The 6th edition of the Players Championship finals kicks off this Friday, the leading 32 players will fight for the £300,000 prize fund over three days of action packed darts.
World number one and recent World Series champion Michael Van Gerwen will look to follow up his win in Scotland, with a third successive tournament triumph in Minehead. The Dutchman will face an in form Keegan Brown in Fridays clash with the youngster taking confidence from last weekend’s 6-4 victory over Ian White
Phil Taylor will face current World Champion in a mouth-watering clash directly after the World number one takes the stage. After a disappointing year on the pro tour, Taylor finds himself ranked 21st, and facing the prospect of first round elimination for as long as I can remember. The Flying Scotsman is also struggling for form, it is now six months since Ando hoisted the Premier League trophy, and even longer since that classic encounter with the power at Alexandra Palace. A win for either could serve as a much needed confidence booster.
Perhaps the most enticing tie of the opening session is the meeting of the flamboyant Mensur Suljovic and the business like Mervyn King. The former reached the semi finals of the Grand Prix in Dublin earlier this year and has since gone on to become a firm fans favourite.
Bolton born Joe Murnan will make his Players Championship finals debut against Dave Chisnall. The 31-year-old was a first round entrant in Blackpool earlier this year and clinched his first PDC title with his win in Crawley’s players championship, beating Chizzy in the process.
This week’s breakthrough star Michael Smith wraps up the afternoon session meeting Darryl Gurney. Bullyboy has enjoyed an upturn in form, winning two events in Germany as well as Players Championship event in Wigan. The St Helen’s born player won the appraisal of Andy Fordham for his exhilarating performance at the Grand Slam. Am impressive run at Minehead could push Smith towards a coveted Premier League spot.
Peter Wright was a wire width away from a first major as MVG overcame a three legs deficit in Scotland to deny the home favourite. The party now hops south of border in search of that elusive major victory. Snakebite will face Steve Beaton for a place in the quarter finals.
All opening round matches will be played over the best of 11 legs with the winners progressing to Saturday’s quarter finals.
Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)
Justin Pipe (16) v Vincent van der Voort (17)
Terry Jenkins (11) v Alan Norris (22)
Jelle Klaasen (10) v Gerwyn Price (23)
Benito van de Pas (13) v Stephen Bunting (20)
Mensur Suljovic (15) v Mervyn King (18)
Brendan Dolan (14) v Simon Whitlock (19)
Michael Smith (2) v Jamie Caven (31)
Kim Huybrechts (5) v Daryl Gurney (28)
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Dave Chisnall (8) v Joe Murnan (25)
James Wade (4) v Mark Webster (29)
Adrian Lewis (6) v John Henderson (27)
Robert Thornton (9) v Jamie Lewis (24)
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Keegan Brown (32)
Gary Anderson (12) v Phil Taylor (21)
Ian White (7) v Raymond van Barneveld (26)
Peter Wright (3) v Steve Beaton (30)