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Nic Ladds 7th Dec 2011 - 13:30

Nicholson chasing second major

Players Championship Darts Betting Preview

The Cash Converters Players Championship begins on Thursday, with Paul Nicholson, James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld all in action as the £250,000 event opens at the Doncaster Dome.

The four-day tournament, won twice by Phil Taylor and once by Paul Nicholson since its introduction in 2009, will see the leading 32 money-earners from this year's Players Championship series of events battling for the £60,000 title.

While Taylor enters the fray when he meets Terry Jenkins in the first round on Friday night, 2010 winner Nicholson meets Bristol's Steve Brown in Thursday's opening session.

The 32-year-old defeated Mervyn King in the final of the 2010 Players Championship - having overcome Taylor in the semi-finals at the Circus Tavern - but failed to qualify to defend his title when he endured a poor year after that success.

"It's obviously a format I like because I won it," said Nicholson. "I've got an unbeaten record in this competition because I won it at the start of last year and didn't qualify for the other two events."

"It was a hard lesson for me not to qualify back in February but probably one that I had to learn, and it's been a good thing for my career because of how I've responded since."

Brown has broken into the top 32 for the first time this year and also won his maiden ranking title, and Nicholson is expecting a tough test against the 30-year-old from Bristol.

"It's not going to be an easy task," adds Nicholson. "I know Steve prepares well, he's a very good professional and I've been impressed with him for the past two years.

"When he started on the circuit he was quite a raw player but he's found his own path of how to be a better player and he's impressed me in that regard.

"We're probably at similar points in our careers, maybe I'm a little bit ahead of him, but he's the kind of player you can never count out, because he plays with a lot of grit and determination."

The opening night also sees world number three James Wade - June's UK Open champion - open his bid to claim another major title when he faces Andy Smith.

"It's a huge tournament and one that I'd love to win," said Wade. "With the World Championship coming up we're all looking to hit top form and there would be no better place to do it than in Doncaster.

"Andy will be a tough opponent in the first round and it's a short format so you know you have to start well, but it's an exciting challenge."

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld plays Ronnie Baxter, while two other former World Champions - John Part and Richie Burnett - are drawn against Wayne Jones and Wes Newton respectively.


The tournament opens when Derby's Jamie Caven meets Coventry's emerging star Scott Rand, while Grand Slam of Darts semi-finalist Mark Walsh plays Mark Hylton and Peter Wright faces Denis Ovens.

The first round continues on Friday night with the remaining eight matches, including reigning champion Taylor up against Terry Jenkins, February's runner-up Gary Anderson facing Michael van Gerwen and number one seed Justin Pipe playing Scotland's John Henderson.

The Cash Converters Players Championship features the leading 32 players from the 2011 Players Championship Order of Merit, which is compiled of prize money won in the 31 one-day Players Championships held this year.

Previously played in early February since being introduced in 2009, the tournament has come forward two months in the PDC calendar this year and is played only a fortnight following the final Players Championships of 2011 were played in Wigan.

All sessions are live on ITV4, while tickets are still available to purchase in person from the Doncaster Dome Box Office or by calling 01302 370 777, with a buy one, get one free offer available for Thursday December 8 and admission available on the door for all sessions.

Schedule of Play
Thursday December 8 (7pm-11pm)
First Round
7.05pm Jamie Caven v Scott Rand
7.35pm Mark Walsh v Mark Hylton
8.05pm Peter Wright v Denis Ovens
8.35pm John Part v Wayne Jones
9.05pm Wes Newton v Richie Burnett
9.35pm Ronnie Baxter v Raymond van Barneveld
10.05pm James Wade v Andy Smith
10.35pm Paul Nicholson v Steve Brown

Friday December 9 (7pm-11pm)

First Round
7.05pm Dave Chisnall v Alan Tabern
7.35pm Colin Osborne v Kevin Painter
8.05pm Vincent van der Voort v Co Stompe
8.35pm Mervyn King v Colin Lloyd
9.05pm Justin Pipe v John Henderson
9.35pm Phil Taylor v Terry Jenkins
10.05pm Mark Webster v Steve Beaton
10.35pm Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen

Saturday December 10
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)
Second Round
1.05pm Newton/Burnett v Wright/Ovens
2.05pm Part/Jones v Walsh/Hylton
3.05pm Nicholson/Brown v Wade/Smith
4.05pm Baxter/Barneveld v Caven/Rand

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Second Round
7.05pm van der Voort/Stompe v Chisnall/Tabern
8.05pm Pipe/Henderson v Webster/Beaton
9.05pm Taylor/Jenkins v King/Lloyd
10.05pm Anderson/van Gerwen v Osborne/Painter

Sunday December 11
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm)

1.05pm Part/Jones/Walsh/Hylton v Newton/Burnett/Wright/Ovens
2.05pm Baxter/van Barneveld/Caven/Rand v Nicholson/Brown/Wade/Smith
3.05pm Anderson/van Gerwen/Osborne/Painter v Taylor/Jenkins/King/Lloyd
4.05pm Pipe/Henderson/Webster/Beaton v van der Voort/Stompe/Chisnall/Tabern

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Order to be decided by coin toss



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