ANDERSON CHASING THIRD STRAIGHT WIN AS 888.com PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS VISITS BELFAST
GARY ANDERSON is looking to retain his advantage at the top of the 888.com Premier League Darts table when he faces fellow newcomer Mark Webster at a sold-out Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Thursday.
Scottish ace Anderson is the only unbeaten player following the opening two weeks of the Premier League Darts season, after defeating Simon Whitlock and Terry Jenkins in his first two matches.
He plays Welsh Webster in Belfast on Thursday, and believes he must retain his ruthless streak to see off the left-hander, who hit finishes of 170 and 160 in a defeat to Phil Taylor last week.
“I always used to struggle when I played players who I was good friends with, and it took a few people to grab me by the throat and say ‘this is your living, there’s no friends on stage’,” said Anderson.
“I have to be more ruthless and if I get a chance to rip his heart out I will, and Mark will be exactly the same.
“Mark’s playing well. He’s packed his job in and is playing darts 24/7, and you can see his game’s come on leaps and bounds.
“He’s always been a good player but now he’s finishing big and scoring a lot more 180s.”
Anderson averaged almost 100 in seeing off Whitlock at The O2 and topped 102 in winning 8-4 against Terry Jenkins last week in Nottingham, and has set his sights on breaking Phil Taylor’s record televised average of 118.66 set at the 2010 UK Open.
“What I’ve done so far is not enough – I want to show people the 120-plus averages,” said Anderson. “That’s what I’m aiming for, to prove it can be done.
“Phil has had the 118 average and I want to smash it.”
Taylor’s bid for a second successive win sees him take on Terry Jenkins in Belfast, after averaging 103 in a superb 8-5 defeat of Webster in Nottingham as he bounced back from an opening-week loss to Adrian Lewis.
“Last week was just what I needed and I’ve got to keep that up now,” said Taylor. “I’m really excited about the challenge of the Premier League again and I’ll be fighting every week.
“I want to get better and more confident each week now, but I can’t look further ahead than playing Terry Jenkins because he’s a real battler and it will be a good match in Belfast.”
World Champion Adrian Lewis will meet Raymond van Barneveld at the Odyssey Arena, with the Dutchman having hit four ton-plus finishes in a brilliant performance to see off Whitlock in Nottingham.
“Last week has given me lots of confidence,” said van Barneveld. “I’ve been working hard and playing well in practice and hopefully I can keep taking it onto the stage.”
Whitlock, meanwhile, will be bidding to claim his first win of the campaign as he enters Thursday’s clash with James Wade as the only player without a point following two weeks.
Wade took out 136 in the deciding leg of his game with Lewis last week to claim an 8-6 victory, but admitted: “I wanted to prove something last week and hopefully I can come back in Belfast with the same attitude.
“If I can have that mentality and feeling every week and every weekend then I would be a very good player, but the stupid thing with me is that I don’t always do that.”
Coverage of the 888.com Premier League Darts will be shown live on Sky Sports HD1 from 7pm on Thursday. PDCtv Subscribers outside of the UK and Ireland can also watch live via www.pdc.tv.
888.com Premier League Darts
Week Three – Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Gary Anderson v Mark Webster
Simon Whitlock v James Wade
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor v Terry Jenkins