RACE TO THE MATCHPLAY: James Wilson among five players set to make debuts at Blackpool next month

By Alex Moss
20 JUNE 2017 • 8:30PM

James Wilson, Cristo Reyes, Steve West, Christian Kist and Rob Cross are all in line to make their debuts at the BetVictor World Matchplay next month.

With four events to go before the cut off for this year’s event, the quintet are all well placed to qualify through the Pro Tour Order of Merit.

The leading 16 players on the Pro Tour Order of Merit, who are outside of the top 16 of the main PDC Order of Merit, following Players Championship 16 on July 9 will be guaranteed places in this year’s World Matchplay.

Spain’s Reyes, who pushed world number one Michael van Gerwen close in the William Hill World Darts Championship last December, has yet to grace the Winter Gardens stage since joining the PDC circuit in 2015.

But the Spaniard, currently ranked 30th on the PDC Order of Merit, is set to be the fifth of 16 qualifiers from the Pro Tour Order of Merit.

In-form Cross has enjoyed a remarkable start to life on the main PDC circuit this year and has already won two Players Championship titles in 2017.

Already on the brink of breaking into the PDC’s top 50, world number 51 Cross is set to make his World Matchplay debut as the sixth qualifier from the Pro Tour Order of Merit.

West is likely to be another Blackpool debutant this year, with the world number 39 having enjoyed runs to finals, semi-finals and quarter-finals on the Pro Tour during the last 12 months.

The 42-year-old made a memorable debut in the World Grand Prix last year, knocking out 16-time world champion Phil Taylor in the first round, and he will be hoping to make his mark in Blackpool next month.

Former BDO number one Wilson is also on the cusp of a place at the Winter Gardens, and is currently set to be the 11th player to qualify through the Pro Tour Order of Merit.

Wilson finished 2016 strongly, making a final as well as several other semi-finals and quarter-finals on the Players Championship circuit to qualify for the World Grand Prix and World Championship.

And now he appears to be on course to make his debut at another PDC major this summer, with a recent semi-final on the Pro Tour further enhancing his chances of qualifying for the World Matchplay.

Former BDO world champion Kist is the fifth player who looks set to be playing in the World Matchplay for the first time this year.

The Dutchman reached the final of Players Championship 17 at the back end of last season and has since continued to pick up prize money in the floor events.

PDC Order of Merit (Only top 16 qualify) (as of June 18, 2017)

Pos  Player Prize Money
1 Michael van Gerwen £1,720,250
2 Gary Anderson £759,000
3 Peter Wright £666,000
4 Adrian Lewis £389,500
5 James Wade £370,000
6 Dave Chisnall £362,000
7 Mensur Suljovic £342,500
8 Phil Taylor £324,250
9 Jelle Klaasen £322,500
10 Raymond van Barneveld £319,500
11 Michael Smith £299,500
12 Kim Huybrechts £289,500
13 Ian White £288,750
14 Robert Thornton £277,750
15 Benito van de Pas £264,000
16 Simon Whitlock £249,250
17 Daryl Gurney £236,500
18 Gerwyn Price £236,250
19 Alan Norris £233,750
20 Mervyn King £175,500

PDC Pro Tour Order of Merit (Excluding players already in the top 16 of the PDC Order of Merit) (Only top 16 qualify) (as of June 18, 2017)

Pos  Player Prize Money
1 Alan Norris £74,000
2 Daryl Gurney £72,750
3 Gerwyn Price £59,000
4 Joe Cullen £57,250
5 Cristo Reyes £55,000
6 Rob Cross £54,750
7 Stephen Bunting £50,000
8 Mervyn King £47,500
9 Steve Beaton £47,000
10 Steve West £41,750
11 James Wilson £41,250
12 Kyle Anderson £38,250
13 Christian Kist £33,500
14 Darren Webster £33,250
15 Ronny Huybrechts £31,500
16 John Henderson £30,750
17 Justin Pipe £30,000
18 Chris Dobey £29,750
19 Jonny Clayton £29,500
20 Robbie Green £29,000


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