THE penultimate tourney before the World Championships, The Cash Converters Players Championship Finals, descends on Minehead in Somerset, where the competitors in this could improve their final order of merit placing, before the final 32 seeds for the World Championship is known.
The three-day event, televised live on ITV4, sees the leading 32 players from this year’s PDC ProTour Order of Merit – comprised of prize money won in UK Open Qualifiers, Players Championships and European Tour events – battling for the £65,000 first prize.
Reigning champion Gary Anderson will begin his defence of the title with a crunch clash against three-time winner Phil Taylor on Friday evening, with the first round split across two sessions on the opening day.
The order of play for Friday with seeding in brackets.
- Justin Pipe (16) v Vincent van der Voort (17)
- Terry Jenkins (11) v Alan Norris (22)
- Jelle Klaasen (10) v Gerwyn Price (23)
- Benito van de Pas (13) v Stephen Bunting (20)
- Mensur Suljovic (15) v Mervyn King (18)
- Brendan Dolan (14) v Simon Whitlock (19)
- Michael Smith (2) v Jamie Caven (31)
- Kim Huybrechts (5) v Daryl Gurney (28)
- Dave Chisnall (8) v Joe Murnan (25)
- James Wade (4) v Mark Webster (29)
- Adrian Lewis (6) v John Henderson (27)
- Robert Thornton (9) v Jamie Lewis (24)
- Michael van Gerwen (1) v Keegan Brown (32)
- Gary Anderson (12) v Phil Taylor (21)
- Ian White (7) v Raymond van Barneveld (26)
- Peter Wright (3) v Steve Beaton (30)
Picking a few fancies out, I do expect Van der Voort to beat Pipe, available at 4/5 with Stan James. The giant Dutchman was 5/6 earlier this week, so money has come in versus the home boy Pipe, who has endured a quieter year on the TV circuit. Pipe in his last TV appearance showed signs of a couple years ago, where a TV event was rarely not competed in. I do think the contrast in styles with the lack of crowd atmosphere early on could suit Vincent, who has enjoyed good success on the European Tour events this year, including a key win over Taylor in a big TV event.
I expect Thornton to be backed as a banker against Jamie Lewis for people wanting an accumulator. The Welshman looked pretty ordinary in the World Series of Darts last weekend and think the scoring power for the Scotsman will be the deciding factor.
Looking to double up a Thornton banker will be fellow Scotsman Peter Wright to hit the most maximums versus Steve Beaton. The Bronze Adonis is not the biggest maximum hitter and Wright hit a key number of maximums to make the final of the World Series last weekend.
I am in the process of deciding a couple of other bets, which you’ll be able to follow in the Darts Forum.
- Voort to beat Pipe – 4/5 Stan James
- Thornton win and Wright most 180s Vs Beaton – 11/8 double Betfair.