GARY ANDERSON will begin the defence of his Betfred World Matchplay title against Danny Noppert, while Michael van Gerwen will face Steve Beaton in the opening round of the summer’s biggest darts event.
Anderson overcame Mensur Suljovic in an epic final to claim glory in 2018, and the Scot’s bid to retain the Phil Taylor Trophy will start against Dutchman Noppert.
Two-time World Matchplay Champion Van Gerwen will be hoping to end his three-year wait for a third Blackpool title, and the world number one will take on Steve Beaton in a repeat of their memorable 2012 Winter Gardens clash which saw Van Gerwen hit a nine-dart finish.
2007 champion Wade is the only other previous winner in the field and he will play rising Dutch star Jeffrey de Zwaan, who returns to the scene of his incredible big-stage breakthrough of 12 months ago which saw him reach the semi-finals.
Glen Durrant will be one of the players taking to the famous Winter Gardens stage for the first time, and he will take on 2013 runner-up Adrian Lewis.
Like Durrant, Jamie Hughes will also be making his World Matchplay debut after just over six months on the PDC tour, and he will play Michael Smith, who will be looking to make it past the last 16 stage for the first time.
Last year’s runner-up Suljovic will begin his quest to go one better in 2019 against rapid-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena, while world number two Rob Cross meets Chris Dobey, who is among seven debutants.
Newly-crowned US Darts Masters Champion Nathan Aspinall will be targeting a hat-trick of televised titles in 2019, with his first-round assignment seeing him take on Mervyn King.
Elsewhere, Peter Wright will face Vincent van der Voort, Gerwyn Price plays Stephen Bunting and Daryl Gurney comes up against Ricky Evans.
2019 Betfred World Matchplay
(1)Michael van Gerwen v Steve Beaton(16) Adrian Lewis v Glen Durrant(8) James Wade v Jeffrey de Zwaan
(9) Mensur Suljovic v Jermaine Wattimena
(5) Michael Smith v Jamie Hughes
(12) Dave Chisnall v Max Hopp
(4) Gary Anderson v Danny Noppert
(13) Nathan Aspinall v Mervyn King
(2) Rob Cross v Chris Dobey
(15) Darren Webster v Krzysztof Ratajski
(7) Gerwyn Price v Stephen Bunting
(10) Ian White v Joe Cullen
(6) Peter Wright v Vincent van der Voort
(11) Simon Whitlock v John Henderson
(3) Daryl Gurney v Ricky Evans
(14) Jonny Clayton v Keegan Brown
Written by Josh Phillips