The second round of the World Matchplay gets underway inside the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Tuesday evening on a night where we have a decent card on the schedule as spots in the quarter finals are on the line.
It is an evening which will see the world champion Gerwyn Price in action as well as the defending champion Dimitri Van den Bergh and the Premier League winner Jonny Clayton. We have a stacked card with the format now up to the best of 21 legs.
Rob Cross vs Callan Rydz
The opening match of the night sees the 2019 champion Rob Cross taking on the youngster Callan Rydz who continues his debut at the Winter Gardens after overcoming Glen Durrant in a pretty tame first round clash.
We can’t really judge Rydz on that match because the troubles of Glen Durrant were hard to watch. If you read the statistics you’ll see Rydz averaged a shade over 82 but Durrant brought him down to his level a bit. I expect more from Rydz here but the question is how much more will he produce. One statistic we probably could take notice of is the 10/30 checkout rate of Rydz and that is going to need to go up if he’s to remain in the tournament. Cross had a very good first round win against a lively challenger in Ross Smith. Cross averaged bang on a ton despite 21 missed darts at a double himself so his scoring was in sensational touch. I expect him to win this match and win it fairly well against an opponent who isn’t used to the big stages and who could wilt if he falls behind. Durrant was terrible the other day but if you take the first session out, Duzza finished the match winning the last 11 legs 6-5. Cross should come out much better than that and he can cover a 2.5 leg handicap here.
Luke Humphries vs Krzysztof Ratajski
The second match of the evening sees the two most impressive performers in the first round battle it out for another televised quarter final when the UK Open runner up Luke Humphries takes on the Polish star Krzysztof Ratajski.
Humphries absolutely demolished Wade to get revenge for his UK Open final defeat in the first round, averaging well over a ton and finishing very well and he certainly cut a confident figure in his interview after the match. In terms of performance, Ratajski was just as good. He was relentless against a Brendan Dolan who wasn’t quite at the races in the early stages and couldn’t reel the Pole in once he got going. Based on that effort Ratajski has to be respected but the question is after coming in out of form can he repeat that? I’m not convinced he can and even if he does Humphries will be with him all the way and might just pip him on the doubles. I’ll take the youngster at odds against here.
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Gerwyn Price vs Jonny Clayton
The pick of the matches on the first night of second round action sees Gerwyn Price continuing his quest to add the World Matchplay title to his World Championship crown when he meets his World Cup winning partner Jonny Clayton, who is looking for a third televised title of the campaign.
Price opened up in solid fashion against Jermaine Wattimena in the first round but at no stage in that match did the Dutch player give off the impression he thought he could win and in the end he ended up tamely rolling over and having his tummy tickled. That wasn’t the case for Clayton, who had to play well to see off Dirk van Duijvenbode, and did exactly that. If you were betting on this match in terms of the first round performances you would back Clayton but he’s 10-5 down on head to head which is a concern. I hate betting on matches between good friends so I’ll enjoy this rather than bet on it.
Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Dave Chisnall
The final match of the night sees Dimitri Van den Bergh continuing his title defence when he goes up against a Dave Chisnall who knocked the Belgian out of the World Championship earlier in the season and will be looking for a big stage double over his younger foe.
Van den Bergh has really stepped into a big match player and he emphatically answered the doubts over whether he could perform in front of a crowd when he demolished Devon Petersen in the first round. To be fair to the Belgian though, Petersen might have been at the races but he was at the wrong track if he was. Chisnall stuttered and stumbled over the line against Vincent van der Voort but he was solid under pressure in the finishing for the most part which was important in terms of his chances here. I sense this might be closer than the odds suggest but I don’t have a strong opinion either way. I do think there will be lots of 180s and was tempted by over 12.5 of them but Chisnall didn’t look bang on the scoring to me which is enough to put me off.
Back R.Cross (-2.5 legs) to beat C.Rydz for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
Back L.Humphries to beat K.Ratajski for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with William Hill
Back him here: