World Matchplay First Round review: Van Gerwen victorious and Ian’s White’s whitewash


The heavily anticipated World Matchplay has reached the climax of its first stage.

And Saturday’s session saw four matches in which two seeds exited the tournament at the first round stage.

The pendulum-like Mervyn King came through his opening match, winning 10-5 against 13th seed Nathan Aspinall. Although the world semi-finalist still averaged 103 and became the first ‘seeded debutant’ since bearded Aussie Simon Whitlock in 2010.

He will go on to face the returning Gary Anderson who fought through his game against Danny Noppert. The Dutchman failed to upset the odds and did return to just a one-leg deficit at 7-6, but the World’s fourth best player won the final three legs and run out a 10-6 winner.

Rob Cross was not to be fazed as he averaged a ton in a 10-3 thrashing of Chris Dobey, and in the most eventful and tight match of the morning, former Lakeside champion Stephen Bunting knocked out seventh seed Gerwyn Price. ‘The Bullet’ came from 6-3 down to win 13-12 and set up a potential tie with Ian White or Joe Cullen.

The results in the afternoon saw Krzysztof Ratajski and Max Hopp knock out Darren Webster and Dave Chisnall respectively, with Ratajski set to take on Rob Cross and Hopp will be taking on Michael Smith (who narrrowly edged past Jamie Hughes.)

The evening session began with yet another sudden-death masterclass. ‘The Machine’ James Wade edged past Jeffrey de Zwaan by 13 legs to 12.  A high quality match, with Wade scraping through with an ever present average of 96.16.

Michael van Gerwen was the poster boy for the night, but after losing his previous two matches to lowly opponents and the fans on his back from the start, it looked like the dynamic Dutchman might lose out to the ‘Bronzed Adonis’ Steve Beaton.

He came through eventually by ten legs to six, with his darting ability pulling him through a tough and unstable challenge. With the Dutchman averaging just 93.

The final match of Sunday night saw 16th seed Adrian Lewis take on BDO World champion Glen Durrant. Lewis hasn’t had a great time in the past two years, but he was considered the overwhelming favourite by many. Durrant was the victor and convincingly too. He won 10-4 and knocks out the two time world champion.

Credit: Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

The final first round matches were played on Monday, and another seeded scalp was claimed by 2014 World Youth Champion Keegan Brown, as his 62.5% conversion rate on the doubles saw him dispose of Jonny Clayton.

Simon Whitlock and Daryl Gurney came through tight matches with big John Henderson and ‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans, and the sixth seed Peter Wright claimed his spot in the next phase with a 10-5 win over Vincent van der Voort, averaging 102.04, an average only beaten by Nathan Aspinall.

The second round ties look tasty, with the pick of the matches seeing Wright play ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock and James Wade face off against Mensur Suljovic.


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Sports Journalism student, streamer at LFC Transfer Room, Anfield Agenda. Liverpool fan with a particular interest in Welsh, Youth, and African football.

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