2013 Players Championships Final Preview & Tips


The venue at Butlins Minehead. Unique to PDC venues and the weekend ticketing makes its a different atmosphere as well.

The venue at Butlins Minehead. Unique to PDC venues and the weekend ticketing makes its a different atmosphere as well.

The final TV event of the 2013 season in PDC darts takes place this weekend, kicking off on Friday afternoon from Minehead. It’s the final opportunity for the players involved to find form on the big stage before the World Championships, which are just a fortnight away and will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds this weekend. This event is now in it’s 6th renewal and having been moved in the calendar in 2011, it looks be established as the warm up event for the World Championships and also looks to have found it’s ideal venue at Butlins Minehead. The venue worked well last year when first used and is distinct from the usual venues used by the PDC. The way the event is billed as a weekend away at the darts with packages being sold also helps the atmosphere and ticket sales for a fairly remote location.

Phil Taylor & Adrian Lewis - Pictured here after their staggering Semi-Final in Wolverhampton.

Phil Taylor & Adrian Lewis – Pictured here after their staggering Semi-Final in Wolverhampton.

Phil Taylor defends this weekend and his form over the past 6 months has been imperious, He lost nothing in being defeated by Michael Van Gerwen in the Premier League. Since then he has been relentless in his performances in the TV events, winning the last 4 and raising to every challenge asked of him in the process. There is a strong argument that this is the best he has ever played for a sustained period when you consider the levels shown by Adrian Lewis against Taylor in defeat twice during this period. Can he retain this title en route to a 17th World Championship? Well, the reality is that he is a strong favourite for both titles and whilst the World Championship will be his priority, should he get through the opening two rounds this weekend, he will be tough to beat.

Michael Van Gerwen - No 1 seed this week based on his supreme floor performances. He is in the toughest quarter this week though.

Michael Van Gerwen – No 1 seed this week based on his supreme floor performances. He is in the toughest quarter this week though.

With the draw being based on the Pro Tour Order Of Merit top 32 rankings, there some intriguing match ups in the opening round as well interesting potential meetings in the next round. The top quarter of the draw is easily the most star studded in quality, Lewis, Van Gerwen and Wade will all have serious aspirations of winning this event and with Painter, Beaton and Newton also in this quarter it will be a very competitive affair. Lewis has a very tough opener in facing Painter who is defending his earnings from his victory in this event in December 2011, that makes for danger for Jackpot and he’ll need to perform to progress one feels. Given the quality in this quarter it would be no surprise to see the finalist from the top half come from this quarter, however it is as feasible that the tough early matches could work against them.

Brendan Dolan - Pictured here after losing to Huybrechts in Dutch Masters final, he's fancied to turn the tables this weekend.

Brendan Dolan – Pictured here after losing to Huybrechts in Dutch Masters final, he’s fancied to turn the tables this weekend.

By contrast, the other quarter of the top half looks more balanced in terms of the seedings and their reflective chances in this quarter. There are two very good looking first round clashes in this quarter, in form Kim Huybrechts faces Terry Jenkins, who is always a danger in these events and John Part vs. Andy Hamilton looks a real pro’s contest. Kim Huybrechts will be favourite to progress from this quarter and rightly given his current form and he will take a lot of beating. Andy Hamilton will have his supporters in this quarter but perhaps the prospect of defending £100,000 at the World Championship this year is putting pressure on him. A player I like this week is BRENDAN DOLAN, he’s won 2 floor tournaments in recent weeks as well as reaching the Dutch Masters final and looks in form for a big weekend.

Gary Anderson - He's back to being the man in black after ditching those awful shirts. Faith is being kept in him this weekend.

Gary Anderson – He’s back to being the man in black after ditching those awful shirts. Faith is being kept in him this weekend.

Onto the bottom half, and the top quarter of this half could be very interesting indeed not only for this weekend but looking ahead to Alexandra Palace. Dave Chisnall is number 2 seed in the competition but has looked vulnerable in his last two TV events, his opening round clash with Jelle Klaasen should be played a nice pace and could be a belter. Whitlock vs. Pipe catches the eye as very tight encounter, both are very inconsistent of late though and are hard to assess. Caven and Lloyd will both probably looking to find form this week, more so Lloyd who hasn’t done much in 2013. GARY ANDERSON impressed me in Wolverhampton, he lost nothing in defeat to Taylor, he played better than 10-5 suggests and you sense he is getting there. He should take care of Kellett and I fancy him to have a nice run to the semi final, possibly the final.

Phil Taylor - Defending Champion and the man to beat yet again. Will he have one eye on Alexandra Palace though?

Phil Taylor – Defending Champion and the man to beat yet again. Will he have one eye on Alexandra Palace though?

Any quarter with Phil Taylor in will always be one to swerve as he will on more occasions than not progress from it with little value. Does this weekend look to be the rare occasion he doesn’t, probably not, he has the hex on Nicholson and whilst the Aussie Geordie will not roll over for Taylor, it’s hard to see him winning. Mervyn King vs. Raymond Van Barneveld looks the pick of the first round ties and based on their contest at Wolverhampton, it looks likely to be closely contested. Robert Thornton will have a point to prove after his tough final in Wolverhampton and should prove too much for Burnett. Michael Smith is showing signs of growing stature on the big stage and his clash Peter Wright looks very hard to call, unfortunately they will likely run into Phil Taylor in the next round who looks tough to oppose.

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