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30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

Alex Moss |

The World Matchplay's 30 most memorable matches (Part Two - #20-11)

The World Matchplay is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the darts calendar. First held in 1994, the world’s top players face off every summer over nine days at the iconic Winter Gardens, in Blackpool, for the Phil Taylor Trophy.

This July will mark the 30th staging of the World Matchplay, and over the years darts fans have been treated to hundreds of incredible moments. But what have been the most memorable matches at the World Matchplay over the last 30 years?

The Team at Darts Corner have delved through the archive and put together our own top 30 list. In part one, we took you through #30 to #21 in our countdown of the most unforgettable matches in World Matchplay history.

In part two, we look at the matches ranked #20 to #11, before our countdown finishes in part three as we get to our #1 match.

 Click on the images below for parts one and three of our countdown!

30 Years Of The World Matchplay Part One World Matchplay Matches Part Three

Check out our very own World Matchplay collection of darts, featuring James Wade, John Lowe and Keith Deller.


Our top 30 list of the World Matchplay's most memorable matches (Part Two - #20-11)

20. Peter Wright 14-16 Dimitri Van den Bergh (2022 quarter-final)

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

This epic from the 2022 World Matchplay saw the two previous winners go head-to-head, as the defending champion Peter Wright faced 2020 winner Dimitri Van den Bergh.

The quarter-final clash was also a repeat of the previous year’s final, which saw ‘Snakebite’ prevail 18-9 to end the Belgian’s reign.

Wright ran riot in the early stages of their Blackpool rematch, winning five legs in a row to open up a 5-1 lead, before Van den Bergh hit back with an incredible run of 10 legs without reply to go 11-5 up.

The holder changed his darts several times midway through the game in a bid to get back into the tie and would eventually go back in front at 13-12.

However, there would be one final twist as Wright missed two darts at double for 14-12, and his opponent would win four of the next five legs to edge through.

Check out our collection of Dimitri Van den Bergh darts.

19. Kim Huybrechts 13-12 John Henderson (2018 last 32)

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

For the first 19 editions of the World Matchplay, all matches had to be won by two clear legs and led to some marathon encounters.

In 2013, the PDC implemented a new rule to the tournament which forced a sudden-death leg if a two-leg advantage had not been reached after six extra legs.

But it was not until 2018 that the sudden-death ruling would first come into play when Kim Huybrechts and John Henderson met in the first round.

Belgium’s Huybrechts had lost in the opening round in his first six appearances in the World Matchplay, but got over the winning line in dramatic style, surviving a match dart in the 25th leg to win 13-12.

Take a look at our Kim Huybrechts darts, flights and cases.

18. Peter Evison 16-14 Dennis Priestley (1996 final)

The 1996 World Matchplay decider between Dennis Priestley and Peter Evison is one of the most memorable finals in the tournament’s history.

Priestley, a world champion in both the PDC and BDO codes, was appearing in his third consecutive Blackpool final, and was bidding for his first World Matchplay title having lost at the last hurdle in the first two editions.

The unseeded Evison was viewed as the underdog against the second seed Priestley but went into the final riding the crest of a wave, having thumped world number one Phil Taylor 8-1 in the last 16.

‘The Fen Tiger’ marched into a 14-11 lead, but crucially missed doubles to go 15-11 up, and Priestley pulled level at 14-14.

Evison, who would finish with a 100+ average in the final, then produced a 13 darter on throw and broke in 12 darts in the next leg to pip his opponent 16-14.

17. Peter Wright 17-10 Michael van Gerwen (2021 semi-final)

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

This semi-final clash from the 2021 World Matchplay is widely regarded as the best performance of Peter Wright’s career.

‘Snakebite’ averaged an incredible 110.37 – the highest ever recorded in a Blackpool semi-final – to get the better of his fierce rival.

Wright was at his clinical best as he opened up leads of 8-4 and 10-6 and even missed double 12 for a nine-dart leg midway through the contest.

Checkouts of 149 and 121 helped the Scot to pull further away and he won the final three legs to come through an emphatic winner.

16. Phil Taylor 14-17 James Wade (2015 semi-final)

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

In 2018, the World Matchplay’s trophy was renamed as the Phil Taylor Trophy, in honour of his outstanding record in the tournament.

‘The Power’ retired at the end of the 2017/18 season having won a staggering 16 World Matchplay titles, and his final record at Blackpool stood at P107 W99 L8.

Back in 2015, Taylor was on an imperious run of 38 consecutive wins at the Winter Gardens and went into the semi-finals with an eighth title on the spin firmly in his sights.

A nip and tuck contest saw Taylor take the early advantage before Wade fought back and moved to the verge of victory at 16-12.

‘The Machine’ then missed eight match darts to get over the line at 17-12, as Taylor took the next two legs to close the gap, before a brilliant 12 darter saw Wade home at 17-14.

Check out our range of James Wade darts here.

15. Michael van Gerwen 11-13 Glen Durrant (2019 last 16)

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

The 2019 World Matchplay saw a rare and unforgettable meeting between the reigning PDC and BDO world champions.

The top seed Michael van Gerwen had won his third title at Alexandra Palace at the start of 2019, just before Glen Durrant completed a hat-trick of BDO titles at the Lakeside.

‘Duzza’ then made the switch over to the PDC and immediately hit the ground running to qualify for the Winter Gardens in his first season on the professional circuit.

Van Gerwen battled back from 8-5 down to lead 9-8 before Durrant held his nerve to take the second-round tie into a tie-break. In over time, ‘Mighty Mike’ missed a dart at the bullseye to level at 12-12 and Durrant found tops to win a thriller.

14. Phil Taylor 17-15 Gary Anderson (2014 semi-final)

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson served up a Winter Gardens classic in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Matchplay in a clash which saw both players average 105.

This high-quality encounter saw the reigning champion Taylor open up a 16-13 advantage as he closed in on the finishing line.

‘The Flying Scotsman’ kept the match alive with an 11 darter on throw, before Taylor spurned four match darts in the 31st leg and Anderson hit tops to close to 16-15 behind.

But Taylor showed his class in the next leg and produced an 11-dart leg of his own against throw to squeeze through 17-15.

The two all-time greats would meet again on another big stage just six months later in the final of the 2015 World Championship, where Anderson would prevail to become a world champion for the first time.

Have a look at our collection of Gary Anderson darts, flights and cases.

13. Michael van Gerwen 13-9 Steve Beaton (2012 last 16)

While many observers will point back to the 2012 World Grand Prix as the tournament when Michael van Gerwen’s PDC career took off, it was a few months earlier at the World Matchplay when the blue touch paper was lit.

After missing the previous two editions of the tournament, van Gerwen made his Blackpool return and grabbed the headlines with a run to the quarter-finals.

In the ninth leg of his last 16 tie against Steve Beaton, ‘Mighty Mike’ produced a roof-raising nine-dart finish, much to the delight of the Winter Gardens crowd.

The moment was made even more memorable with England cricket star Andrew Flintoff being in the Sky Sports commentary box when van Gerwen threw the perfect leg!

12. Phil Taylor 18-9 James Wade (2008 final)

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

Colin Lloyd’s 170 in 2005 was the biggest finish taken out to win a World Matchplay final, but the concluding checkout in the 2008 decider is arguably the best.

Like Lloyd three years earlier, Taylor had established a strong lead in the final as he moved to within one leg of victory at 17-9 up against the defending champion James Wade.

In the 27th leg, ‘The Machine’ narrowly missed tops for a 160 and Taylor approached the oche requiring 132 to win the title.

The first dart landed awkwardly in the outer bullseye and, after hitting treble 19 with his second dart to leave 50, ‘The Power’ had a blocked target to aim at to complete the checkout.

The late Sid Waddell’s memorable call referenced the American sharpshooter Annie Oakley in the commentary box, saying even she would not be able to hit the target from that difficult position.

And what followed was one of the most outrageous shots in the history of televised darts, as Taylor moved across the oche and somehow pinned the bullseye with his last dart to secure the victory.

11. Adrian Lewis 10-13 Gerwyn Price (2015 last 16)

30 Years Of The World Matchplay - Part Two

The name Gerwyn Price is synonymous in the world of darts now, but back in 2015 the former rugby player was in the very infancy of his new career as a professional darts player.

‘The Iceman’ won his tour card to play on the PDC circuit at the start of 2014 and a little over 18 months later made his Winter Gardens debut.

After beating Michael Smith in a battle of future world champions in the first round, Price then faced the fourth seed Adrian Lewis in the last 16.

Price showed no signs of nerves, averaging more than 110 as he established a 5-2 lead over the two-time world champion Lewis.

A clutch 82 finish saw the newcomer move 12-7 in front and, after seeing ‘Jackpot’ win the next three legs to close to three behind, Price hit tops with his last dart to clinch a breakthrough win.


Which match will be #1?

The countdown continues for our most memorable World Matchplay matches, but which one will be top of our list?

Click on the image below to see part three of our 30 Years Of The World Matchplay countdown!

World Matchplay Matches Part Three

Want to celebrate your favourite player? Check out our World Matchplay collection featuring Michael Smith, Gary Anderson, John Part and many more players.

Pictures credit: PDC

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