We're finally back with some REAL PDC darts action, after the money-making venture known as the World Cup of Darts. The Premier League and UK Open feel like an eternity ago, but now the 2014 World Matchplay is here, and it's one of the best events of the year. It's essentially the best of the best, and there are a lot of interesting matches coming up in the first round, not least Stephen Bunting returning to the TV stage against Peter Wright. There are, of course, a lot of other matches that capture the imagination, but Bunting's going to be getting a lot of column inches.
Michael van Gerwen heads the field, but he's going to be pushed all the way, as a lot of the field are hitting form at the right time - we have a resurgent Simon Whitlock and James Wade, Jamie Caven is picking up big wins and Gary Anderson is looking dangerous. Plus, the World Matchplay tends to throw up some big shocks- Blackpool can be unforgiving to some players and can be a great place for others.
Tonight we have four matches, with Ian White and Terry Jenkins starting us off, then Simon Whitlock will face Kevin Painter. Bookies' favourite Michael van Gerwen is up next against Steve Beaton, and the night is capped off by James Wade and Andy Smith.
As usual, for the entire tournament I will be running the Premier Picks service, which you can sign up for at any time of the tournament for the low cost of £10. Just click on the link below and follow the process.