With just over 24 hours to go until the opening night of this year’s World Matchplay in Blackpool, we thought we’d take a look back at three of the biggest matches of the tournament to date.
1994 – Larry Butler beats Dennis Priestley in maiden final
After an impressive four wins en route to the final, including an 11-4 victory over former world number one Jocky Wilson, unseeded American Butler faced current PDC World Champion Dennis ‘The Menace’ Priestley in the first ever World Matchplay final.
Butler never allowed Priestley to get going in this one and eventually went on to win the contest 16-12, claiming the £10,000 winner’s prize while remaining the only American darts player to ever win a major tournament in Europe.
2005 – John Part halts The Power’s Blackpool winning streak
The turn of the millennium saw Phil Taylor’s winning formula for the World Championships applied to the Matchplays too, as the Power won five consecutive trophies at the Winter Gardens.
And while many expected Taylor to make it six on the bounce, one man who was keen to make sure that wasn’t going to happen was Canadian John Part.
Darth Maple had already ended the Power’s spell of dominance at the World Championships just two years prior to the pair meeting in this Matchplay quarter-final.
While Taylor was four legs behind at 15-11, it took Part eight darts to checkout from 60 and end his rival’s winning streak.
2007 – Wade wins his first major
Often considered by many as the nearly man, darts fans from all over the world will all agree that the World Matchplay is James Wade’s favourite tournament – reaching the final an incredible six times in ten years.
Most notably, though, was in 2007, when Wade faced fan-favourite Terry Jenkins in the final.
After Jenkins comfortably brushed aside Taylor in the semis, it seemed like there would only be one outcome against Wade.
However, the Machine recorded the second biggest margin of victory in Matchplay history by beating ‘The Bull’ 18-7 in legs, taking home £50,000 and the first major trophy in his cabinet.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing