World Matchplay Darts 2023 – Day 3 Tips and Betting Preview

The first round of the World Matchplay concludes inside the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Monday evening when the final round matches of the opening part of the tournament takes place on another good looking night of darts.

The tournament is still reeling from the shock exit of Michael van Gerwen on Sunday evening and all those who remain in the event will be on their toes to ensure they are not the next big name to fall. That makes for an exciting night of action.

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Ross Smith

The opening match of the night sees the former champion Dimitri Van den Bergh going up against the European Championship winner from the back end of last year in Ross Smith in what promises to be a tasty starter to the Monday action.

Van den Bergh won this title in 2020 when it was played behind closed doors but he continued his love affair with the event last year when he reached the semi-final where he was well up on Michael van Gerwen in the early stages before the Dutchman got the better of him. Smith is appearing in Blackpool for the second time and will be looking to pick up a first win after losing out to Rob Cross a couple of years ago. Smith heads to the Winter Gardens this time around having lost his last four matches but in terms of the rankings he is the hardest opponent Van den Bergh could have got as he is the top player without a seeding. Smith did win a Players Championship event back in March but a European Tour semi-final and a couple of quarter finals on the floor aside this hasn’t been a fantastic period since that success. Van den Bergh has been competing at a decent level in recent times. He was a feature in the Premier League and just last weekend he made the final of the World Series event in Poland. His consistency at the top level probably doesn’t get the credit it deserves. I’m a little surprised that some bookmakers can’t separate these two. I like Smith but there is no getting away from his form being a concern and he has too many legs where the doubles can be a bit sketchy for my liking. The leg on leg consistency of Van den Bergh is very impressive and he is usually solid in all departments. If he delivers a clean performance here then I expect him to be the one making it through to the second round.

Ryan Searle vs Raymond van Barneveld

The second match of the night sees the legend Raymond van Barneveld making a return to the Blackpool stage for the first time in five years when he goes up against a Ryan Searle who is close to getting towards the underachieving stage of his career.

This is not a stage Barneveld has fond memories of. He made his debut here in 2007 and reached the quarter finals every year up to 2011 except 2010 when he made the final but between 2012 and 2018 he failed to go past the second round and might think he has a point to prove here. Barneveld has expressed his desire to get back up the rankings so this is a big week for him as everything he earns here goes onto his ranking. Searle will be competing in a third World Matchplay here and he is still looking for his first win so there is every chance that this could be a tight and tense affair. The potential for a tight match can be highlighted in their two European Tour meetings this year, both of which went the distance with each player winning one. My gut feeling is that Barneveld will just have the edge here but in a potentially tough game where both might be fighting inner demons on this stage I don’t really need to get involved in this one.

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Peter Wright vs Andrew Gilding

The penultimate match of the first round sees the 2021 champion Peter Wright looking to start what is a huge week for him as he attempts to defend the money he won a couple of years ago. He takes on the UK Open winner Andrew Gilding in a standout fixture.

Gilding arrives here in decent enough form. He has reached a couple of quarter finals and a semi-final of the last five Players Championship events and that deserves recognition. In truth, we don’t know how Wright is going because we haven’t seen him in the last five weeks. We do know he had a Premier League campaign to forget and has lost four of his last five matches in all competitions, although he did win a European Tour event prior to that. That was the only time he has won more than two matches in the same tournament all season so unless this recent break has done him good it is hard to argue that Wright has much form to speak of and that he is extremely vulnerable here. Wright averages less than 90 on the floor this season and just hasn’t looked in tune with his game all year. Gilding has a first nine average in excess of 100 on the tour this year and has registered five ton plus averages in those last five Players Championship events. If he plays to anything like his best level then I think he could be too much for a seriously under pressure Wright. I’ll take Gilding at the prices.

Jonny Clayton vs Gabriel Clemens

The final match of the opening round sees the recent World Cup winner Jonny Clayton going up against the World Championship semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens for the right to take on the winner of the first game of the night in the next stage.

Clayton is no stranger to success on a big stage having won the Premier League among other TV titles but this is one tournament he hasn’t gone particularly well in. He will know that Michael van Gerwen has exited his half of the draw though and hopefully that will focus his mind as I am on him outright this week. Clemens made the final of the third Players Championship event of the year but that aside he hasn’t really backed up his run at Alexandra Palace and has only won one match in four attempts in this tournament which was in 2020 when he was on debut and he beat Rob Cross behind closed doors with an 89.22 average. That won’t get it done here. Since the tournament returned to Blackpool the German has lost 10-2 and 10-6 to Jose de Sousa. The big problem Clemens has here is these two men have met on 11 previous occasions and Clayton has won the lot which will not give the German much confidence. Based on that, this is the worst draw that he could have had. Clayton made a couple of quarter finals on the floor last week so he is in decent touch. Only three of those Clayton wins have been blowouts though which puts me off taking a handicap here so I’ll just let the Clayton outright ride and hope that he gets it off to a decent start.


Back D.Van den Bergh to beat R.Smith for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill

Back him here:

Back A.Gilding to beat P.Wright for a 3/10 stake at 2.40 with Betfred

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