28 Jul, 2020

Team Target's six players earned a total of £120,000 in ranking money from this year's World Matchplay, including two very serious challenges for the title in Milton Keynes. There were some hugely encouraging displays, especially from Gabriel Clemens on debut, but there were also disappointments.

Rob Cross

Result: first round defeat, 8-10 Gabriel Clemens

Previous best: Champion (2019)

New world ranking: 5 (down one place)

The signs were good for "Voltage", who played well and hit a nine darter at the Summer Series, but it just did not happen for him in the defence of his World Matchplay title.

Despite dragging his average up to almost 95 after making a dreadful start against Gabriel Clemens, it was nowhere near the standards we have become accustomed to seeing from the reigning European Champion. Cross is still in a transitional period, working on his fitness and adjusting to new darts, but this will go down as a major disappointment after winning the Phil Taylor trophy the previous year.

Nathan Aspinall

Result: first round defeat, 5-10 Dimtiri Van den Bergh

Previous best: last 32 (2019)

World ranking: 6 (no change)

"The Asp" is still searching for his first Matchplay win, after running into another superb first round display for the second year running. Dimitri Van den Bergh proved that it was no fluke, as he continued to play at that level throughout the week to join Nathan in becoming a PDC major winner. This may be some consolation, or it may only make Nathan think it was a missed opportunity to add the Matchplay trophy to his collection.

However, with no money to defend (he did not compete in the tournament two years ago), Aspinall's ranking remains unchanged - and he will still be among the favourites going into any event held in the coming months.

Adrian Lewis

Result: Quarter-finals (defeated 16-12 by Van den Bergh)

Previous best: Final (2013)

World ranking: 16 (down two places)

Perhaps the biggest winner from Team Target over the course of this year's World Matchplay, "Jackpot" produced tantalising glimpses of his best during the tournament.

Victories over Steve Beaton and Danny Noppert saw him playing fluently and averaging close to 100, and he threatened to pull-off a superb fightback in the quarters against the eventual champion Van den Bergh.

Adrian seems to have benefitted from his fitness regime during lockdown, and this year's Matchplay was his best in three years.

He may have been overtaken in the rankings by a couple of players, but if "Jackpot" recaptures his title-winning best, then a return to the top ten beckons.

Glen Durrant

Result: Semi-finals (17-15 defeat to Van den Bergh)

Previous best: Semi-final (2019)

New world ranking: 13 (up two places)

Yet again the grittiest, most determined player in the sport produced more stunning displays in a major event, but walks away without the title.

"Duzza" signalled his intent in round one with the second-highest average of the entire tournament (106.93 in a 10-3 defeat of Jeffrey de Zwaan), and then took out World Champion Peter Wright.

His comeback against Vincent van der Voort in the quarter-finals to win a tie-break will go down as one of the great Matchplay victories, but the semis proved to be a bridge too far - just as it did on his debut last year.

A narrow 17-15 loss to the eventual winner denied Glen a spot in his first PDC final - the fourth time he has lost at the penultimate hurdle since switching from the BDO. It seems improbable, however, that he will continue to miss out whilst playing at such a world class level.

All he needs now is a little bit of luck.

Ricky Evans

Result: first round defeat (5-10 Daryl Gurney)

Previous best: last 32 (2019)

New world ranking: 26 (up one place)

"Rapid" suffered a second successive first round exit to the same player, Daryl Gurney, and will be hoping that the Northern Irishman does not stand in his way in any future Matchplay campaigns.

Once again Ricky was in the game, but was unable to convert his opportunities in the final session of the match.

This one may hurt a little more than his debut the previous year, especially as Gurney was not at his best.

A rise of one place up the world rankings shows Ricky is moving in the right direction, but for the fastest thrower in the sport, he may wish his ascent was happening a little more quickly.

Gabriel Clemens

Result: last 16 (10-12 defeat to Krzysztof Rajajski)

Previous best: Debut

New world ranking: 36 (up four places)

As debuts go, this was not a bad one for the newest member of Team Target. The "German Giant" ended Rob Cross's title defence in a game where both men seemed a little nervy, but he showed his capabilities in a thrilling second round tie against Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski, only losing a high quality game in a tie-break.

The man from Saarland is patient - he is not expecting big things to happen overnight, but he has all the ingredients to explode into the big time with a very deep run at a major event.

Prior to the tournament, Gabriel had made more ranking finals than this year's new Matchplay Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, and having seen what the young Belgian has achieved in Milton Keynes, he will hopefully realise that he is capable of doing the same.

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