Updated on 22/08/2017 19:55
Professional Darts Corporation

World Matchplay 1996

Winter Gardens, Blackpool
From: Sunday 28 July 1996
Till: Saturday 3 August 1996
Prize money:
  1. £12,000
  2. £7,000
  3. £3,750
  4. 4d place £3,250
  5. Q/F £1,650
  6. Last 16 £925
  7. Last 32 £500
  1. Total: £48,000

The third edition of the World Matchplay was held from July 28 to August 3 in the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The first years of the World Matchplay is easily identified as the Priestley years, because after 1994 and 1995, he is in the final again in 1996. However, three times is not a charm for the likeable Yorkshire man because he loses again. This time Peter Evison the strongest.

Evison plays a very strong tournament; he beats the American 1994 Matchplay champion Larry Butler in the first round of the championship before he playes a memorable match against Taylor. Phil Taylor was be treated to a rare pounding in the second round. Evison wins 8-1 and has a for that time unprecedented average of 34.59 per dart. Evison is not troubled after that match towards the final. Sean Downs is defeated 11-3 in the quarterfinals and Jamie Harvey in the semi-finals with 13-9.

Almost all players seeded players in 1996 survive the first round, only the eighth-seeded Keith Deller loses 6-8 to Sean Downs. In the second round it is a different story. Especially the top of the schedule is stripped of its top names. Besides the loss of Taylor, John Lowe also goes out, he loses to Dennis Smith and Sean Downs beats Cliff Lazarenko.

The match of the quarterfinals is between Dennis Priestley and Rod Harrington. In a beautiful thrilling contest Priestley wins in overtime 15-13. In the semi-finals, the margin of victory for Priestley is the smallest possible again, he beats Bob Anderson 13-11. The final is one of the best ever. Evison eventually wins it 16-14 over Dennis Priestley and has an average over the 30 legs of more than 100, for that time unique. Priestley is close with an average of over 96 per throw. It will be Priestley’s last final at the World Matchplay though he does participate 17 consecutive times in this tournament in total. Peter Evison becomes the second unseeded player in history to win the World Matchplay, and to this day, he is the last one to do so.

Played finals