Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney enter the fray on Monday at the World Matchplay
The action gets underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 21/07/19 6:57pm
Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney enter the fray on Monday night at the World Matchplay, as the first round draws to a close.
Wright aims to extend his 18-match unbeaten run, while world No 3 Gurney bids to lay down as a marker as the highest-ranked player in his quarter of the draw.
Two-time semi-finalist Simon Whitlock and three-time PDC ranking winner Jonny Clayton also begin their campaigns in Blackpool.
Here's what we have on the menu at the Winter Gardens this evening…
Jonny Clayton vs Keegan Brown
Jonny Clayton aims to record his first win at the Winter Gardens when he meets former World Youth champion Keegan Brown in the evening's curtain-raiser.
'The Ferret' was beaten 10-6 by Michael Smith on debut last year, but the Welshman returns as a seed, having climbed up to 14th on the Order of Merit after capturing his third ranking title in April.
Brown was also beaten at the same stage of last year's event by Dave Chisnall, but the Isle of Wight ace has impressed on the Pro Tour this year, having claimed the scalp of Michael van Gerwen twice on the European Tour.
The 26-year-old has reached three ranking semi-finals this term, the latest coming at the Czech Darts Open three weeks ago, therefore he heads to Blackpool in confident mood.
Simon Whitlock vs John Henderson
Simon Whitlock aims to kick-start his 2019 season when he takes on John Henderson for a place in the second round at the Winter Gardens.
'The Wizard' was omitted from this year's Premier League and has struggled for form throughout the last six months - the exception being his run to the final of the German Darts Grand Prix in April.
The two-time Matchplay semi-finalist is averaging 91.63 for the season - which places him 59th on that particular table.
He faces a tough task against the 'The Highlander', although Blackpool hasn't been a happy hunting ground for the Scot. Henderson has only recorded one win in four previous appearances, with his sole victory coming way back in 2011.
Daryl Gurney vs Ricky Evans
Daryl Gurney kicks off his battle for a third major PDC title against debutant Ricky Evans, who qualifies as the second-highest ranked Pro Tour qualifier.
'Rapid Ricky' is one of seven debutants in this year's field and his appearance in two European Tour finals since last September has been the catalyst for his qualification.
Gurney has struggled for consistency throughout 2019, but he did reach the Premier League semi-finals in May and he also claimed the German Darts Championship title in March - defeating Evans in the final.
Nevertheless, Evans has the edge over the world No 3 in terms of their head-to-head record. He's won four of their seven meetings, including their solitary televised clash at last year's European Championship.
Peter Wright vs Vincent van der Voort
Peter Wright begins his bid for a fourth consecutive PDC title against Vincent van der Voort in the final first-round tie at the Winter Gardens.
'Snakebite' is currently enjoying an 18-game unbeaten run after scooping three titles in the space of five days last week, therefore he heads to Blackpool in confident mood.
Van der Voort is making his first Matchplay appearance since 2016 having reached four Pro Tour quarter-finals in 2019 thus far - his best run of form for over 18 months.
The Dutchman has never gone beyond the quarter-finals of this event, whilst Wright is the only player in the bottom half of the draw to have reached a World Matchplay final. The pair also met in last week's Players Championship 19, with Wright running out an emphatic 6-1 winner.
The World Matchplay continues live on Sky Sports, with every dart from every session in Blackpool at the Winter Gardens. We'll be bringing you all the action right through until the final on Sunday, July 28th.