Van Barneveld seals Winter Gardens return on day one of the European Darts Matchplay

With a victory on Friday’s first day of the Interwetten European Darts Matchplay in Trier, Raymond van Barneveld secured his return to the Betfred World Matchplay for the first time in five years.

Van Barneveld defeated George Killington 6-3 in the opening round of the European Tour competition, which was sufficient to secure a July return to Blackpool’s renowned Winter Gardens.

The 2010 World Matchplay runner-up will now compete against longtime foe Michael van Gerwen on Saturday night in a mouthwatering second round matchup between the two Dutch titans.

“This was a vital win for me in my quest to qualify for the big TV events later this year,” said Van Barneveld, who returned to the professional circuit in 2021.

“I want to qualify for the World Matchplay, the World Grand Prix, the European Championship, so this is one of my goals achieved for this year.

 “I will have to play much better to do anything against Michael in the next round, I will need to put a few points on my average.”

 “The game is there; in practice I was hitting 180s and 140s but on stage, I hit too many 60s, so that’s something I need to sort out for tomorrow.”

Van Barneveld seals Winter Gardens return on day one of the European Darts Matchplay 
Van Barneveld seals Winter Gardens return on day one of the European Darts Matchplay 

16 first-round matches for the £175,000 tournament were played at Arena Trier on the first day as competitors jostled for position in the race to Blackpool.

Three ProTour Order of Merit qualification spots, presently held by Steve Beaton, Brendan Dolan, and Kim Huybrechts, are still up for grabs going into Saturday’s second round.

Dolan improved his prospects of playing in his seventh World Matchplay with a 6-2 victory over Connor Scutt, while Huybrechts was defeated 6-2 by Keane Barry.

Barry is vying for a qualifying spot, and the world’s top-ranked Michael Smith will be Barry’s opponent in round two.

Beaton, who did not qualify for this weekend’s competition, will also have to wait anxiously to see how his Blackpool prospects turn out.

Callan Rydz, ranked 26th in the world, and German prospect Ricardo Pietreczko both improved their chances with victories over Stephen Burton and Fabian Herz.


However, losses on the opening day in Trier put an end to Simon Whitlock, William O’Connor, Luke Woodhouse, and Matt Campbell’s chances of qualifying.

Gian van Veen, a rising Dutch star, and Vitezslav Sedlak, a Czech rookie, both defeated Christian Kist and Daniel Klose with ton-plus averages.

Gabriel Clemens, a recent World Cup semifinalist for Germany, raised the roof when defeating Jose de Sousa 6-3. It was his first victory against the top-ranked Portuguese player in four years.

In other matches, winners were Marko Kantele, Martin Lukeman, Ryan Joyce, and UK Open champion Andrew Gilding.

In the second round of the event on Saturday, the 16 players with the highest seeds will compete, including World Champion Smith, World No. 3 Van Gerwen, and No. 1 seed Luke Humphries.

Brendan Dolan Walk On; Interwetten European Darts Matchplay 2023

2023 European Darts Matchplay

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)

Ryan Joyce 6-1 Ted Evetts

Vitezslav Sedlak 6-3 Daniel Klose

Gian van Veen 6-3 Christian Kist

Martin Lukeman 6-4 Graham Hall

Brendan Dolan 6-2 Connor Scutt

Andrew Gilding 6-4 Darryl Pilgrim

Mickey Mansell 6-3 Matt Campbell

Callan Rydz 6-3 Stephen Burton


Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)

Marko Kantele 6-2 Liam Maendl-Lawrance

Ricardo Pietreczko 6-0 Fabian Herz

Keane Barry 6-2 Kim Huybrechts

James Wade 6-1 William O’Connor

Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 George Killington

Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Jose de Sousa

James Wilson 6-2 Simon Whitlock

Stephen Bunting 6-3 Luke Woodhouse


Saturday July 1

Second Round

Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)

Dave Chisnall v Ryan Joyce

Josh Rock v Brendan Dolan

Rob Cross v Mickey Mansell

Damon Heta v Gian van Veen

Nathan Aspinall v Martin Lukeman

Dirk van Duijvenbode v Andrew Gilding

Joe Cullen v Vitezslav Sedlak

Ross Smith v Stephen Bunting


Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)

Jonny Clayton v James Wade

Dimitri Van den Bergh v Ricardo Pietreczko

Ryan Searle v Gabriel Clemens

Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld

Michael Smith v Keane Barry

Luke Humphries v Marko Kantele

Martin Schindler v Callan Rydz

Danny Noppert v James Wilson