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Rupert Wyman 2nd May 2012 - 11:01

Crucial Premier League night in Birmingham

Birmingham to host crucial McCoy's Premier League night as play-off battle continues

The fight for places in the McCoy's Premier League Darts Play-Offs reaches a critical stage as the tournament visits Birmingham's NIA on Thursday.

With only Phil Taylor currently certain of a place in the semi-finals at The O2 in London in a fortnight, the penultimate round of league matches will have a major bearing on the three players who join him to fight for the £150,000 title.

Second-placed Simon Whitlock - who has 14 points to his name - needs only a point from his clash with Andy Hamilton to be certain of a top-four finish, but behind him tensions are rising.

2009 winner James Wade and World Champion Adrian Lewis sit on 12 points in the current top four, with Raymond van Barneveld one point behind, while Hamilton, Kevin Painter and reigning champion Gary Anderson must all at least avoid defeat in Birmingham to keep their hopes alive.

Anderson, who sits bottom of the table, kept his feint Play-Off hopes alive last week with a draw against Lewis, but has to defeat van Barneveld in Birmingham and hope for other results to work in his favour if he is to keep the defence of his title alive into the final league night.

"Raymond's having a great season and I know the size of the challenge," said Anderson. "I'll be giving it my best shot in Birmingham but I know it's out of my hands as far as the Play-Offs are concerned. "My aim is to finish the league season with two wins and I'll see where that leaves me."

World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton plays Whitlock in the night's opening game, having secured three successive draws to maintain his hopes of reaching the top four in his debut season.
"I don't feel under pressure and I'm just out there playing to win," said Hamilton. "There's no pressure on me, everyone expected me to come bottom or next to bottom so anything else would prove them wrong.

"It's the best eight players and we all want to finish in the top four but we also want to put the performances in, and I've proved my worth this year. I'm still not out of it and I'll keep fighting all the way to the end.

"Simon's not beaten me for a long time so hopefully it's going to stay that way! He's under pressure and he'll get no change out of me - I'll be ready for him."

World Champion Lewis meets Painter in another pivotal clash in Birmingham, knowing that a win for the Stoke ace will end his opponent's hopes of competing in the semi-finals at The O2.
"It's a really tough competition this year and I've still got work to do," said Lewis, who drew with Anderson a week ago in Liverpool.
"Kevin's got nothing to lose and I'm expecting him to play well because he's in a position like Gary was last Thursday. They're fighting for their lives."

Painter must defeat Lewis to stand any chance of breaking into the top four on the final league night, having defeated Anderson and drawn with Wade in the past two weeks to stay in touch with the Play-Off places following a mid-season losing run.

"My chances of qualifying for the top four are very slim now but these boys have still got to qualify and they've got to play me," he said.
"Adrian's a class player. If he's in the mood you've got your work cut out, but I've been in the mood for the past few weeks and maybe not quite got the rewards I should have in some of the games.
"If I play like I did last week he'll have to play well to beat me."

The night's other game sees runaway league leader Taylor meet third-placed Wade, who enters the Birmingham leg a point clear of van Barneveld - and he is hoping that a win over the Stoke great will secure his semi-final place.

"I've had good results against Phil in the Premier League before and I'm looking forward to playing him on Thursday," said Wade, who reached the final of the weekend's Austrian Open in Wiener Neustadt.
"I'm feeling good and I'm fairly happy with my form. I've won one and drawn two of my last three games and maybe if I'd turned those draws into wins I'd be safe now, but I'll give it my best on Thursday."

Taylor bounced back to winning ways last week with an 8-3 defeat of Whitlock, ensuring a seven-point cushion at the top of the league table as he prepares for the Play-Offs.

"I'm looking to go into the semi-finals on a high and I want to make sure I win my last two games," said Taylor.
"There's a proper scrap going on for the other places and it's great being able to watch that without the pressure of fighting to qualify."

A number of tickets for Thursday's McCoy's Premier League Darts (7pm) remain on sale from the NIA in Birmingham by calling 0844 338 8000 or visiting www.theticketfactory.com.

McCoy's Premier League Darts
Week 13 - NIA, Birmingham

Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton - BET NOW
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld - BET NOW
Kevin Painter v Adrian Lewis - BET NOW
James Wade v Phil Taylor - BET NOW

Tickets: 0844 338 8000 or www.theticketfactory.com
Week 13 Match Odds, courtesy www.williamhill.com

Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton
4/7 Simon Whitlock
5/1 Draw
5/2 Andy Hamilton

Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
6/5 Gary Anderson
9/2 Draw
6/5 Raymond van Barneveld

Kevin Painter v Adrian Lewis
16/5 Kevin Painter
11/2 Draw
4/9 Adrian Lewis

James Wade v Phil Taylor
4/1 James Wade
11/2 Draw
4/11 Phil Taylor

VIEW OUR FULL RANGE OF DARTS BETTING MARKETS

William Hill are the official betting partner of the McCoy's Premier League Darts.

McCoy's Premier League Darts - Play-Off Permutations

Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton
Whitlock Win:
Whitlock qualifies for Play-Offs.
Hamilton eliminated.
Draw:
Whitlock would be in Play-Offs.
Hamilton would be eliminated if Barneveld and Lewis avoid defeat.
Hamilton Win:
Whitlock needs either Wade or Barneveld to lose and he qualifies for Play-Offs.
Hamilton needs Wade or Lewis not to win to avoid elimination.
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Anderson Win:
Anderson would need Lewis to lose to avoid elimination.
Barneveld would be eliminated if Wade and Lewis win.
Draw:
Anderson eliminated.
Barneveld would play Wade in Week 14 for the right to reach Play-Offs.
Barneveld Win:
Anderson eliminated.
Barneveld may need only a draw against Wade in Week 14 to qualify, depending on Wade result v Taylor.
If Barneveld loses, he would be eliminated if both Wade and Lewis win.
Anderson must win and hope that Lewis loses to stay in Play-Off race.
Kevin Painter v Adrian Lewis
Painter Win:
He joins Lewis on 11 points and Week 14 games are decisive.
Draw:
Painter eliminated.
Lewis may need only a draw in Week 14 to qualify, and a win in Week 14 would see him qualify.
Lewis Win:
Painter eliminated.
Lewis would be confirmed in the Play-Offs if Barneveld has lost earlier.
James Wade v Phil Taylor
Wade Win:
Wade would be confirmed in the Play-Offs if Barneveld has lost earlier.
Draw:
Wade would only need a draw against Barneveld in Week 14 to qualify for Play-Offs.
Taylor Win (& Barneveld defeat earlier)
Wade has to avoid defeat against Barneveld in Week 14 to qualify.
Taylor Win (& Barneveld win earlier)
Wade would need to defeat Barneveld in Week 14 to qualify.

 

 

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Lawrence Lustig/PDC

 
 
 

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