Betfair World Matchplay Draw
PHIL TAYLOR will begin his bid for a record-equalling fifth successive Betfair World Matchplay title, and a 13th victory in total in the Blackpool event, against Mervyn King at the Winter Gardens later this month.
Taylor, who has been the champion of the £400,000 event for the past four years, is bidding to equal his unbeaten run from 2000-2004 when he returns to Blackpool, but will play King in a tasty first round contest on Monday July 23.
Although King has dropped out of the world's top 16 this year, the Norfolk thrower reached the semi-finals of the European Darts Open event in Dusseldorf on Sunday night to show his return to top form.
2007 World Matchplay winner James Wade, who lost 18-8 to Taylor in last year's final, will play resurgent Welshman Richie Burnett in the first round on Sunday July 22, while Colin Lloyd - the 2005 champion who is the only other previous winner in the 32-man field - takes on number nine seed Mark Webster.
World Champion Adrian Lewis, the number two seed, has drawn recent Speedy Services UK Open champion Robert Thornton in the first round, with their clash being held on the opening night of the event on Saturday July 21, while world number four Gary Anderson plays PDC newcomer Dean Winstanley, who only joined the PDC circuit in January.
Wes Newton, the number five seed, drew emerging teenage star James Hubbard in the first round, with the PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion having secured qualification for the World Matchplay by reaching the quarter-finals of the European Darts Open on Sunday - an achievement which left him in tears of joy on the Dusseldorf stage.
European Darts Open winner Raymond van Barneveld meets another debutant, Michael Smith, while in-form Dave Chisnall - who has reached two successive European Tour finals - takes on Blackpool favourite Ronnie Baxter, the 1998 runner-up.
Number six seed Simon Whitlock faces Michael van Gerwen, World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton plays Brendan Dolan, two-time World Matchplay finalist Terry Jenkins drew Belgian debutant Kim Huybrechts and Kevin Painter meets Steve Beaton.
World number 12 Justin Pipe takes on another young star Joe Cullen, while Mark Walsh plays Colin Osborne, who won his place in the World Matchplay by reaching the quarter-finals, alongside Hubbard, in Dusseldorf.
Paul Nicholson meets Andy Smith, and number 16 seed Vincent van der Voort drew Stoke's Ian White, who is another new face on the Blackpool stage.
The 32-player event features the top 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit following the European Tour event, who are joined by 16 qualifiers from the ProTour Order of Merit.
The 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit are seeded for the first round and drawn against the qualifiers.
The Betfair World Matchplay will be played from July 21-29 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Tickets are still available by calling the Winter Gardens Box Office on 0844 856 1111 or by visiting www.blackpoollive.com
Watch a video of the draw being made in LIVEPDC.TV
Betfair World Matchplay
First Round Draw & Tournament Bracket
Adrian Lewis (2) v Robert Thornton
Paul Nicholson (15) v Andy Smith
Raymond van Barneveld (7) v Michael Smith
Terry Jenkins (10) v Kim Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock (6) v Michael van Gerwen
Kevin Painter (11) v Steve Beaton
James Wade (3) v Richie Burnett
Mark Walsh (14) v Colin Osborne
Phil Taylor (1) v Mervyn King
Vincent van der Voort (16) v Ian White
Andy Hamilton (8) v Brendan Dolan
Mark Webster (9) v Colin Lloyd
Wes Newton (5) v James Hubbard
Justin Pipe (12) v Joe Cullen
Gary Anderson (4) v Dean Winstanley
Dave Chisnall (13) v Ronnie Baxter
Schedule of Play
Saturday July 21
7.10pm Paul Nicholson v Andy Smith
8.00pm Terry Jenkins v Kim Huybrechts
9.00pm Adrian Lewis v Robert Thornton
10.00pm Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith
Sunday July 22
7.10pm Mark Walsh v Colin Osborne
8.00pm Kevin Painter v Steve Beaton
9.00pm James Wade v Richie Burnett
10.00pm Simon Whitlock v Michael van Gerwen
Monday July 23
7.10pm Andy Hamilton v Brendan Dolan
8.00pm Vincent van der Voort v Ian White
9.00pm Phil Taylor v Mervyn King
10.00pm Mark Webster v Colin Lloyd
Tuesday July 24
7.10pm Justin Pipe v Joe Cullen
8.00pm Wes Newton v James Hubbard
9.00pm Gary Anderson v Dean Winstanley
10.00pm Dave Chisnall v Ronnie Baxter
Wednesday July 25
7.10pm Whitlock/van Gerwen v Painter/Beaton
8.20pm Wade/Burnett v Walsh/Osborne
9.30pm van Barneveld/M Smith v Jenkins/Huybrechts
10.40pm Lewis/Thornton v Nicholson/A Smith
Thursday July 26
7.10pm Hamilton/Dolan v Webster/Lloyd
8.20pm Newton/Hubbard v Pipe/Cullen
9.30pm Taylor/King v van der Voort/White
10.40pm Anderson/Winstanley v Chisnall/Baxter
Friday July 27
Saturday July 28
Sunday July 29
First Round - Best of 19 legs
Second Round - Best of 25 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 31 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 33 legs
Final - Best of 35 legs