Best TV run: 2017 Grand Slam of Darts quarter-final, three times BDO World Champion
Betfred tournament odds: 40/1
First round opponent: Adrian Lewis
To call Durrant a debutant - well I feel rather reluctant about it. But as he only changed at the start of the year to the PDC he gives his debut in more or less all PDC tournaments.
Durrant started to play darts in 1985 and 2004 took for the first time part in the Winmau World Masters. Similar to many other tournaments he took part in those years he was not successful. It only changed in 2015 for whatever reasons. 2015 he for the first time reached the semi-finals of the BDO World Championship, won the World Masters and the Zuiderduin Masters and moved up to the first place of the BDO ranking. 2016 he loses in the quarterfinals of the BDO World Championship. He accepts the invitation to the Grand Slam and plays himself into the quarterfinals. As he feels rather positive about the PDC rumors start he might change. But Durrant stays with the BDO, defends his World Masters title and the Zuiderduin Masters title. He wins the BDO World Championship 2017 and now is the dominant player in the BDO. Again he is invited to the Grand Slam and again there are rumors he will switch but for Durrant it is more important to defend his World Champion title. Durrant succeeds but again stays in the BDO. 2019 he for the third time wins the BDO World Champion title and this time he really changes. He takes part in Qualifying School, wins a tour Card and has already won two Players Championships on the Pro Tour this year.
Almost at the same time as Durrant switches to the PDC he switches his sponsor as well and is now with Target. All in all the now full time pro player seems to be very happy he now plays in the PDC.
Durrant is a very consistent player you never can write off and of course he would love to impress in a big major stage event. His first round opponent Adrian Lewis on the other side is a very inconsistent player though it looks his form is getting better again. Should the "real" Adrian Lewis" appear in the first round match it could get difficult for Durrant. Otherwise I would say "advantage Durrant". In the second round probably Michael van Gerwen will await him.
Best TV run: 2016 Grand Slam of Darts last 16
Betfred tournament odds: 66/1
First round opponent: Michael Smith
As Glen Durrant Jamie Hughes is an experienced BDO player. He started to play darts when he was ten and joined the BDO 2007. In between he qualified for the UK Open 2012 but lost in the Preliminary Round. 2014 Hughes reached the final of the Winmau World Masters and wins the Zuiderduin Masters. 2015 he gave his debut in the BDO World Championship and lost first round to Glen Durrant. But all in all 2015 was quite a good year for Yozza. He is nominated for the English Nation Team and wins with the team the WDF World Cup. 2016 he plays himself in the semi-finals of the BDO World Championship and wins with the national team the WDF Europe Cup. He reaches the semi-finals of the Winmau World Masters and is invited to the Grand Slam where he reached the last 16. There he lost to Chris Dobey. He again stands in the semifinals of the BDO World Championship 2017 and wins the Isle of Man Classic. In the BDO World Championship 2018 he is defeated first round against Michael Unterbuchner and decides to switch to the PDC. He doesn't manage to get a tour Card and plays the Challenge Tour where he wins one event. 2019 Hughes again takes part in Qualifying School - this time with success. Already in Q School he impressed with high averages which from now on he plays in most tournaments. But he's not yet able to keep them up throughout a complete tournament. The first time he manages it is the European Tour event in the Czech Republic which he wins. By this win he qualifies "last minute" for the World Matchplay.
Hughes first choice in sport was football and as a youth he was a talented defender. But then he got a set darts from his uncle who found them and Hughes changed to darts.
Hughes has with Michael Smith a difficult first round opponent - but might be not, should Smith battle with his doubles go on. Should Smith still need so many attempts to hit his doubles as recently Hughes has a good chance to progress. And he his chances to survive round two where Max Hopp or Dave Chisnall would be his opponent don't look bad either.
Best TV run: 2016 Grand Slam of Darts quarter-final, 2018 Players Championship Finals quarter-final
Betfred tournament odds: 125/1
First round opponent: Rob Cross
I almost can't believe Chris Dobey hasn't played yet in the World Matchplay. The young player seems to be ever-present by now.
Dobey started his career 2013 in the BDO. 2014 he reached the last 32 of the Winmau World Masters and defeated on his way in the first round German Martin Schindler. 2015 he takes part in Qualifying School and gets a Tour Card by the ranking. In the same year he for the first time in among the last 16 in a Pro Tour event, takes part in his first European Tour event and qualifies for the World Series of Darts final. 2016 he plays several European Tour Events, stand in one Players Championship final, plays the Grand Slam of Darts - where he reaches the quarterfinals - and the Players Championships Final. He qualifies for the PDC World Championship 2017 reaching the second round. 2017 was not as good for Dobey but at least he managed to qualify for the PDC World Championship 2018 where he was Phil Taylor's last first round opponent. He stood among the last 16 of the UK open, in the final of two Players Championships and in the quarterfinals of the Players Championship Finals. 2019 he again takes part in the PDC World Championship and plays himself among the last 16. He is invited as one of the contenders to the Premier League and manages a draw against Mensur Suljovic. For the first time Dobey stands in the final of an European Tour event.
Gary Anderson was several years Dobey's mentor. Dobey always wanted to play on the World Matchplay stage.
Chris Dobey to be sure will not be an easy first round opponent for Rob Cross. It looks Cross gets closer to his best form but at the moment his are not really consistent. It might turn out to be an advantage for Cross that he already has some experience on the Blackpool stage.
Best TV run: 2018 Players Championship Finals semi-final
Betfred tournament odds: 200/1
First round opponent: Gary Anderson
Danny Noppert is another former BDO player who gives his debut on the Blackpool stage. Noppert appeared 2013 out from nowhere in the quarterfinals of the Winmau World Masters. Before he had only taken part in tournaments in the Netherlands. 2015 he won several tournaments - the Scottish Open, the Masters of Wregem, the German Open, the Four Nations - and stood in the quarterfinals of the BDO World Trophy. By this he got an invitation to the Grand Slam and reached the last 8. Noppert gives he debut in the BDO World Championship 2017 and reached the final but lost to Glen Durrant. After that he only played a few events in 2017 but won the Zuiderduin Masters. 2018 he took part in Qualifying School and gets a Tour Card as first in the ranking. Noppert played with some success on the European Tour. In autumn he wins in Dublin one of the two Players Championships before the World Grand Prix and reaches the semifinals of two other Pro Tour events. In 2019 he again reached two semi-finals on the Pro Tour.
Noppert's big problem is motivation. His problem to motivate himself ended in his break in 2017. Might be he overcame the problem by joining the PDC.
Noppert's first round opponent is the reigning champion Gary Anderson. Not really a good precondition for successful debut. But Anderson didn't play a lot recently due to his back problems though he is known that he is quite capable to win tournaments from nowhere. And both players share the problem with motivation.