Betfred World Matchplay - memorable moments

Phil Taylor (PDC)

The 2024 Betfred World Matchplay takes place from July 13-21 at Blackpool's Winter Gardens, as the sport's biggest names compete for the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy.

This year's extravaganza will see the likes of world number one Luke Humphries and Premier League champion Luke Littler battling it out for the £200,000 top prize across nine days at the Empress Ballroom, with seven former champions also in action.

The most successful player in World Matchplay history is the aforementioned Phil Taylor, who won an incredible 16 titles during his glittering career, and only ever lost eight times in the event.

Taylor took victories in 1995 and 1997 before embarking on a five-year unbeaten run from 2000-2004, in a period of unprecedented dominance across the sport.

The Stoke-on-Trent icon added an eighth triumph in 2006, before then being unbeaten from 2008-2014 as he scooped seven consecutive titles at the Winter Gardens.

Taylor’s farewell event in 2017 saw him bow out of the World Matchplay in fitting style, as he claimed a 16th success, overcoming Peter Wright in the final.

Dutch star Michael van Gerwen is the most successful player in this year's World Matchplay field, following up back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016 with an epic victory in 2022, jut weeks after he underwent an arm operation.

Rod Harrington is the event’s only other multiple winner, having been a back-to-back champion in 1998 and 1999 as both finals - against Ronnie Baxter and Peter Manley respectively - went to a tie-break.

Gary Anderson is the only other player to have won the World Matchplay in a tie-break, after edging out Mensur Suljovic 21-19 in their epic 2018 decider in Blackpool.

The inaugural World Matchplay champion 30 years ago was Larry Butler, as the American enjoyed the greatest day of his career by defeating Dennis Priestley in the final.

Priestley was also a runner-up in the next two years, losing out to Taylor before then seeing Peter Evison deny him World Matchplay glory in 1996.

Colin Lloyd’s 2005 triumph over John Part was sealed with a spectacular 170 checkout, while James Wade won his first TV title in the 2007 tournament - with the left-hander also being the beaten finalist on five other occasions in Blackpool.

Rob Cross claimed the spoils title at the Winter Gardens, after launching an incredible semi-final comeback against Daryl Gurney, before racing into an 8-0 lead in the final as he saw off a spirited Michael Smith.

Dimitri Van den Bergh’s 2020 triumph against Anderson came in the unique behind closed-doors setting of Milton Keynes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Belgian was also the runner-up in a strong title defence in 2021, only to see Wright average 106 in a sensational display as he erased the memories of his 2017 loss to finally lift the Phil Taylor Trophy.

There have also been eight perfect legs produced in this event, with Taylor landing the first nine-darter in a televised PDC event in the 2002 edition, before repeating his heroics in 2014.

Raymond van Barneveld and John Part also achieved perfection in 2010 and 2011 respectively, before Van Gerwen and Wes Newton crashed in nine-darters in consecutive days during the 2012 tournament.

Anderson landed his perfect leg in a thrilling quarter-final against Joe Cullen in 2018, while Gerwyn Price was the last player to hit a nine-darter at this event, delivering the goods in his semi-final success against Danny Noppert in 2022.

As we build up to the showpiece event of the darting summer, we've picked out some of the most memorable moments in World Matchplay history, which you can view below...