UNIBET WORLD GRAND PRIX SCHEDULE CONFIRMED
THE schedule of play for the Unibet World Grand Prix has been confirmed ahead of the famous double-start tournament at Dublin's Citywest Hotel from October 2-8.
The World Grand Prix, unique for the double-start format which sees players having to both begin and end each leg on a double, will see 32 stars competing live on Sky Sports across seven days in Dublin.
Reigning champion Robert Thornton will be amongst the stars in action on the opening night on Sunday October 2 as he opens his title defence against Stephen Bunting.
World Champion Gary Anderson takes on Jamie Caven, two-time World Grand Prix winner James Wade faces Terry Jenkins and world number three Adrian Lewis meets Jelle Klaasen in further big games on Sunday.
Australia's Kyle Anderson faces Spain's Cristo Reyes in the opening fixture, with Ian White then playing Kim Huybrechts and Gerwyn Price up against Benito van de Pas before the first evening concludes as former finalists Mervyn King and Raymond van Barneveld clash.
World number one Michael van Gerwen begins his bid to win a third World Grand Prix title against Steve Beaton on Monday evening, while 11-time winner Phil Taylor - fresh from his Unibet Champions League of Darts win - plays Steve West.
Northern Irish pair Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney meet Peter Wright and Mensur Suljovic respectively, while resurgent Irishman Mick McGowan plays James Wilson.
Monday's action opens as 2013 finalist Dave Chisnall plays Robbie Green, while number eight seed Michael Smith meets Alan Norris and Joe Cullen faces Simon Whitlock.
Tuesday night's second round feature Sunday's winners from the bottom half of the draw, with Monday's winners from the top half of the draw returning to the stage on Wednesday.
The quarter-finals will be held on Thursday, with the semi-finals on Friday before the tournament concludes on Saturday with the final.
Saturday's final will be preceded by the Tom Kirby Memorial Irish Matchplay final between Balbriggan's Mick McGowan, the reigning champion, and Cork-based Radek Szaganski, who previously reached the 2014 final.
The £400,000 tournament will be held from October 2-8 at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin. For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.ie or call the Citywest Hotel Box Office on 00353 (0)1 401 0505.
2016 Unibet World Grand Prix
Sunday October 2 (7pm)
First Round x8
Kyle Anderson v Cristo Reyes
Ian White v Kim Huybrechts
James Wade (6) v Terry Jenkins
Gerwyn Price v Benito van de Pas
Adrian Lewis (3) v Jelle Klaasen
Robert Thornton (7) v Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson (2) v Jamie Caven
Mervyn King v Raymond van Barneveld
Monday October 3 (7pm)
First Round x8
Dave Chisnall v Robbie Green
Mick McGowan v James Wilson
Mensur Suljovic v Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith (8) v Alan Norris
Joe Cullen v Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor (4) v Steve West
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton
Peter Wright (5) v Brendan Dolan
Tuesday October 4 (7pm)
Second Round x4
Wade/Jenkins v Price/van de Pas
Thornton/Bunting v White/Huybrechts
G Anderson/Caven v K Anderson/Reyes
Lewis/Klaasen v King/van Barneveld
Wednesday October 5 (7pm)
Second Round x4
Smith/Norris v Cullen/Whitlock
Wright/Dolan v Chisnall/Green
Taylor/West v Suljovic/Gurney
van Gerwen/Beaton v McGowan/Wilson
Thursday October 6 (7pm)
Friday October 7 (7pm)
Saturday October 8 (8.30pm)
Preceded by Irish Matchplay Final (approx 7.45pm, best of 11 legs)
Mick McGowan v Radek Szaganski
First Round - Best of three Sets
Second Round - Best of five Sets
Quarter-Finals - Best of five Sets
Semi-Finals - Best of seven Sets
Final - Best of nine Sets
* All Sets are the best of five legs. There will be no tie-break in any Set.
* All legs must begin and end with a double, meaning that a player must hit a double before he can begin scoring in each leg.
* The order of play for the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be confirmed on www.pdc.tv.
11/10 Michael van Gerwen
4/1 Phil Taylor
6/1 Gary Anderson
20/1 James Wade
22/1 Adrian Lewis
25/1 Dave Chisnall, Peter Wright
28/1 Mensur Suljovic
40/1 Raymond van Barneveld
50/1 Kim Huybrechts, Michael Smith
66/1 Jelle Klaasen
80/1 Stephen Bunting, Robert Thornton, Ian White, Simon Whitlock
100/1 Joe Cullen, Daryl Gurney, James Wilson, Benito van de Pas
150/1 Kyle Anderson, Mervyn King, Alan Norris
200/1 Jamie Caven, Brendan Dolan, Robbie Green, Terry Jenkins, Gerwyn Price
300/1 Steve Beaton
400/1 Cristo Reyes, Steve West
750/1 Mick McGowan
First Round Match Odds
13/25 Kyle Anderson v 6/4 Cristo
Evs Ian White v 4/5 Kim Huybrechts
3/10 James Wade v 5/2 Terry Jenkins
6/5 Gerwyn Price v 4/6 Benito van de Pas
13/25 Adrian Lewis v 6/4 Jelle Klaasen
9/10 Robert Thornton v 9/10 Stephen Bunting
1/5 Gary Anderson v 18/5 Jamie Caven
7/5 Mervyn King v 5/9 Raymond van Barneveld
2/5 Dave Chisnall v 2/1 Robbie Green
8/5 Mick McGowan v 1/2 James Wilson
1/2 Mensur Suljovic v 8/5 Daryl Gurney
3/5 Michael Smith v 13/10 Alan Norris
9/10 Joe Cullen v 9/10 Simon Whitlock
2/19 Phil Taylor v 11/2 Steve West
1/9 Michael van Gerwen v 11/2 Steve Beaton
3/10 Peter Wright v 51/20 Brendan Dolan
Odds courtesy www.unibet.co.uk and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.
PHIL TAYLOR was crowned as the first Unibet Champions League of Darts winner with a brilliant 11-5 win over Michael van Gerwen in Sunday's final at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
Stoke legend Taylor, 56, claimed the £100,000 top prize in the PDC's first BBC-televised event as he capped an imperious weekend in Wales with victory over the current world number one.
Taylor had overcome the Dutchman on Saturday during the group phase of the event, and after the pair defeated James Wade and Gary Anderson respectively in the semi-finals the 16-time World Champion produced one more stunning display in the decider.
A strong start saw Taylor take an early 4-1 lead, missing two doubles in the leg which he lost, before the Dutchman produced an 11-darter and a 110 finish to pull back to 6-3.
Taylor then landed seven perfect darts in the tenth leg before finishing an 11-darter to move 7-3 up, and then punished misses from van Gerwen to pull six legs clear.
Van Gerwen hit back by finishing tops and 70, but the 15th leg proved crucial as the 27-year-old landed a 180 and 171 only to see Taylor finish 81 on the bull move to the brink of a win which sealed in style with a 114 checkout.
"It's fantastic," said Taylor. "I'm over the moon with this. Just to get to the final is tough, it's the top eight players in the world and it's hard work.
"To play three games in one day for me is tough. I was worried about the final, with my energy levels, but I seemed to click at the right times and hit the right shots and put Michael under pressure.
"Michael's brilliant, he's just won three or four tournaments on the trot but maybe that showed in the final. Michael's a better player than that - he didn't perform like he can and I did. I took advantage."
Taylor - whose last win a BBC-televised event came at the 1992 BDO World Championship before the formation of the PDC - added: "I've really appreciated the Cardiff crowd, who were brilliant.
"It's massive for me. For me to get back on the BBC is brilliant. It's a different audience because it's terrestrial TV and it's been a great weekend."
Van Gerwen picked up £50,000 as runner-up, but after winning four tournaments in the past week he admitted: "Maybe the tank was empty but I know I can do a lot better.
"Phil was the better player, he won all his games this weekend and fair play to him. You can't win all the time but hopefully I can do something good in the next few tournaments.
"I feel fantastic but I let myself down this weekend. I'm disappointed with myself and I need to have a moment of rest."
World Champion Anderson had topped Group B with wins over Michael Smith, Adrian Lewis and Wade, but saw van Gerwen come from 4-2 down in their semi-final to power to an 11-5 triumph.
Wade finished second in Group B but fell to an 11-3 loss to Taylor at the last four stage, although the left-hander claimed £25,000 in prize money.
Unibet Champions League of Darts
Sunday September 25
Phil Taylor 11-3 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 11-5 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 11-5 Michael van Gerwen
PHIL TAYLOR qualified for the Unibet Champions League of Darts semi-finals and ended Michael van Gerwen's winning streak with a sensational win over the world number one on Saturday, as Gary Anderson picked up two victories on the opening day in Cardiff.
The eight-player, £250,000 tournament began at the Motorpoint Arena as the stars completed their first two of three group matches on Saturday as the PDC's first BBC-televised tournament began in style.
Taylor was the day's outstanding performer, as he firstly averaged almost 103 and hit three ton-plus finishes in a 10-5 defeat of Peter Wright before bettering that as he overcame van Gerwen 10-4.
Van Gerwen had won six successive tournaments heading to Cardiff and extended his unbeaten run to 36 matches with a 10-5 win over Robert Thornton in their opener, but paid the price for missed doubles when he took on a clinical and ruthless Taylor.
Taylor showed his intent with a superb 167 checkout in the game's third leg, and after van Gerwen took out 122 in reply, further finishes of 101, 138 and 120 helped the 16-time World Champion to book his semi-final spot.
Taylor said: "I'm over the moon with how it's gone today. In my mind I'm not seeing it that I'm through, and I'll just concentrate on playing Robert and trying to win.
"I've had a break and my finishing is a bit better, my scoring is a little bit better and that's a combination for winning tournaments, so I'm happy.
"Michael let me off a couple of times but I kept putting him under pressure and you've got to do that against him. It's lovely to be a part of this event. The crowd are wonderful and it's lovely to see them enjoying themselves."
Van Gerwen now faces a showdown with Peter Wright on Sunday afternoon to decide the other player to progress from Group A, after the world number five bounced back from his loss to Taylor with a 10-6 defeat of Robert Thornton.
Pre-tournament favourite van Gerwen uncharacteristically failed to hold throw in seven attempts against Taylor, and said: "Fair play to Phil because he had some good finishing but I didn't really turn up.
"I didn't play well, I missed doubles and wasn't focused enough and it wasn't my day, but tomorrow we have another day. I'm still in the tournament and it's in my own hands - tomorrow is a knockout."
Wright said: "I'm pleased to have got past Robert because he didn't hit his doubles and I punished him. Every day's different and it should be a good game against Michael, he brings out the best in everybody."
World Champion Gary Anderson put one foot into the last four by winning both of his Group B clashes, overcoming Michael Smith 10-5 before seeing off James Wade 10-7.
Anderson had enjoyed a three-week break ahead of the Cardiff event, and said: "To win both matches is a good start to the event because I've been a bit rusty.
"I made a mess of a few legs in both games and I could have wrapped up the win against James a bit sooner, but I got the job done. My scoring is coming and the finishing was good, so I've got no worries going into Sunday."
Wade had earlier opened the day by reeling off seven successive legs in a 10-3 win over Adrian Lewis, who later edged out Smith 10-8 in their evening contest.
"I wasn't good enough against Gary and I'm disappointed, but I've got to put it behind me," said Wade. "I know I'm good enough but talk is cheap, and hopefully the right James Wade can come out tomorrow."
The results now mean that Lewis needs to defeat Anderson in their repeat of the World Championship final to progress to the last four, while both Wade and Smith could still secure semi-final places.
Lewis, though, was happy to have bounced back from his opening defeat as he saw off Smith, and said: "I went away and dusted myself off and I've given myself a lifeline now.
"I struggled to get over the line against Michael but in patches it was good. Gary beat me in the World Championship final and I'll be aiming for revenge!"
The Unibet Champions League of Darts concludes on Sunday, with the afternoon session's final group games followed in the evening session with the semi-finals and final.
A limited number of tickets are still available from the Motorpoint Arena Box Office, either in person or by calling 02920 22 44 88.
Unibet Champions League of Darts
Saturday September 24
First Group Matches
Gary Anderson 10-5 Michael Smith (B)
Adrian Lewis 3-10 James Wade (B)
Phil Taylor 10-5 Peter Wright (A)
Michael van Gerwen 10-5 Robert Thornton (A)
Second Group Matches
Adrian Lewis 10-8 Michael Smith (B)
Gary Anderson 10-7 James Wade (B)
Michael van Gerwen 4-10 Phil Taylor (A)
Peter Wright 10-6 Robert Thornton (A)
Sunday September 25
Final Group Matches
James Wade v Michael Smith (B)
Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis (B)
Phil Taylor v Robert Thornton (A)
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright (A)
Live on BBC2 from 1pm
Winner Group A v Runner-Up Group B
Winner Group B v Runner-Up Group A
Order of Games TBC
Live on BBC2 from 6.30pm
Group Matches - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals & Final - Best of 21 legs