Seasoned professionals and inspired amateurs will take to the stage as the 2014 Coral UK Open gets underway on March 7.
At their new home at Butlins' Minehead Resort, the televised finals will get underway with eight stages set for simultaneous darts action as the early rounds get going.
|UK Open 2014: Dates, Fixtures and Participants|
|March 7||11.45 a.m - 5.pm GMT, 6.45 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET||Preliminary Round|
|Carl Green v Lionel Sams||Main Stage|
|Brian Woods v Dean Stewart||Stage Two|
|Paul Whitworth v Rhys Griffin||Stage Three|
|Alan Tabern v Tony Randall||Stage Four|
|Martin Stead v Alan Casey||Stage Five|
|Kevin McDine v Aaron Holdstock||Stage Six|
|Ian Jones v Simon Stevenson||Stage Seven|
|James Young v David O'Brien||Stage Seven|
|Nathan Derry v Jason Mold||Stage Eight|
|William Naylor v Sam Allen||Stage Eight|
|March 7||11.45 a.m - 5.pm GMT, 6.45 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET||First Round|
|Glenn Spearing v Antonio Alcinas||Main Stage|
|Kevin Taylor v Arron Monk||Main Stage|
|Raymond van Barneveld v Tony Broughton||Main Stage|
|Kyle Anderson v McDine/Holdstock||Main Stage|
|Dennis Smith v Mark Hylton||Stage Two|
|Ewan Hyslop v Steve Brown||Stage Two|
|Alan Derrett v Jyhan Artut||Stage Two|
|Ben Burton v Michael Mansell||Stage Two|
|Steve Douglas v Johnny Haines||Stage Three|
|James Hubbard v Jeff Batham||Stage Three|
|Joe Murnan v Shaun Lovett||Stage Three|
|Dean Reynolds v Stead/Casey||Stage Three|
|Conan Whitehead v Aden Kirk||Stage Four|
|Mark Cox v Shaun Narain||Stage Four|
|Green/Sams v Chris Aubrey||Stage Four|
|Whitworth/Griffin v Karl Merchant||Stage Four|
|Adam Cousins v Paul Hogan||Stage Five|
|Pete Dyos v William O'Connor||Stage Five|
|Adam Hunt v Michael Malone||Stage Five|
|Woods/Stewart v Graham Dando||Stage Five|
|Andy Boulton v Jonathan Worsley||Stage Six|
|Matthew Edgar v Matt Clark||Stage Six|
|Jason Lovett v I Jones/Stevenson||Stage Six|
|Tabern/Randall v Rowby-John Rodriguez||Stage Six|
|Benito van de Pas v Doug Thompson||Stage Seven|
|Jim Hill v Alex Roy||Stage Seven|
|Naylor/Allen v Chris Mackie||Stage Seven|
|Derry/Mold v Gerwyn Price||Stage Seven|
|Nigel Daniels v Scott Bennett||Stage Eight|
|Mick Baker v Mick Todd||Stage Eight|
|Kevin Dowling v Chris Dobey||Stage Eight|
|David Dodds v Young/O'Brien||Stage Eight|
|March 7||11.45 a.m - 5.pm GMT, 6.45 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET||Second Round|
|John Henderson v Jelle Klaasen||Main Stage|
|Keegan Brown v Mensur Suljovic||Main Stage|
|Ian White v Daryl Gurney||Main Stage|
|Cousins/Hogan v John Part||Main Stage|
|Steve Maish v Ben Ward||Stage Two|
|Ronny Huybrechts v Adrian Gray||Stage Two|
|Jason Hogg v Wayne Jones||Stage Two|
|Reynolds/Stead/Casey v van Barneveld/Broughton||Stage Two|
|Garry Spedding v David Pallett||Stage Three|
|D Smith/Hylton v Peter Hudson||Stage Three|
|Hyslop/S Brown v K Anderson/McDine/Holdstock||Stage Three|
|Hill/Roy v Tony Newell||Stage Three|
|John Bowles v Dirk van Duijvenbode||Stage Four|
|Rocco Maes v Daniels/Bennett||Stage Four|
|Derrett/Artut v Hunt/Malone||Stage Four|
|Naylor/Allen/Mackie v Ross Smith||Stage Four|
|Boulton/Worsley v Josh Payne||Stage Five|
|Hubbard/Batham v Steve Hine||Stage Five|
|K Taylor/Monk v Whitworth/Griffin/Merchant||Stage Five|
|van de Pas/Thompson v Dodds/Young/O'Brien||Stage Five|
|Nigel Heydon v Douglas/Haines||Stage Six|
|Dave Weston v Baker/Todd||Stage Six|
|Spearing/Alcinas v Edgar/M Clark||Stage Six|
|Green/Sams/Aubrey v Murnan/S Lovett||Stage Six|
|Michael Barnard v Stuart Kellett||Stage Seven|
|Tabern/Randall/Rodriguez v Steve West||Stage Seven|
|Jamie Caven v Dowling/Dobey||Stage Seven|
|Burton/Mansell v Woods/Stewart/Dando||Stage Seven|
|Cox/Narain v Darren Webster||Stage Eight|
|Ian Lever v Dyos/O'Connor||Stage Eight|
|Whitehead/Kirk v Derry/Mold/Price||Stage Eight|
|J Lovett/I Jones/Stevenson v Mark Barilli||Stage Eight|
|March 7||7 p.m. - 11 p.m. GMT, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET||Third Round|
|Peter Wright v Michael Smith||Main Stage|
|Ronnie Baxter v Adrian Lewis||Main Stage|
|Whitehead/Kirk/Derry/Mold/Price v Phil Taylor||Main Stage|
|Michael van Gerwen v Hubbard/Batham/Hine||Main Stage|
|Justin Pipe v Dave Chisnall||Stage Two|
|Kevin Painter v Richie Burnett||Stage Two|
|Reynolds/Stead/Casey/van Barneveld/Broughton v Weston/Baker/Todd||Stage Two|
|James Wade v Burton/Mansell/Woods/Stewart/Dando||Stage Two|
|Steve Beaton v Brendan Dolan||Stage Three|
|Derrett/Artut/Hunt/Malone v Paul Nicholson||Stage Three|
|Terry Jenkins v Barnard/Kellett||Stage Three|
|Caven/Dowling/Dobey v Stephen Buntin||Stage Three|
|Mark Webster v Mark Walsh||Stage Four|
|Hyslop/S Brown/K Anderson/McDine/Holdstock v Spedding/Pallett||Stage Four|
|Andy Smith v Gary Anderson||Stage Four|
|Maish/Ward v Heydon/Douglas/Haines||Stage Four|
|R Huybrechts/Gray v Simon Whitlock||Stage Five|
|Jamie Lewis v Lever/Dyos/O'Connor||Stage Five|
|Robert Thornton v Hogg/W Jones||Stage Five|
|K Brown/Suljovic v Tabern/Randall/Rodriguez/West||Stage Five|
|Cousins/Hogan/Part v van de Pas/Thompson/Dodds/Young/O'Brien||Stage Six|
|Christian Kist v Spearing/Alcinas/Edgar/M Clark||Stage Six|
|Wes Newton v Andrew Gilding||Stage Six|
|Bowles/van Duijvenbode v Green/Sams/Aubrey/Murnan/S Lovett||Stage Six|
|Kim Huybrechts v Naylor/Allen/Mackie/R Smith||Stage Seven|
|D Smith/Hylton/Hudson v White/Gurney||Stage Seven|
|Boulton/Worsley/Payne v Dean Winstanley||Stage Seven|
|Nick Fullwell v Hill/Roy/Newell||Stage Seven|
|Cox/Narain/D Webster v Vincent van der Voort||Stage Eight|
|Maes/Daniels/Bennett v J Lovett/I Jones/Stevenson/Barilli||Stage Eight|
|K Taylor/Monk/Whitworth/Griffin/Merchant v Mervyn King||Stage Eight|
|Andy Hamilton v Henderson/Klaasen||Stage Eight|
|March 8||11.45 a.m - 5.pm GMT, 6.45 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET||Fourth Round (Last 32)|
|16 Games on Four Stages|
|March 8||7 p.m. - 11 p.m. GMT, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET||Fifth Round (Last 16)|
|Eight Games on Two Stages|
|March 9||12.45 a.m - 5.pm GMT, 7.45 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET||Quarter-Finals|
|Main Stage on Skyline Pavilion|
|March 9||7 p.m. - 11 p.m. GMT, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET||Semi-Finals and Final|
|Main Stage on Skyline Pavilion|
|Preliminary/First/Second Rounds – best of nine legs|
|Third Round – best of 17 legs|
|Fourth Round – best of 17 legs|
|Fifth Round – best of 17 legs|
|Quarter-Finals – best of 19 legs|
|Semi-Finals – best of 19 legs|
|Final – best of 21 legs|
Top names such as Michael van Gerwen, Phil "The Power" Taylor, Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld will all be in contention to go the distance, but as always in darts, there's no sure thing.
The blend of youth is also on show with Dublin's Glenn Spearing, who will step out to make his UK Open debut in his match with Spaniard Antonio Alcinas, just two months after turning professional at his qualifying school, per Professional Darts Championships.
But it's thought that the big boys will dominate the tournament once again, despite a number of high-quality youngsters breaking onto the big stage.
Another debutant, Jeff Batham, only completed qualifying school himself earlier this year, and he will be looking to make an instant impact in his first UK Open, per Darts Database.
Taylor, as seen below, will be looking to retain the UK Open title after beating Andy Hamilton in last year's final:
The afternoon session on launch day will see the preliminary, first and second rounds of the tournament get underway, with the first two rounds featuring the professional players ranked from 65 to 96 in the UK Open Order of Merit.
They'll be joined by the 32 Rileys Amateur qualifiers, who will be up to cause an upset against more experienced throwers like Alan Tabern and Kevin McDine.
Kevin Painter will also be in action in Minehead, tweeting of his preparations ahead of the tournament:
Former World Youth Champion Arron Monk also gets his tournament underway against an amateur qualifier, Kevin Taylor, before twice-champion van Barneveld takes to the stage against Tony Broughton in their first-round match.
Phil Taylor, Brendan Dolan, Gary Anderson, Andy Hamilton, Stephen Bunting and Michael van Gerwen will also come into the fold in the evening session, with the six UK Open Qualifier winners entering the tournament in the third round.
Darts Performance Centre's Aiden Farrelly, who has previously fought van Barneveld, has backed Taylor to impress once again as he continues to build back his form:
Taylor's turmoils. I think it's crazy. The man hit two nine-darters this year already. Yet he's past it. Whilst he may no longer be elusive, he still holds it. It. Whatever it is. Taylor has always done ordinary things extraordinarily well. Because he's not conscious of his actions.
I imagine Taylor, and indeed all professionals, transcend into a place of peaceful meditation and tranquillity whilst playing. Blissfully unaware of what they are doing. It's just natural. But having changed his darts, his brand, his everything...he's had to begin thinking about what he's doing again. Becoming all too aware of the mechanics of his throw. Which is not good.
He's stepped outside his zone of optimal performance. But when it becomes natural once again, and we seen a glimpse of that with a 100+ average in last week’s Premier League, we will no longer be talking about a has been.
The first three rounds will be completed by the evening session on opening day, with 32 matches giving athletes the chance to progress to the fourth round on the afternoon of March 8.
The fifth round will begin on the same evening with eight games across two stages, before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place across afternoon and evening sessions on March 9—all games set to take place on the Main Stage in the Skyline Pavilion.
Taylor has won the competition five times previously, with his nearest challengers being Netherlands' van Barneveld and fellow Englishman James Wade, who have both scooped the tournament twice.
It will be imperative for Taylor to pick up another victory this time around, as he looks to continue his supremacy in the UK Open.
He'll also be out for revenge on van Gerwen, should the pair face up in the latter stages, after the Dutchman overtook Taylor to reach the world No. 1 spot after the 2014 World Champions.
Then, just six weeks later, van Gerwen made it double agony for Taylor after recording a 13-minute Premier League whitewash with a 7-0 win.
Taylor, though, will brush himself down ahead of the tournament, and if there's one thing to be certain of with "The Power," it's that he knows how to play to his strengths.
One of those, of course, is the UK Open.
According to the Professional Darts Championship, the winner of this year's tournament will scoop a £50,000 prize with potential for a rolling £5,000 nine-dart bonus, with the runner-up receiving £25,000, per Professional Darts Championship.
Each semi-finalist will bag £12,500 in prizes, while also able to pick up the bonus, with quarter-finalists being awarded £7,500.
It doesn't stop there, though, with last-16 players gaining £5,000, last-32 participants getting £3,000 and final-64 athletes handed £1,000 each.
In total, the UK Open is worth £250,000 in prize money and, with titles also at stake, it's clear to see why darts is becoming a popular sport worldwide.
With Taylor already sitting on UK Open earnings of £267,000, per Darts Database, could he break the £300,000 mark this time around?
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