THE RACE to qualify for the BetVictor World Matchplay took another twist with last weekend’s Players Championship action in Milton Keynes.

The summer’s biggest tournament will see a 32-player field competing from July 21-29 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, with a £500,000 prize fund on offer in the prestigious event.

The top 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit will qualify by right for the World Matchplay, and will be joined by 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.

With exactly two months to go before the tournament gets under way, last weekend saw two Players Championship events held at Arena MK in Milton Keynes as Josh Payne took a huge stride towards making a second Blackpool appearance of his career.

Payne (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

The Kent thrower clinched the £10,000 prize with a narrow victory over Peter Wright in the final to close the gap on Jelle Klaasen, who remains in the last ProTour qualifying place.

Gabriel Clemens was another big mover in the race to play on the famous Winter Gardens stage, as he reached Saturday’s final, while Brendan Dolan continued his return to form with a quarter-final and a semi-final over the two days.

Dolan (Lawrence Lustig, PDC)

The 16 ProTour Qualifiers will be joined by the top 16 players on the PDC Order of Merit, both as of July 2, 2018.

Players will compete in three European Tour events and four Players Championship events before that date, starting with the Gibraltar Darts Trophy from June 8-10.

Tickets, hospitality packages and Thomas Cook Sport Breaks at the 2018 BetVictor World Matchplay are available now. Click here for more information.

Provisional PDC Order of Merit for BetVictor World Matchplay Cut-Off (after Players Championship 12):

Order of Merit (PDC)

Provisional ProTour Order of Merit for BetVictor World Matchplay Cut-Off (after Players Championship 12):

ProTour Rankings (PDC)