World Matchplay (darts)

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World Matchplay
Tournament information
Venue Winter Gardens
Location Blackpool, Lancashire
Country England
Established 1994
Organisation(s) PDC
Format Legs
Prize fund £450,000 (2014) [1]
Month(s) Played July
Current champion(s)
England Phil Taylor
The Winter Gardens in Blackpool, where the tournament has been held since its inception.

The World Matchplay, also known as the BetVictor World Matchplay for sponsorship purposes,[2] is a professional darts tournament. It is played in a legs format, and is run by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). Phil Taylor is the reigning champion.[3]

The World Matchplay has been played annually since 1994 in the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. The first ever winner was Larry Butler, who beat Dennis Priestley 16-12, and the current holder is Phil Taylor. It is regarded as the second biggest PDC Tournament, status shown by the fact the whole tournament was sold out within three days of the tickets being on sale.

The 1995 World Matchplay turned out to be Jocky Wilson's last appearance in a major televised event. Wilson had reached the quarter-finals of the inaugural tournament in 1994 and he beat Rod Harrington in the 1st round in 1995, but a 2nd round defeat against Nigel Justice was effectively the end of his career.

From 1994 to 2012, matches at the World Matchplay had to won by two clear legs. For example the first round was usually played over the first to 10 legs, but if the score reached 9-9, play continued until either player gained a two leg lead. Starting with the 2013 World Matchplay, if a two leg lead hadn't been established after six extra legs, then a sudden death leg is played, so sudden death would come into play in a first round match at 12-12.[4]


There have been six different sponsors for the World Matchplay:

Sponsor Years
Proton Cars 1994
Webster's 1995–1997
PDC 1998–1999
Stan James 2000–2010
Skybet 2011
Betfair 2012
BetVictor[2] 2013–

World Matchplay Finals[edit]

The list of finals:[5]

Year Champion (average in final) Score Runner-Up (average in final) Prize Money Sponsor Venue
Total Champion Runner-Up
1994 United States Larry Butler (92.70) 16–12 England Dennis Priestley (91.59) £42,800 £10,000 £6,000 Proton Cars Winter Gardens, Blackpool
1995 England Phil Taylor (90.72) 16–11 England Dennis Priestley (87.63) Webster's
1996 England Peter Evison (100.51) 16–14 England Dennis Priestley (96.67) £52,000 £12,000 £7,000
1997 England Phil Taylor (106.32) 16–11 England Alan Warriner (98.42) £48,000 £6,000
1998 England Rod Harrington (95.03) 19–17 England Ronnie Baxter (94.07) £58,000 £14,000 £7,000 PDC
1999 England Rod Harrington (85.95) 19–17 England Peter Manley (86.91)
2000 England Phil Taylor (100.32) 18–12 England Alan Warriner (97.14) Stan James
2001 England Phil Taylor (99.57) 18–10 Wales Richie Burnett (90.99) £65,000
2002 England Phil Taylor (98.76) 18–16 Canada John Part (94.14) £75,500 £15,000 £7,500
2003 England Phil Taylor (94.38) 18–12 England Wayne Mardle (97.44) £80,000 £8,000
2004 England Phil Taylor (100.20) 18–8 England Mark Dudbridge (89.24) £100,000 £20,000 £10,000
2005 England Colin Lloyd (97.89) 18–12 Canada John Part (94.53) £120,000 £25,000 £12,500
2006 England Phil Taylor (100.08) 18–9 England James Wade (90.01) £150,000 £30,000 £15,000
2007 England James Wade (96.83) 18–7 England Terry Jenkins (91.62) £200,000 £50,000 £20,000
2008 England Phil Taylor (109.47) 18–11 England James Wade (102.58) £300,000 £60,000 £30,000
2009 England Phil Taylor (106.05) 18–4 England Terry Jenkins (92.32) £400,000 £100,000 £50,000
2010 England Phil Taylor (105.16) 18–12 Netherlands Raymond van Barneveld (100.11)
2011 England Phil Taylor (103.84) 18–8 England James Wade (98.84) Sky Bet
2012 England Phil Taylor (98.97) 18–15 England James Wade (95.92) Betfair
2013 England Phil Taylor (111.23) 18–13 England Adrian Lewis (105.92) BetVictor
2014 England Phil Taylor (107.19) 18–9 Netherlands Michael van Gerwen (101.49) £450,000


Over the course of the tournament's 21-year existence, there have only been six different winners: Phil Taylor (15), Larry Butler (1), Peter Evison (1), Rod Harrington (2), Colin Lloyd (1) and James Wade (1). Dennis Priestley was also runner-up for three consecutive years.

Player Won Runner-up
England Phil Taylor 15 0
England Rod Harrington 2 0
England James Wade 1 4
United States Larry Butler 1 0
England Peter Evison 1 0
England Colin Lloyd 1 0
England Dennis Priestley 0 3
England Alan Warriner 0 2
Canada John Part 0 2
England Terry Jenkins 0 2
England Ronnie Baxter 0 1
England Peter Manley 0 1
Wales Richie Burnett 0 1
England Wayne Mardle 0 1
England Mark Dudbridge 0 1
Netherlands Raymond van Barneveld 0 1
England Adrian Lewis 0 1
Netherlands Michael van Gerwen 0 1


A match in progress on the World Matchplay stage.
Nine dart finish 
In the 2002 tournament, Phil Taylor hit the first ever nine dart finish to be broadcast live on UK television.
In the 2010 tournament, Raymond van Barneveld achieved a nine dart finish in the Matchplay against Denis Ovens in the first round.
In the 2011 tournament, John Part achieved a nine dart finish against Mark Webster. Part went on to lose the match 10–8.
In the 2012 tournament, Michael van Gerwen hit a nine dart finish against Steve Beaton in a 13–9 second round win.
In the 2012 tournament, Wes Newton hit a nine dart finish against Justin Pipe in a 13–10 second round defeat.
In the 2014 tournament, Phil Taylor hit a nine dart finish against Michael Smith in the second round.
Longest match in Matchplay history 
The finals of 1998 and 1999 both went to 36 legs as a result of the format of "2 clear legs".
Highest average in a Matchplay final 
111.23 by Phil Taylor in the 2013 final.[6]
Longest unbeaten run 
Phil Taylor is currently on a 35-game unbeaten run from 2008 to his win in the final in 2014. Taylor has only lost six matches in the history of the event:
  • 1994 Bob Anderson 9–11 (sudden death, second round)
  • 1996 Peter Evison 1–8 (second round)
  • 1998 Ronnie Baxter 10–13 (quarter-finals)
  • 1999 Peter Manley 14–17 (semi-finals),
  • 2005 John Part 11–16 (quarter-finals)
  • 2007 Terry Jenkins 11–17 (semi-finals).

Media coverage[edit]

The World Matchplay has been broadcast in the UK by Sky Sports since the first tournament.[7]

Previous incarnation[edit]

During the 1980s, the British Darts Organisation staged an unrelated version - the MFI World Matchplay championship. It was short-lived but historic in darts as it featured the first ever televised nine dart finish on 13 October 1984 when John Lowe won £102,000 for the perfect game of darts against Keith Deller. Lowe went on to win the title that year. The tournament was broadcast on ITV and came from The Fulcrum Centre, Slough. The tournament ceased after the 1988 tournament due to ITV announcing that they were pulling out of darts coverage altogether. ITV broadcast the 1988 World Masters before leaving the BBC as the only broadcaster of darts from 1989 to 1991. ITV didn't return to tournament darts coverage until they broadcast the 4 WDC UK Matchplay tournaments from 1993 to 1996, tournaments which featured a quadro dart board, where each number from 1-20 also had a quadruple slot for 4 times the number. ITV regional channels also showed events like the Lada UK Masters (Anglia Television) and the Samson Classic (Tyne-Tees Television). In 1999, ITV broadcast the head to head showdown at Wembley between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld, and returned to tournament darts coverage with the Grand Slam of Darts tournament in 2007.

The complete list of final results:[8]

Year Champion (average in final) Score Runner-up (average in final) Sponsor Prize fund Champion Runner-up
1984 England John Lowe 5-3 (sets) England Cliff Lazarenko MFI £36,000 £12,000 £5,000
1985 England Eric Bristow 5-4 England Bob Anderson MFI £41,000 £15,000 £6,000
1986 England Mike Gregory 5-1 Scotland Jocky Wilson MFI £41,000 £15,000 £6,000
1987 England Bob Anderson 5-1 England John Lowe MFI £47,400 £18,000 £7,000
1988 England Eric Bristow 5-1 Canada Bob Sinnaeve MFI £52,000 £21,000 £7,500


External links[edit]