James Wade is aiming to end Phil Taylor’s unbeaten record in the 2012 McCoy’s Premier League, in front of a sell-out 9,000 crowd at the O2 in Dublin. ‘The Machine’ takes on ‘The Power’ on the tournament’s first visit to the Emerald Isle, where Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld are also in action, as the season reaches its halfway stage.
Wade goes into his clash with the league leader in good form, having won his last three matches, but knows he will need to be at his best to beat a rejuvenated Taylor.
“It’s coming good and I’m getting some rub of the green, but with that performances come, and hopefully the good darts will follow,” said Wade. “I don’t think I’ve ever played a bad game against Phil but he does it week-in, week-out. I’m certainly not bothered about playing him, that’s for sure.
“Phil’s going to play brilliantly but I know the way I’m playing at the moment, where I know what I’ve got in the tank that’s not coming out, that I can beat him.”
Wade and Taylor will be on stage last, after Raymond van Barneveld has done battle with defending champion Gary Anderson. ‘Barney’ enhanced his playoff chances with victory over Kevin Painter last week and he is determined to pick up another positive result in Dublin.
He said: “I didn’t play my best against Kevin but I’m getting there and I feel like I’m not far away from reproducing my very best darts. I hope that I can do that in front of a brilliant crowd in Ireland, but the most important thing is to get another win.”
Simon Whitlock, who beat Anderson in Glasgow last week, faces Andy Hamilton in the opening match of the evening. ‘The Wizard’ hopes to exact revenge on ‘The Hammer’ for his semi-final defeat at the Ladbrokes World Championship.
“He’s got the better of me a couple of times but it’s a new game this week,” said the Australian. “I’m taking it one week at a time and everything’s going pretty well so far – my scoring’s fine, I’m finishing okay and I’m second in the table.”
World champion Adrian Lewis takes on Painter in the night’s other match.
By Chris Murphy
Matches involving MODUS players
SIMON WHITLOCK v Andy Hamilton (game one)
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD v Gary Anderson (game three)
JAMES WADE v Phil Taylor (game four)