2023 World Matchplay round 2 review: more huge upsets and tantalising tie breaks

Published on 20 July 2023 at 20:00

There must be something in the air in Blackpool this week. Very few could've predicted Michael Van Gerwen first round defeat to Brendan Dolan, but even fewer could've foreseen Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith and Peter Wright following in the same footsteps just days later. With matches going to the wire, interesting walk ons and high averages - round two of this year's World Matchplay had it all.


Daryl Gurney 11 - 4 Gary Anderson 

After a first round win against Rob Cross, Gurney is looking back to his best. The Northern Irishman won the first six legs of the match and never looked back, in an impressive display against Anderson.


Nathan Aspinall 11 - 9 Danny Noppert

Eighth against ninth in the PDC rankings, this one was always going to be close. At 9-9 the match looked destined for a tie break, but some nervy missed doubles from Noppert allowed Aspinall to book his place in the quarter finals.


Joe Cullen 13 - 11 Gerwyn Price

With Michael Van Gerwen out of the picture, Price would’ve fancied his chances to go all the way. The Welshman missed a dart at the bull to win the match, before Cullen sent him packing in an absolute classic at the Winter Gardens.


Chris Dobey 11 - 7 Michael Smith

While on paper this is another upset, over the past year Dobey has proved he has what it takes to mix it with the big guns and this match was no different. The Geordie looked at home on the big stage as he defeated the World Champion.


Damon Heta 11 - 1 Brendan Dolan

After his heroic first round victory against MVG, Dolan was brought back down to Earth against Heta. The Aussie dominated from start to finish, despite being on the end of some pantomime boos from the crowd for his Ashes themed walk-on.


Jonny Clayton 11 - 6 Dimitri Van Den Bergh

Blackpool is a venue that Clayton has struggled in over the years, as he had never reached a quarter final before this tournament. However, the Welshman looked more at ease this time round, averaging over 100 against Van Den Bergh.


Ryan Searle 11 - 8 Peter Wright

An outside choice for many this year, Searle has been one of the most steady and consistent players on the tour for over a year now. His victory against Wright was never really in doubt throughout the match and means there'll be a new name on the Phil Taylor Trophy this year.


Luke Humphries 14 - 12 Dirk Van Duijvenbode

Last but by no means least, it was a nail-biting end to the second round. Van Duijvenbode looked in control for most of the match and missed a match dart at 10-9 up, but Humphries fought back with some superb finishing to steal the contest.


With all of the top five seeds now out of the 2023 Matchplay, Luke Humphries is the new favourite but all eight of the remaining arrow-smiths will fancy their chances to win it. It really is anyone's game from here on in.


Can 'Cool Hand Luke' handle the pressure of being favourite? Does a back in form 'Superchin' have what it takes? Could Ryan 'Heavy Metal' Searle turn consistency into glory? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

By Alistair Gordon


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