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Taylor drawn against qualifier at World Matchplay

ESPN staff
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Phil Taylor has not been beaten at the World Matchplay since 2007 © PA Photos
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Phil Taylor will begin his quest for a 15th PDC World Matchplay crown against Darren Webster in July, while top seed Michael van Gerwen will face the in-form Steve Beaton in the first round at Blackpool's Winter Gardens.

The draw was made following the conclusion of the Gibraltar Darts Trophy and Taylor, chasing a seventh successive Matchplay title, will open against qualifier Webster.

Van Gerwen, who recently admitted to ESPN that he wants to win every PDC major, will have a stiff test after Beaton finished runner-up to James Wade in the final of the Gibraltar trophy on Sunday. The Dutchman threw the tournament's fourth nine-dart finish against Beaton in their last 16 encounter in 2012.

Third seed Adrian Lewis, who lost last year's final to Taylor, faces Andrew Gilding while Gibraltar winner Wade will play the 'Pieman' Andy Smith in the first round. Wade is the only other player in the 32-man field other than Taylor to have won the Matchplay; he beat Terry Jenkins in the 2007 final.

Fourth seed Simon Whitlock will open with a tasty encounter against Kevin Painter and current Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld will play his fellow Dutchman Vincent van der Voort.

World Championship runner-up Peter Wright plays PDC newcomer Stephen Bunting, who has made the Matchplay draw only six months after switching codes from the BDO.

Gary Anderson plays Jamie Caven and 14th seed Mervyn King's first round match is against Belgian star Kim Huybrechts.

One player who misses the action in Blackpool is 2005 champion and former world No.1 Colin Lloyd, who failed to qualify for the event for the first time in 15 years.

World Matchplay first round draw (Seeds in brackets):

Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton
Ian White (16) v Terry Jenkins
Andy Hamilton (8) v Wayne Jones
Dave Chisnall (9) v Dean Winstanley
James Wade (5) v Andy Smith
Brendan Dolan (12) v Richie Burnett
Simon Whitlock (4) v Kevin Painter
Raymond van Barneveld (13) v Vincent van der Voort
Phil Taylor (2) v Darren Webster
Justin Pipe (15) v Michael Smith
Robert Thornton (7) v Paul Nicholson
Wes Newton (10) v Ronnie Baxter
Peter Wright (6) v Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson (11) v Jamie Caven
Adrian Lewis (3) v Andrew Gilding
Mervyn King (14) v Kim Huybrechts

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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