Monday’s action brought the first round of the The 2023 Betfred World Matchplay tournament to a conclusion and day three brought us the first session so far in which all of the seeds progressed to the second round.

Snake Bite Eases Into The Second Round

Wright started slowly allowing Gilding opportunities to take the first two legs. Goldfinger seized these opportunities and at 2-0 down Wright looked like he had a hill to climb.

This was short lived however, as a change of darts spurred Snake Bite on to a stunning run of 8 legs on the bounce. By the time the second break came, the two time world champion was 8-2 up with Wright averaging ten points higher than Goldfinger.

The final session was a swift one with both players holding their throw for Wright to ease to a comfortable 10-4 setting up a second round match with the Ryan Searle.

Relentless Ryan Ruins Raymond’s Return

Ryan “Heavy metal” Searle produced the performance of the tournament so far to beat Raymond van Barnaveld. The Dutchman’s return to the Winter Gardens after a five year absence came to a swift end as the five time World Champion was beaten 10-4.

Searle’s scoring was relentless; posting an average of 105 and only three trebleless visits in the match. Coupled with a near 50% accuracy on the outer ring, Ryan gave his opponent no chance. The man from Somerset looks to have peaked at the perfect time and if he can sustain this level through the rest of the week, he will be a danger to any opponent.

Ferret Frustrates The German Giant

Clayton benefited from Clemens starting slowly and the Welshman quickly took a double break of throw to establish an early 3-0 lead. At 4-0 down Clemens had missed darts at double in every leg and was presenting Clayton with too many chances. The German finally pinned a double at the tenth time of asking to get a leg on the board and finish the first mini session 4-1 down.

The second session followed a similar pattern with both players far from their best. Clayton averaging 79 after ten legs and whilst Clemens was up at 87, the German was only 3/15 on doubles.

The third session was far more competitive with Clemens managing to start to find his doubles. The Ferret managed to get within one leg of victory and was broken as Clemens clawed his way back to 9-7 behind. Another hold for Celemens forced Clayton to throw for the match at 9-8. The Welshman found his scoring form in this important leg opening with a 140 followed by a 180 and a 137. Saving his best until last Clayton wrapped up the match with an 11 dart leg for a 10-8 victory.

Dimi Dispatches Animated Smith

The 2020 World Matchplay Champion begun his campaign against an animated and fired up Ross Smith. Both players started well with some huge averages in the early legs. Dimitri missed D20 for a 160 checkout which would have given him the lead at the break. Smith cleaned up 11 to for the first break of the match and take the lead 302 at the first break.

The second mini session became a bit scrappy as they exchanged breaks, each breaking the other’s throw twice. This time it was the turn of the Belgian to get the break levelling the match up 5 a piece. The continue to be tight but as Smith struggled to find a treble to force the game into extra time, Van den Bergh found a 12 dart leg for the break and a 10-8 victory.

Betfred World Matchplay
Dimitri Van den Bergh in 2020 lifting the Phil Taylor Trophy. Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2023 Betfred World Matchplay Monday 17th July

Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-8 Ross Smith

Ryan Searle 10-4 Raymond van Barnaveld

Peter Wright 10-4 Andrew Gilding

Jonny Clayton – Gabriel Clemens