ADRIAN LEWIS is looking to continue his McCoy’s Premier League Darts revival when he faces relegation rival Gary Anderson as the ten-player event visits the Manchester Arena on Thursday.
Two-time World Champion Lewis ended a four-game losing run when he picked up his first victory of the season a week ago, defeating Michael van Gerwen 7-4 in Nottingham.
The world number two also won through to the semi-finals of the UK Masters in Minehead at the weekend, and hopes that the clash with Anderson – in a repeat of the 2011 World Championship and Premier League finals – will see him continue his bid to avoid relegation after nine weeks.
Anderson has only picked up four points so far this season, and could be overtaken by Lewis on leg difference should the Stoke ace win by three or more legs in their Manchester meeting.
“I thought I showed my class last Thursday and the weekend in Minehead was good for me too,” said Lewis. “It’s given me a lot of confidence.
“It’s always important to get your first couple of points on the board but I’m not going to change my routine; I’m practising every day and hopefully against Gary in Manchester I can do the same again.
“It’s going to be a really tough game because he’s a fantastic scorer. If I can keep on top of him scoring-wise and take my chances, then I’ve got a great chance.”
2011 Premier League champion Anderson was also a winner last week in Nottingham as he edged out Phil Taylor 7-5, and he said: “There’s plenty of pressure on us all now because nobody wants to be relegated after week nine, so it’s a big game on Thursday.
“Adrian’s a quick player, like myself, and it always seems to make for a good match when we play.”
That was Taylor’s first defeat of the season, and the reigning champion is looking to bounce back when he faces Stoke rival Andy Hamilton in Manchester.
Taylor was also defeated by Hamilton – for only the second time in his career – in the quarter-finals of the UK Masters on Sunday, but said: “It’s a different game on Thursday and it should be a great match.
“Andy played brilliantly at the weekend and I know he’s in form, but I’m getting more confident with my new darts and I’m playing well too, and I feel good about my game.”
Table-topper Raymond van Barneveld plays UK Open champion Robert Thornton, who lost his unbeaten record last week when he was defeated by Wade.
Van Barneveld picked up his fourth win in five matches as he edged out Hamilton, and admitted: “I’m over the moon at the moment and after five weeks I think I’ve averaged 100 for the tournament and got eight points.
“They’re all top class players and I’m really pleased to have won four out of five – but it’s really important to win every single leg because last year I missed the Play-Offs on Leg Difference.
“After nine weeks we’ll see who gets relegated but hopefully I can get into the top four after 14 weeks and move forward to the semi-finals – and it would be really great to finally win this.”
Second-placed James Wade, who has picked up seven points from his five games, will look to continue his run of form when he meets Australian rival Simon Whitlock in Manchester.
“If I’m anywhere outside of the bottom two then I’m happy because I’ve normally started slowly and been bottom, so it’s good!” admitted Wade, of his strong start.
“All the players in the Premier League are great and I’ll treat Simon the same as everyone else, but I’m excited and I want to play every game at the moment, and my game’s starting to come together as a whole now.
“I think what’s more apparent than ever is that my scoring’s starting to be there.”I’ve always been able to finish, because that’s the easy part of the game, it’s getting to the finish which is the hard thing! Every leg’s crucial and you’ve got to take every chance you get a poke at.”Whitlock ended a three-game losing run when he defeated Wes Newton in Nottingham, with the Fleetwood ace now meeting van Gerwen in Manchester.Thursday’s McCoy’s Premier League Darts will be shown live on Sky Sports HD2 from 7pm. Tickets are still available from the Manchester Arena by calling 0844 847 8000 or visiting http://www.mcr-arena.com.McCoy’s Premier League DartsWeek SixMarch 14 – Manchester ArenaMichael van Gerwen v Wes NewtonAdrian Lewis v Gary Anderson Simon Whitlock v James WadeRaymond van Barneveld v Robert ThorntonPhil Taylor v Andy HamiltonAll games the best of 12 legs.Tickets: http://www.mcr-arena.com or 0844 847 8000
via News | PDC.