12) Jonny Clayton v (53) Stephen Burton
(21) Daryl Gurney v (44) Niels Zonneveld
(2) Gary Anderson v (63) Steve Beaton
(31) Dimitri Van den Bergh v (34) Jim Williams
(15) James Wade v (50) William O’Connor
(18) Andrew Gilding v (47) Steve Lennon
(7) Luke Humphries v (58) Martin Lukeman
(26) Radek Szaganski v (39) Ian White
(10) Ryan Searle v (55) Boris Krcmar
(23) Ricardo Pietreczko v (42) Christian Kist
(3) Damon Heta v (62) Jules van Dongen
(30) Jose de Sousa v (35) Kevin Doets
(14) Krzysztof Ratajski v (51) Maik Kuivenhoven
(19) Brendan Dolan v (46) Ritchie Edhouse
(6) Dirk van Duijvenbode v (59) Jermaine Wattimena
(27) Michael Smith v (38) Richard Veenstra
(11) Ryan Joyce v (54) Daniel Klose
(22) Joe Cullen v (43) Jamie Hughes

Session Schedule
Friday November 24
Afternoon Session (1245-1700 GMT)
First Round
Main Stage & Stage Two

Evening Session (1900-2300 GMT)
Main Stage & Stage Two

Saturday November 25
Afternoon Session (1245-1700 GMT)
Second Round
Main Stage & Stage Two

Evening Session (1900-2300 GMT)
Third Round
Main Stage & Stage Two

Sunday November 26
Afternoon Session (1245-1700 GMT)

Evening Session (1900-2300 GMT)
PDC Winmau World Youth Championship Final

First Round – Best of 11 legs
Second Round – Best of 11 legs
Third Round – Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals – Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals – Best of 21 legs
Final – Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner £120,000
Runner-Up £60,000
Semi-Finalists £30,000
Quarter-Finalists £20,000
Third Round Losers £10,000
Second Round Losers £6,500
First Round Losers £3,000
Total £600,000


Images: Kleeves/PDC


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