Column #CM62 World Matchplay 2019 – Debutantes Part 2
Monday, July 22, 2019
World Matchplay 2019 – Debutantes Part 2
Best TV run: 2017 Grand Slam of Darts – quarter-final, three times BDO World Champion
Betfred tournament odds: 40/1
First round opponent: Adrian Lewis
To call Durrant a debutante – well, I feel rather reluctant about it. But as he only switched at the start of the year to the PDC more or less all PDC tournaments are debuts.
Durrant started to play darts in 1985 and 2004 took for the first time part in the Winmau World Masters. Similar to many other tournaments he took part in, in those years he was not particularly successful.
It changed in 2015…
In 2015, he for the first time reached the semi-finals of the BDO World Championship, won the World Masters and the Zuiderduin Masters and moved up to the first place position in the BDO rankings. In 2016, he lost in the quarterfinals of the BDO World Championship. He accepted the invitation to the Grand Slam and played his way into the quarterfinals. As he feels rather positive about the PDC rumors swirled that he might make the switch. But Durrant stayed with the BDO, defended his World Masters title and the Zuiderduin Masters title.
He won the BDO World Championship 2017 and stood as the dominant player in the BDO. Again he is invited to the Grand Slam and again there were rumors he would switch but for Durrant it was more important to defend his World Champion title. He succeeded but again stayed in the BDO. In 2019, he for the third time won the BDO World Champion title and this time he really did make the switch. He took part in Qualifying School, won a tour Card and has already won two Players Championships on the Pro Tour this year.
Almost at the same time as Durrant switched to the PDC he switched his sponsor as well and is now with Target. All in all the now full-time pro player seems to be very happy inside the PDC.
Durrant is a very consistent player who you never can write off and of course he would love to impress in a big major stage event. His first round opponent Adrian Lewis is a very inconsistent player though it looks his form is getting better again. Should the “real” Adrian Lewis” appear in the first round match it could get difficult for Durrant. Otherwise I would say “advantage Durrant.” In the second round probably Michael van Gerwen will await him.
Best TV run: 2016 Grand Slam of Darts – last 16
Betfred tournament odds: 66/1
First round opponent: Michael Smith
Like Glen Durrant, Jamie Hughes is an experienced BDO player. He started to play darts when he was ten and joined the BDO in 2007. In between he qualified for the UK Open 2012 but lost in the Preliminary Round. In 2014, Hughes reached the final of the Winmau World Masters and wons the Zuiderduin Masters. In 2015, he made his debut in the BDO World Championship and lost first round to Glen Durrant. But all in all 2015 was quite a good year for Yozza. He was nominated for the English Nation Team and won with the team the WDF World Cup.
In 2016, he played himself in the semi-finals of the BDO World Championship and won with the national team the WDF Europe Cup. He reached the semi-finals of the Winmau World Masters and was invited to the Grand Slam where he reached the last 16. There he lost to Chris Dobey. He again stands in the semifinals of the BDO World Championship 2017 and wons the Isle of Man Classic.
In the BDO World Championship 2018 he is defeated first round by Michael Unterbuchner and decides to switch to the PDC. He doesn’t manage to get a Tour Card and plays the Challenge Tour where he wins one event. In 2019, Hughes again took part in Qualifying School – this time with success. In Q School he impressed with high averages and now plays in most tournaments. But he’s not yet able to keep his averages up throughout a complete tournament. The first time he managed this was in the European Tour event in the Czech Republic which he won. With this win he qualified “last minute” for the World Matchplay.
Hughes‘ first choice in sport was football and as a youth he was a talented defender. But then he got a set darts from his uncle and Hughes changed to darts.
Hughes has with Michael Smith a difficult first round opponent – but might be not, should Smith‘s battle with his doubles go on. Should Smith still need many attempts to hit his doubles as he recently has Hughes has a good chance to progress. And he his chances to survive round two where Max Hopp or Dave Chisnall would be his opponent don’t look bad either.
Best TV run: 2016 Grand Slam of Darts -quarter-final, 2018 Players Championship Finals – quarter-final
Betfred tournament odds: 125/1
First round opponent: Rob Cross
I almost can’t believe Chris Dobey hasn’t played yet in the World Matchplay. The young player seems to be ever-present.
Dobey started his career in 2013 in the BDO. In 2014, he reached the last 32 of the Winmau World Masters and defeated on his way in the first round German Martin Schindler. In 2015, he took part in Qualifying School and got a Tour Card by the ranking. In the same year he for the first time finished among the last 16 in a Pro Tour event, took part in his first European Tour event and qualified for the World Series of Darts final. In 2016, he played several European Tour Events, stood in one Players Championship final, played the Grand Slam of Darts – where he reached the quarterfinals – and the Players Championships Final. He qualified for the PDC World Championship 2017 reaching the second round.
2017 was not as good for Dobey but at least he managed to qualify for the PDC World Championship 2018 where he was Phil Taylor’s last first round opponent. He stood among the last 16 of the UK open, in the final of two Players Championships and in the quarterfinals of the Players Championship Finals. In 2019 he again took part in the PDC World Championship and played himself among the last 16. He was invited as one of the Contenders to the Premier League and managed a draw against Mensur Suljovic. For the first time Dobey stood in the final of an European Tour event.
Gary Anderson was for several years Dobey’s mentor. Dobey always wanted to play on the World Matchplay stage.
Chris Dobey to be sure will not be an easy first round opponent for Rob Cross. It looks as though Cross is getting closer to his top form but at the moment his darts are not really consistent. It might turn out to be an advantage for Cross that he already has some experience on the Blackpool stage.
Best TV run: 2018 Players Championship Finals – semi-final
Betfred tournament odds: 200/1
First round opponent: Gary Anderson
Danny Noppert is another former BDO player who sees his debut on the Blackpool stage. Noppert appeared in 2013 out from nowhere in the quarterfinals of the Winmau World Masters. Prior to this he had only taken part in tournaments in the Netherlands. In 2015, he won several tournaments – the Scottish Open, the Masters of Wregem, the German Open, the Four Nations – and stood in the quarterfinals of the BDO World Trophy. By this he got an invitation to the Grand Slam and reached the last 8.
Noppert debuted in the BDO World Championship 2017 and reached the final but lost to Glen Durrant. After that he only played a few events in 2017 but won the Zuiderduin Masters. In 2018, he took part in Qualifying School and got a Tour Card as first in the ranking. Noppert played with some success on the European Tour. In the autumn he won in Dublin one of the two Players Championships before the World Grand Prix and reached the semifinals of two other Pro Tour events. In 2019, he again reached two semi-finals on the Pro Tour.
Noppert’s big problem is motivation. His trouble motivating himself ended in his break in 2017. It might be he overcame the problem by joining the PDC.
Noppert’s first round opponent is the reigning champion Gary Anderson. Not really a good omen for successful debut. But Anderson hasn‘t played a lot recently due to his back problems – though it is well known that he is quite capable of wining tournaments out of nowhere. And both players share the problem with motivation.