The 2016 World Matchplay kicks off on Saturday evening, and Josh’s Dartistry casts his eye over the favourites, the contenders, the dark-horses, as well as the seeds under pressure. It promises to be a fantastic tournament at the Winter Gardens!
Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen is the favourite to retain his BetVictor World Matchplay title. He faces seven-time Pro Tour winner Jamie Caven in round-one, but ‘The Green Machine’ will be confident of progressing.
‘Jabba’ has only once gone beyond round-one at the Winter Gardens, and if MvG progresses, he will face either his good friend Vincent van der Voort, or Kyle Anderson in the last 16. Van Gerwen claimed victory in the recent Shanghai Darts Masters, but the world number one wasn’t in vintage form throughout the World Series.
World champion Gary Anderson will enter this tournament with real self-belief. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ has won three of the four World Series titles in 2016, beating Van Gerwen in two of those finals. The Scot is one of the select few who relishes the challenge of facing MvG, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see these two face off in the final.
However, Anderson has been handed a difficult first-round assignment, against former Lakeside world finalist Alan Norris. Norris has been in fine form in the last 6 months and this promises to be a quick-fire contest. Anderson suffered a shock second-round defeat to Mensur Suljovic last year, so he’ll be determined to make amends this time around.