Wade, who has amassed seven PDC major titles to date, takes on Steve Beaton at the Citywest Hotel, as ‘The Machine’ bids to repeat the form that saw him win the unique tournament, which requires players to start and finish each leg by hitting a double, in 2007 and 2010. (more…)
The exciting event sees the return of top class darts action to Lower Hyde Holiday Park, Shanklin, which hosted the hugely successful Isle of Wight Pro Masters earlier this year. (more…)
The venue is set to hold its first ever professional darts event when Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade and Dennis Priestley appear in ‘A Night of Champions’ on Friday 18 October.
The night sees four of the best players on the planet, all of which are major title winners, go head to head, with 16-times World Champion Taylor topping the bill.
Taylor or ‘The Power’ is one of the most successful men in any sport and is undisputedly the best darts player ever to pick up an arrow, having dominated the sport for the best two decades.
The world number one is joined by perhaps his three biggest challengers historically.
Wade has amassed seven major titles, making him the second most successful player in the PDC, while van Barneveld has won the World Championship five times and Priestley twice.
And world number four Wade is delighted to be heading to Guildford.
He said: “I’m really excited about this event. It is area that hasn’t really been visited by top professional darts player so hopefully we will be well received.
“The line-up is fantastic and I’m looking forward to competing on what should be a fantastic night of top quality darts.
“We are all very competitive and will all be doing our very best to take the title of ‘Champion of Champions’.”
Tickets for the inaugural ‘A Night of Champions’ at the Guildford Spectrum are available now from the Spectrum reception (01483 443333), www.dartshop.tv (08450 180 180) or from www.ticketmasters.co.uk (0844 844 0444).
Reigning European Champion Simon Whitlock made a fine start to the defence of his title with a first round victory over Kim Huybrechts on Thursday, while there were also wins for James Wade, Robert Thornton and Raymond van Barneveld in Mulheim, Germany.
Whitlock fought off the challenge of Huybrechts in an entertaining affair, which saw the Australian ace race into a 4-1 lead before his opponent took three legs in a row to draw level.
But ‘The Wizard’ grabbed a crucial break of throw at four apiece and went on to see out the victory with a fine 110 finish.
“I’m extremely pleased to have come through that,” admitted Whitlock, who will face Colin Lloyd in round two on Saturday.
“I knew I was in for a real battle when the draw came out and that’s exactly what happened. But I won’t be giving up this title easily, it was the proudest moment of my career when I won here last year and I would love to defend it.
“That’s a long way away yet but I’ve got past an excellent opponent in Kim and I’ll go away and prepare for the next one.”
Wade defeated Mark Webster 6-2 after winning the first three legs and taking out finishes of 80 and 96.
“I’m happy I won but it was difficult to play a friend,” said Wade.
“But I had a job to do and fortunately I got it done. Now I can look forward to the next one and the rest of the tournament.”
Thornton and van Barneveld will meet each other in the last 16 after their respective successes against Brendan Dolan and Tomas Seyler.
Thornton swept past Dolan convincingly, winning 6-2 despite struggling with a pulled muscle in his back, while ‘Barney’ claimed a 6-1 triumph over Germany’s Seyler.
Friday night’s action will see Michael van Gerwen take on Kurt van de Rijck and Paul Nicholson up against Max Hopp
By Chris Murphy
Bronze tickets are still available to see van Gerwen, Whitlock, Wade, van Barneveld, Priestley, Huybrechts and Winstanley at OVER THE TOP in Barnsley on September 27 – GET YOURS HERE
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
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
Michael van Gerwen topped the Order of Merit after winning five of the eight ranked Speedy Services UK Open qualifiers, as fellow Premier League stars James Wade, Robert Thornton, Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld all booked their places at the Bolton tournament.
van Gerwen won the final event of the 2013 series on Sunday, when the field of qualifiers for June’s finals were confirmed.
As one of the top 32 in the final Order of Merit, ‘Mighty Mike’ gains automatic entry to the third round on Friday June 7 along with reigning champion Thornton, Whitlock, van Barneveld, Paul Nicholson and Mark Webster.
Andy Jenkins qualified for the second round on Thursday June 6 as he collected £1,800 in prize money and returned to the top 64 in the world rankings.
Joining ‘Rocky’ in round two are Co Stompe, John Henderson and Arron Monk, while Wade, Chris Aubrey, Vincent van der Voort and James Hubbard all also qualified for the tournament and will compete in the first round on the Thursday.
The field for the PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix has been confirmed and includes nine MODUS associated players.
The line-up for the Dublin tournament, which takes place on October 8-14, has been finalised as current positions cannot be affected by the upcoming European Championships.
World number three James Wade, who has won the double-start tournament twice, qualifies as part of the top 16 in the PDC Order of Merit.
Simon Whitlock, Mark Webster, Raymond van Barneveld and Paul Nicholson all also gain entry through their ranking positions.
In-form Michael van Gerwen has booked his place at the Citywest Hotel as the highest ranked player in the ProTour order of merit, outside of the top 16.
Mervyn King, Vincent van der Voort and UK Open champion Robert Thornton will also compete for the £100,000 title, having qualified through the ProTour Order of Merit.
The top eight players from the PDC Order of Merit will be seeded for the first round draw, which is expected to be made on Sunday.
Webster and van Barneveld could move into top eight spots depending on results in Germany this weekend.
PartyPoker.com World Grand Prix Qualifiers – (MODUS associated players in bold)
Current PDC Top 16 from PDC Order of Merit
Phil Taylor (England)
Adrian Lewis (England)
James Wade (England)
Gary Anderson (Scotland)
Wes Newton (England)
Andy Hamilton (England)
Simon Whitlock (Australia)
Terry Jenkins (England)
Mark Webster (Wales)
Raymond van Barneveld (Netherlands)
Justin Pipe (England)
Kevin Painter (England)
Dave Chisnall (England)
Ronnie Baxter (England)
Mark Walsh (England)
Paul Nicholson (Australia)
Current Top 14 Non-Qualified Players from ProTour Order of Merit
Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands)
Ian White (England)
Kim Huybrechts (Belgium)
Colin Lloyd (England)
Richie Burnett (Wales)
Mervyn King (England)
Andy Smith (England)
Brendan Dolan (Northern Ireland)
Robert Thornton (Scotland)
Vincent van der Voort (Netherlands)
Michael Smith (England)
Colin Osborne (England)
Dean Winstanley (England)
Steve Beaton (England)
Top Two Non-Qualified Players from Ireland/Northern Ireland from ProTour Order of Merit
Michael Mansell (Northern Ireland)
William O’Connor (Ireland)
By Chris Murphy
Image courtesy of Lawrence Lustig/PDC