The visit of top PDC darts stars to Millwall Football Club has been moved to a new date.
Premier League Darts aces James Wade and Michael van Gerwen are still heading to do battle in Millwall, but will appear a couple of weeks later than originally planned.
The Millwall Masters will now take place on 12 September, and will feature world number two van Gerwen and Wade, who is ranked fourth, alongside three more top players.
Also on show are the charismatic trio of former World Champions Ted Hankey and Andy Fordham and former Players Champion Paul Nicholson.
Wade is the second most successful player in PDC history, having won seven major titles, while van Gerwen, the 2013 Premier League champion, is widely tipped to be a dominant force in darts for years to come.
The event will see four local qualifiers given the chance to take on the professionals. Details of how to qualify will be announced in due course.
World Grand Prix winner van Gerwen, who was a guest of honour at a Millwall home game last season, said: “I’m really looking forward to this event.
“I’m a big football fan and enjoyed visiting the club. I’m looking forward to coming back to show everyone what I do best in what is going to be a great night.
“The line-up for the event is fantastic. We are all players that would expect to meet in the quarters and semi-finals of major tournaments so fans are in for a treat.
“We will put on a good show and I hope the qualifiers will be ready because we will all be out to win!”
The date change is due to unforeseen professional commitments. Customers that have already purchased tickets are advised to contact MODUS Sports Management on 08450 180 180 or original place of purchase.
Tickets for the Millwall Masters are available from www.dartshop.tv / 08450 180 180 or from the box office 0207 740 0504.
Paul Nicholson led the MODUS charge in Wigan by reaching the final of the third Players Championship event of the year on Saturday.
Premier League star Robert Thornton also enjoyed a good run before bowing out at the semi-final stage at Robin Park Tennis Centre.
Both were denied potential glory by eventual winner Jamie Caven.
Nicholson won through to his second Pro Tour final of the year, kicking off with wins against promising youngster Chris Aubrey and Germany’s Jerry Hendriks.
The Australian ace then swept past three experienced opponents in Steve Beaton, Mervyn King and Mark Walsh, before defeating Michael Mansell to reach the last four.
There, he recorded an impressive victory over world number ten Justin Pipe but was edged out by Caven in the final.
Thornton began his campaign for a third title in Wigan this year with early successes against Jason Marriot, Darron Brown and Darren Webster.
The Scotsman defeated Andy Smith to reach the quarter-finals, where he saw off the great Dennis Priestley.
Thornton, who was denied a final spot by Caven, will be looking to continue his strong form on Sunday as he bids to grace the top ten in the PDC Order of Merit for the first time.
By Chris Murphy
Michael van Gerwen won the first ever Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters, completing an amazing week with an excellent 11-7 final victory over Raymond van Barneveld on Thursday evening.
‘Mighty Mike’, who has also triumphed in the Premier League and European Masters in the last eight days, produced stunning finishes of 164 and 170 to cap a fine string of performances.
The Dutch ace had defeated Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton to set up a last two clash with compatriot van Barneveld.
“There was a little payback there because Raymond beat me in the Grand Slam, but I always enjoy playing him and it was a great final,” van Gerwen told the PDC’s official website.
“I think, with all the conditions, I played very well and put in some great averages and hit the 170 finish and 164 finish at good moments in the final so that was important to make me the champion.”
James Wade had become the first PDC player to win a professional game outdoors when he defeated Simon Whitlock in a thrilling quarter-final match on Thursday.
But ‘The Machine’ was denied a place in the final by ‘Barney’.
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn has revealed that the tournament will return to Dubai in 2014.
He said: “We’re looking forward to building on this because the crowd have created a fantastic atmosphere.
“We’ve had over 5,000 fans visit the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium for the tournament and millions watching around the world, and I’m sure we can sell out next year’s event.”
By Chris Murphy
Michael van Gerwen defeated Phil Taylor to win the McCoy’s Premier League at London’s O2 Arena on Thursday, while James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld bowed out at the semi-final stage.
Dutch ace van Gerwen avenged January’s World Championship final defeat to ‘The Power’ with a thrilling victory over the world number one.
The 24-year-old prevailed by ten legs to eight and sealed the biggest win of his career with a spectacular 132 finish, completing the three-dart combination on the bull.
“I’m so happy to win this Premier League and it is a dream come true,” said ‘Mighty Mike’, who clinched his second PDC major title after winning October’s World Grand Prix.
“It was important for me to get this win after losing to Phil at the World Championships. I was a bit sick about that but this was my night, my tournament.
van Gerwen trailed six-time and defending champion Taylor 5-2 before putting together a brilliant run of five consecutive legs to take charge of the final.
The 16-time World Champion hit back though as he broke van Gerwen’s throw before the youngster declined a shot at the bull, only for Taylor to produce a stunning 160 checkout.
With parity restored at seven legs apiece, world number two van Gerwen responded with one of his nine 180s before pegging double top to edge back ahead.
He then broke Taylor’s throw to close in on victory but missed two match darts at double eight in the following leg, allowing his opponent to keep the match alive.
But van Gerwen ensured victory before the prospect of a deciding leg when he produced a sensational 132 finish to clinch the £150,00 first prize and title of 2013 Premier League Champion.
He added: “Phil started off really well but being 5-2 down probably took a little bit of pressure off me and I settled down after the break.
“I was gutted when I missed the two darts at double eight but that didn’t matter when I hit that bull to win.
“I’m so proud. I have loved every minute of this Premier League and to win it like that, by beating the greatest player ever in the final, is very special.”
van Gerwen had ended 2009 champion Wade’s chances of winning his eighth major title with an 8-4 semi-final success over ‘The Machine’.
Wade said after the defeat: “I wasn’t good enough and Michael was. That’s the story of it.
“I missed too many doubles and he punished me for being messy.”
By Chris Murphy
Images courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Wade, a former winner of the £520,000 tournament, meets ‘Mighty Mike’ who topped the table in his debut season, as the 14 week elite darts showcase reaches its climax at London’s O2 Arena.
Raymond van Barneveld takes on defending champion Phil Taylor in the other clash of a semi-final line-up that is identical to the last four stage of January’s World Championship.
Seven-time PDC major title winner Wade believes that the tournament, which he won in 2009, is there for the taking.
“I really don’t think anyone can confidently pick a winner this year,” said ‘The Machine’.
“You’ve got four quality players, who are all capable of fantastic things so it’s all on the night.
“Michael van Gerwen is playing brilliant but we’ve had some close games recently. I’ll just concentrate on my own game and I know I what I can do.
“His strength his scoring and mine is finishing so I hope we both go up and play our best games because it could be something really great.
“I want to win a couple of majors this year and I’m hoping the first one comes my way on Thursday.”
World number two van Gerwen is chasing his second televised success in the PDC after losing two major finals since winning the World Grand Prix in October.
He said: “I want to win this Premier League. Finishing first in the table was a nice thing for me but now I have to follow it up.
“I have two more matches hopefully and I need to win them both.
“Everybody keeps saying I will win a lot in the future but you never know how your form might change.
“I’m playing well now and I want to make it count now.”
van Barneveld has set his sights on reaching a first Premier League final after five unsuccessful attempts.
But the Dutchman knows he has his work cut out against a player he is yet to beat in the competition.
“I had a good chance to beat Phil Taylor in the league this year,” said ‘Barney’, the five-time World Champion.
“But maybe that wasn’t my time. I hope Thursday night is. If I play like I can then I can do it.
“Five times I have lost in the semis so to make the final, just once, would be great for me and to win the whole tournament would be a dream come true.”
Whoever does take glory on Thursday will scoop a £150,000 first prize – the second largest winners cheque on the PDC tour.
By Chris Murphy
The stars, including five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, will compete at the Nissan Sports and Leisure complex on 15 June.
Dutch legend ‘Barney’ will be joined by Australian ace and European Champion Simon Whitlock, double World Champion Ted Hankey and James Wade, winner of seven major titles.
They will battle it out, alongside local qualifiers, in the type of thrilling tournament as seen on TV as high quality darts heads to Sunderland.
“This should be a great night,” said van Barneveld, who starred in the Premier League in Newcastle last week.
“I know that fans up there are very passionate about their darts. They were amazing on Thursday and I’m looking forward to meeting the guys in Sunderland.
“I’m sure there will be some good players from the local area, who will give us a run for our money.
“It is a brilliant line up and we will all be aiming to put on a show and, most importantly, win!”
Tickets for this exciting event are available online at www.dartshop.tv or by calling 08450 180 180.
Table-topping van Gerwen needs just a point from his match against Andy Hamilton after missing the chance to cement his place in the finals, which take place at London’s O2 in a fortnight, with defeat to Whitlock last week.
The 24-year-old Dutch ace bounced back to win his fifth UK Open qualifier from the series of eight events on Sunday, however, and is determined to take that form to Merseyside.
He told the PDC’s official website: “Winning on Sunday was good preparation for me because I’ve got a couple of tough weeks ahead in the Premier League.
“Last week was disappointing for me and I don’t like losing, but it’s part of the game and you can’t win for 14 weeks in a row. I missed too many doubles but it’s a new game this week and I’ve got to make sure I win against Andy.”
Thornton will need to complete a historic double over reigning champion Phil Taylor in order to stay in contention for a play-off spot.
‘The Scotsman’, whose victory over ‘The Power’ in Brighton was his third in their last four televised meetings, would be the first player in the Premier Leagues eight year history to defeat the 16-time World Champion twice in one season should he repeat the feat in Liverpool.
‘The Thorn’ conceded that Taylor, who is looking to cement his top four position, will be out for revenge.
He’ll be out for my blood!” said Thornton.
“I’m just going to go up on stage and do my best and enjoy myself, and whatever happens will happen.
“You’ve got to thrive playing against the best players and I’ve done that for most of this season. If you don’t play at your best then they’ll run riot against you.”
Wade will qualify for the play-offs if he wins both of his matches on Thursday, as he takes on Whitlock and Hamilton, who both need wins and other results to go their way to stay in with a chance of a place in the finals.
van Barneveld faces Adrian Lewis, the only player that is mathematically out of the running for a top four finish, with the Dutchman hoping to seal his play-off place after missing out last year.
By Chris Murphy
Thornton kept up the heat on the top four with victories against Andy Hamilton and Adrian Lewis at the NIA.
“It was an important couple of wins for me,” admitted the Scotsman, who faces Phil Taylor next week in Liverpool.
“I have slipped up a bit in the last couple of weeks but I’ve kept myself in it and I’m looking forward to the challenge of reaching the play-offs.
“I’ve had the better of Phil in our last few matches so if that continues then I’ve got a great chance of closing the gap.”
Whitlock was denied a double when he lost out to Taylor after seeing off league leader van Gerwen earlier in the evening.
Raymond van Barneveld came out on top in his match against James Wade, while Lewis lost to Taylor in the other match of the night.
By Chris Murphy
Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Michael van Gerwen can secure his place at the McCoy’s Premier League play-off finals with a positive result in Birmingham, where James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld will be looking to move closer to cementing their places inside the top four.
League leader van Gerwen is hoping to celebrate his 24th birthday by obtaining the point that would guarantee his place at London’s O2 in next month’s finals night but his opponent Simon Whitlock knows the importance of securing victory to keep his own bid alive.
Whitlock, who hit a nine-dart finish in last year’s play-offs and finished as runner-up, faces a double-header against world number two van Gerwen and the highest ranked player, Phil Taylor. But ‘The Wizard’ insisted that he is not daunted by the challenge.
“I’ve got the top two players in the world rankings but I’ll be looking to do some damage,” warned Whitlock, who has claimed back-to-back victories since surviving relegation.
“I know that I can beat both of these guys but you’ve got to play one match at a time. I need to get at least six points out of my next five matches to have a chance of reaching the play-offs but I’m going in the right direction.”
Second and third place will go head to head in Birmingham as Wade and van Barneveld clash at the NIA.
After the pair shared a draw in their previous meeting, Wade is confident of getting a result against the Dutch star.
“I won’t lose to him,” said ‘The Machine’, speaking to www.pdc.tv
“We drew the last time we played and I was awful. I had gastroenteritis and hadn’t slept for two days and I still got a draw.
“He has been getting good results but I don’t think he is at his very best and I’m starting to get closer to mine so I look forward to playing him.”
Thornton takes on Stoke pair Andy Hamilton and Adrian Lewis and is looking to close the gap on the top four, or even climb back into it, after falling two points behind fourth-placed Taylor.
“My focus is on the reaching the play-offs now,” said the Scottish ace.
“That can only be achieved one game at a time though and it starts again with a tough match on Thursday.
“A win against Andy started what has been an amazing first season in the McCoy’s Premier League for me and hopefully another one can kick-start my play-off push.
“Whatever happens then I have to prepare for Adrian Lewis. It will be a difficult night but it could be a very sweet one if it goes right.”
Taylor and Lewis face each other in the evening’s other match.
By Chris Murphy
Images courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Latest League Table
|Michael van Gerwen||13||9||2||2||+27||32||99.25||20|
|Raymond van Barneveld||12||6||3||3||+10||31||98.50||15|