The King Targets Blackpool Place

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The final two days of the fifth PDC Super Series conclude on Wednesday and Thursday, and stakes still remain high for all the arrowsmiths involved.

Mervyn King

The prize money stands at Β£75,000 per event but those rankings points will be crucial in determining the final 32-player field for the World Matchplay, which gets underway on 18 July.

A total of 128 players will compete in each event in Coventry, with 110 PDC Tour Card holders topped up by Associate Members.

Monday’s opening event was won by Stephen Bunting, who defeated Dimitri van den Bergh in the final to end a five-year PDC title drought, before Chris Dobey claimed his maiden ranking title in Tuesday’s spectacle with victory over Jose de Sousa.

Winter Gardens the Prize on Offer

For many involved in the PDC Super Series, this will just be important match practice ahead of the upcoming World Matchplay, but for some it means more than that.

The likes of Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright are assured of their place in Blackpool alongside their other top-16 counterparts on the PDC Order of Merit.

But the final 16 players at Winter Gardens will feature the top-16 players on the ProTour Order of Merit, providing they have not already qualified courtesy of their lofty ranking.

There are still many connotations but Bunting has assured himself of a spot in Blackpool alongside fellow Order of Merit qualifiers Devon Petersen, Luke Humphries and Mensur Suljovic after scooping the top prize at Players Championship 17.

The draw for the final two events will play a big part and even those big-hitters that have already qualified for the Matchplay will be eyeing a deep run in Coventry in order to raise their spirits.

Keep an Eye on King

Mervyn King looks sure to be one of those ProTour Order of Merit players competing at the World Matchplay and he appears to be heading to Blackpool at the top of his game.

The King has enjoyed a resurgence in 2021, culminating with a run to the final of the Masters in January, and he is continuing where he left off.

The 55-year-old made the quarter-finals of the opening two events in Coventry, winning his first four games on each occasion before twice bumping into red-hot Portuguese Jose de Sousa.

King’s scalps this week have included John Henderson, Jonny Clayton. Adrian Lewis, Devon Petersen and Vincent van der Voort and he is a player to take seriously in the final two events.

He gets his Players Championship 19 tilt underway against Andrew Gilding, who he beat in the first round of Monday’s event, and that possesses a winnable opportunity. He is a lively outsider worth considering for Wednesday’s event.

Barney Back on Song

Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld regained his PDC Tour Card in February, just over a year after retiring from darts, and the fire is still very much burning inside.

Coming through Q-School appears to have sparked Barney into life and he has shown plenty of promise in Coventry this week.

Barney made the quarter-finals of event 17, where he bumped into eventual champion Bunting.

Prior to that, the 54-year-old had recorded wins over Justin Pipe, Devon Petersen, Jamie Hughes and Dobey, who won the following event, which shows he is evidently playing well.

Van Barneveld fell at the first hurdle of event 18 to Ron Meulenkamp but he should have few problems in Wednesday’s opener against compatriot Berry van Peer, who has lost his last eight matches and is struggling for confidence.

Barney, yet to secure his place at the Winter Gardens, will be eyeing a deep run in one of the final two events and is a big-priced player worth considering for the titles.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Aaron is Mr Versatile – he covers all sports but with a particular passion for football, tennis and snooker.

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