The best darts players in the world will be coming to Leeds on Thursday as the Premier League Darts (PLD) nears its "Judgement Night."
The last PLD action before the start of the UK Open, this stop presents the last opportunity for competitors to collect vital points as we near the cut-off point in Cardiff, where the bottom two players will be eliminated.
|2014 Premier League Standings|
|2||Michael van Gerwen||3||0||1||6|
|3||Raymond van Barneveld||3||0||1||6|
Venue: Westpoint Arena, Exeter
Date: Thursday, March 6
Start Time: 7 p.m. GMT
TV info: Sky Sports 2 (UK)
Stream: Sky Go App (subscription required)
Peter Wright currently leads the pack, holding a one-point lead over the Dutch duo of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld. Wright will battle Robert Thornton in the battle of the Scotsmen to open the event as the last remaining undefeated player.
Snakebite has been on a run this year and has beaten Thornton in their last three bouts, but the 2012 UK Open winner seems to have regained some of his swagger, winning his last two PLD matchups.
Van Barneveld is right on Wright's tail, and he'll lock horns with Dave Chisnall during the night's second matchup. Chisnall has endured a difficult tour so far, sitting right above the drop-off zone, and he's winless in his last two matches. Van Barneveld meanwhile is enjoying an excellent start, scoring three wins out of four bouts.
The Dutch legend won their only meeting of the year so far, beating Chisnall 6-2 in Germany.
Adrian Lewis will be looking forward to his matchup with van Gerwen in what will be the night's most anticipated bout. The current World Champion has had Lewis' number in their last three confrontations, scoring a whitewash during the World Championships and recording an epic comeback during the Players Championship Final, turning a 6-3 score into a 6-9 win.
Lewis is desperate for a result but has never won a match in Exeter, and defeating van Gerwen will go a long way in restoring some of his confidence.
Phil Taylor has enjoyed a nightmarish start to the competition and currently sits in ninth place. A brutal schedule, a change of darts and the resulting poor play have him in danger of not surviving Judgement Night, but the 16-time World Champion still has time to change his faith.
In Gary Anderson, Taylor will be facing off against an opponent he has already beaten 13 times before, and while Anderson has been performing admirably so far, Taylor seems primed for a breakout performance.
His win over Whitlock was a good first step, though Michael Moore sees things otherwise:
Wes Newton and Simon Whitlock will be the night's final performers, with Newton sitting comfortably in the rankings after an excellent start to the year.
Whitlock is desperate for some points and cannot afford to lose to an in-form Newton. The Australian has been struggling with his game all season but seems to be making progress in his last few frames. If Newton wins, surviving the drop-off seems all but certain for The Warrior.