TAYLOR AIMING TO BOUNCE BACK AS 888.com PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS VISITS NOTTINGHAM
REIGNING champion Phil Taylor faces Welsh newcomer Mark Webster as the second week of the 888.com Premier League Darts sees the tournament visit Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena on Thursday.
Five-time Premier League Darts champion Taylor suffered his heaviest ever defeat in the competition when he lost 8-2 to Adrian Lewis at The O2 a week ago.
That loss came on the back of a quarter-final exit loss to Thursday’s opponent Webster in the World Championship on New Year’s Day, giving Taylor a double incentive to bounce back in Nottingham.
“It was a really disappointing way to start the season and I’m working hard to put it right,” said Taylor.
“I know I’ll have to improve against Mark because he’s been playing brilliantly recently.
“He’s a great young player who’s talented and dedicated to the game and he deserved to beat me in the World Championship. That’s behind me now and it’s a new game on Thursday.”
Webster had opened his first Premier League campaign in style last week, overcoming 2009 champion James Wade 8-3 at The O2, but is expecting a Taylor backlash in Nottingham.
“I don’t read too much into Phil’s result last week because you don’t lose your quality overnight,” said Webster.
“People say class is permanent and form is temporary, and I think Phil will be fine – just hopefully not on Thursday! Hopefully I can keep playing like I have been and I can get another result against Phil.”
World Champion Lewis is looking to follow up his win over Taylor with victory in his meeting with left-hander Wade, who lost the final five legs without reply against Webster last week but has reached the Premier League’s final for the past three years.
“James has shown his quality so many times and I know he’s wanting to get back to form,” said Lewis.
“He got the win over me in the World Grand Prix final too last year so maybe there will be a bit of revenge on Thursday, but it’s a fresh game and I can’t think too much about that.
“It was great for me to start so well last week but the challenge will be to keep playing that well. It’s about being in the top four at the end of the 14 weeks so that’s my aim.”
The night will open when five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld plays Australian Simon Whitlock, with both players looking to bounce back from defeats in week one.
Two of the opening week’s winners, Terry Jenkins and Gary Anderson, clash in the other game in Nottingham as they look to remain unbeaten.
A number of tickets remain on sale for Thursday’s 888.com Premier League Darts, priced at £20 plus booking fee and available via 08444 124 624 or www.capitalfmarena.com.
888.com Premier League Darts
Week Two, February 17 – Capital FM Arena, Nottingham
Simon Whitlock v Raymond van Barneveld
James Wade v Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor v Mark Webster
Terry Jenkins v Gary Anderson
Coverage is live in the UK on Sky Sports HD1 from 7pm.