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Live Darts on Thursday: Premier League Darts 2017 Rotterdam preview and order of play

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 15 Mar 2017
Van Barneveld and Van Gerwen pictured outside the Ahoy Arena (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The most eagerly-anticipated night of the Premier League season so far sees the ten tungsten titans head to Rotterdam on Thursday to vie for crucial points at both ends of the table.

Just two weeks remain before Judgement Night in Cardiff - when the bottom two players in the league table will be eliminated from the competition at the halfway stage.



This week's results could go some way towards determining who will bow out of the running, with the bottom two players already finding themselves two points adrift of safety heading to The Ahoy.

A 10,000-strong sea of orange will greet the players in this Dutch darting hotbed, with the main event of the evening featuring the sport's two most decorated stars going head-to-head as Phil Taylor takes on Michael van Gerwen.

Van Gerwen marked his return to action with a narrow 7-5 win over Kim Huybrechts after missing the previous weeknight due to injury and the defending champion is out to protect the only remaining unbeaten record.

Van Gerwen has claimed eight points from a possible ten so far with a tournament average of 105.39 and will be aiming to feed off the vociferous support of the partisan Dutch crowd.

Taylor's 7-4 defeat to Adrian Lewis in Glasgow last week was his first of the campaign and a further loss on foreign soil could see him slip out of the top four.

The six-time Premier League champion will be out to avenge his 7-5 defeat to MVG on this stage last season but heads into the clash having won the last three televised meetings between the two.

Raymond van Barneveld is set for a hero's reception when he steps out to face world number two Gary Anderson in another mouth-watering encounter.

Van Barneveld was moved close to tears after the 'Barney army' raised the roof on his homecoming in 2016, but the popular Dutchman can ill-afford to let the occasion get to him as he bids to challenge for a play-off spot.

Van Barneveld battled back from 4-1 behind to record a 7-5 victory over Jelle Klaasen last week but knows he must raise his game if he is to have any chance of ending his two-year wait for a win over The Flying Scotsman.

Anderson was the home favourite in Glasgow last week as he returned to winning ways, but the boot is now firmly on the other foot as he bids to spoil the party and claim a twelfth straight win over Barney.

Klaasen marks his debut at the Rotterdam Ahoy with a show-down against 2009 champion James Wade to kick off the evening's action.

Klaasen starts the night rooted to the foot of the table with just three points to his name, two adrift of Adrian Lewis in eighth and in desperate need of a victory.

Back-to-back defeats have seen Wade drop to fifth position, and with MVG and Van Barneveld to come before Judgement Night, a further slip-up here could leave him looking over his shoulder.

League leader Peter Wright aims to remain at the top of the pile for the time being by overcoming the enigmatic Dave Chisnall.

Wright is one point clear of rival MVG but has played a game more, though the UK Open champion will feel he is well-placed to land a top four finish for the first time at the very least.

Chisnall, meanwhile, suffered a 7-3 defeat to Anderson last time out after claiming two wins in Exeter a week earlier, and having subsequently played at least one game more than the rest, he is under pressure to add to his six-point tally before sitting out next week's trip to Manchester.

Second from bottom Kim Huybrechts looks to get his first win of the season at the seventh time of asking when he faces Adrian Lewis.

The Belgian was left to rue missed darts to claim at least a share of the spoils with MVG last week and knows he must cut those crucial mistakes out of his game if he is to have any chance of staving off relegation.

Huybrechts, who was eliminated on debut in 2015, is two points adrift of Lewis ahead of the fixture and could leapfrog the Stoke star with a 7-4 win or better.

Lewis made light work of his World Cup winning partner Taylor last week, but having pulled out of the ProTour weekend in Barnsley due to the ill health of his wife, could be forgiven if his mind is on matters away from the oche here.

The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of 12 legs, making a 6-6 draw a possibility. Two points are awarded for a win and one for a draw.

Betway Premier League 2017 match schedule

Night Seven - Thursday March 16

7.15pm James Wade v Jelle Klaasen
8.00pm Peter Wright v Dave Chisnall
8.45pm Raymond van Barneveld v Gary Anderson
9.30pm Kim Huybrechts v Adrian Lewis
10.15pm Phil Taylor v Michael van Gerwen


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Live Darts on Thursday: Premier League Darts 2017 Rotterdam preview and order of play

The most eagerly-anticipated night of the Premier League season so far sees the ten tungsten titans head to Rotterdam on Thursday to vie for crucial points at both ends of the table.

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