Players Championship Darts 2013: Full Event Schedule, Predictions and Preview

Leigh WalshCorrespondent INovember 29, 2013

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 30:  Phil Taylor of England in action during his quarter-final match against Paul Nicholson of England during day two of the Sydney Darts Masters at Luna Park on August 30, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

The Butlins Minehead Resort in Somerset is the venue for the fifth staging of the Players Championship Finals. World No. 1 Phil "The Power" Taylor will be looking to replicate the form that helped him to a fifth Grand Slam of Darts crown less than two weeks ago. 

The top 32 players from the final ProTour Order of Merit made the cut for this weekend’s event, which boasts a total prize purse of £250,000.

Ian White and Ronnie Baxter, who finished 12th and 21st respectively in the Order of Merit, will get the action under way in Friday’s afternoon session. 

Players Championship Finals - 1st Round (Nov. 29)
Afternoon Session (12:45 p.m. GMT)Evening Session (7 p.m. GMT)
Ian White (12) vs. Ronnie Baxter (21)John Part (13) vs. Andy Hamilton (20)
Kim Huybrechts (5) vs. Terry Jenkins (28)Simon Whitlock (10) vs. Justin Pipe (23)
Wes Newton (9) vs. Andy Smith (24)Robert Thornton (6) vs. Richie Burnett (27)
Gary Anderson (15) vs. Stuart Kellett (18)Mervyn King (11) vs. Raymond van Barneveld (22)
Brendan Dolan (4) vs. Wayne Jones (29)Adrian Lewis (16) vs. Kevin Painter (17)
Jamie Caven (7) vs. Colin Lloyd (26)Paul Nicholson (14) vs. Phil Taylor (19)
Peter Wright (3) vs. Michael Smith (30)Michael van Gerwen (1) vs. Jamie Lewis (32)
Steve Beaton (8) vs. James Wade (25)Dave Chisnall (2) vs. Jelle Klaasen (31)
pdc.tv
Players Championship Finals - 2nd Round (Nov. 30)
Afternoon Session (12:45 p.m. GMT)Evening Session (7 p.m. GMT)
Dolan/Jones vs. Part/HamiltonChisnall/Klaasen vs. Anderson/Kellett
Huybrechts/Jenkins vs. White/BaxterThornton/Burnett vs. King/van Barneveld
Caven/Lloyd vs. Whitlock/PipeWright/M Smith vs. Nicholson/Taylor
Beaton/Wade vs. Newton/A Smithvan Gerwen/J Lewis vs. A Lewis/Painter
pdc.tv

Eight players will be left standing for Sunday's blockbuster conclusion, when the quarter-final, semi-final and final will all take place on the same day. 

The seeding for the event was based on the ProTour Order of Merit final standings, which explains why the world No. 1 Taylor was placed in the draw as the 19th-ranked player. 

He was handed a tricky first-round matchup against the only other winner of the event, Paul Nicholson. The Australian, who is currently ranked No. 20 in the world, won the title in 2010, with The Power emerging victorious in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 30:  Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands in action during his quarter-final match Clinton Bridge of Australia against during day two of the Sydney Darts Masters at Luna Park on August 30, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Taylor’s biggest challenge will come from Michael van Gerwen, who finished atop the Order of Merit standings. The Dutchman picked up £125,350 this year after winning nine events, per PDC.tv. 

The current world No. 2 plays young Welsh talent Jamie Lewis in the opening round, while his compatriot Raymond van Barneveld takes on world No. 14 Mervyn King.

Another mouth-watering opening encounter sees No. 4 Simon Whitlock and No. 11 Justin Pipe, last year’s beaten semi-finalists, face off in the evening session. 

 

Prediction

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 1: Phil Taylor celebrates winning the tenth set against Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands during the final of the 2013 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace on January 1, 2013 in London, England. (Pho
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Taylor will be the firm favourite to take home the £60,000 winner’s cheque. 

The Englishman showed again why is considered the greatest to have ever played the game when he picked up his fifth Grand Slam of Darts gong in Wolverhampton. 

His semi-final win over Adrian Lewis at that tournament was lauded as the greatest game ever by experts, according to PDC.tv. Taylor won the contest 16-9, but it was the pair’s number of 180s—32 in totalthat flabbergasted people. 

Taylor has had a remarkable season so far, winning the U.K. Open, World Matchplay, Sydney Masters, World Grand Prix, The Masters and the Grand Slam of Darts. 

If the three-time champion plays to the peak of his powers in Somerset, no one in the world can stop him.

U.K. viewers can watch live coverage of the 2013 Players Championship Finals on ITV 4.