The nine Challengers who will feature in the opening nine nights of the 2020 Unibet Premier League have been confirmed.
In a return to last year’s popular format, nine players will compete under the re-branded ‘Challengers‘ banner, with John Henderson and Fallon Sherrock already confirmed as guest players for the opening two nights.
Scottish crowd favourite Henderson is set to get the campaign off to a bang at the new P&J Live in Aberdeen, before history-maker Sherrock becomes the first woman to star in the Premier League in Nottingham.
The Premier League roadshow then rolls on to Cardiff and Dublin where Welsh number two Jonny Clayton and Irish World Cup runner-up William O’Connor will make their Premier League debuts respectively.
World Youth Champion Luke Humphries will feature in Exeter, while Merseyside man Stephen Bunting will make his Premier League comeback in Liverpool.
Two-time televised semi-finalist Chris Dobey will hope to enjoy another memorable night in Newcastle, before Dutch duo Jeffrey de Zwaan and Jermaine Wattimena entertain the sea of orange in Rotterdam.
Points won by Challengers will not count towards the league table, however their opponents will retain any points gained from the matches. Challengers will receive financial bonuses for winning or drawing their matches.
Following the opening nine nights of fixtures, the player placed ninth on the Premier League table following Judgement Night in Rotterdam on March 26 will be eliminated from the competition.
The remaining eight players will then battle it out from Nights Ten to 16 in the race to win places in the Play-Offs at The O2 on Thursday May 21, with newly-crowned World Champion Peter Wright and world number one Michael van Gerwen among the regular nine players.
Fans in Belfast and Glasgow will also have the chance to welcome home local heroes in Daryl Gurney, Gary Anderson and Wright, while Gerwyn Price will entertain a passionate Welsh crowd in Cardiff.
Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant are the new additions to the Premier League line-up in 2020, while former finalists Rob Cross and Michael Smith are among the returning stars.
The 2020 Unibet Premier League will be played from February 6 – May 21 2020 at venues across Europe.
The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.
2020 Unibet Premier League field Michael van Gerwen Peter Wright Gerwyn Price Rob Cross Michael Smith Gary Anderson Daryl Gurney Nathan Aspinall Glen Durrant
2020 Unibet Premier League Challengers John Henderson (Aberdeen, Night One) Fallon Sherrock (Nottingham, Night Two) Jonny Clayton (Cardiff, Night Three) William O’Connor (Dublin, Night Four) Luke Humphries (Exeter, Night Five) Stephen Bunting (Liverpool, Night Six) Chris Dobey (Newcastle, Night Seven) Jeffrey de Zwaan (Rotterdam, Night Eight) Jermaine Wattimena (Rotterdam, Night Nine)
Darts World.com’s ‘Resident Pro’, Colin Osborne, has nominated his seven suggestions for the PDC Challenger slots in this year’s Premier League. With an additional Wildcard!
With Hendo and Fallon Sherlock already nominated, for weeks one and two, The Wizard has gone for some serious proven ability in his main selections.
Johnny Clayton is the first name on the list. With William O’ Conner making up a celtic pairing for weeks three and four.
Luke Humphries and Joe Cullen will provide stiff opposition, for their opponents, if Colin gets his way. Both have major experience and have proven ability under serious pressure.
Chris Dobey gave good value during the recent World Championships and had a decent Premier League try out last year. Meanwhile, Jeffrey de Zwann is proving a popular pick with everyone.
Colin’s picks seem to represent the younger generation and his no. 7 is no exception. He goes for Dimitri Van Den Bergh who has already shown enough class, and bottle, to hit a 9 dart leg in a TV major.
Colin’s Wildcard entry is RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD. After a rest up he could prove inspired in Rotterdam.
The Wizard’s selections in full:
W1—Hendo W2— Sherrock W3—Jonny Clayton W4—Willy O Conner W5—Luke humphries W6—Joe Cullen W7—Dobey W8—De zwann W9—Dimi Van den Berg
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND stunned England with a sensational victory over the number one seeds at the BetVictor World Cup of Darts in Hamburg on Saturday.
William O’Connor averaged over 115 in a breathtaking display to defeat former World Champion Rob Cross after Steve Lennon had edged out Michael Smith.
O’Connor landed four 180s and took out finishes of 88, 70 and a match-winning 64 to seal the shock success over four-time World Cup winners England.
Emerging Irish Ace, Lennon had earlier given Ireland the advantage by defeating Smith 4-3 before O’Connor’s incredible performance sealed their place in the quarter-finals for the first time.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said O’Connor, who won his first PDC title just over a month ago.
“It just clicked for us tonight. We knew we could beat them but to put in a performance like that against a former World Champion and one of the best players in the world is particularly special for me.
“We are going to take loads of confidence from this. We are enjoying ourselves and we will be dangerous on the final day.”
Fifth seeds Australia also suffered an upset as Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson both lost their Singles matches against Canada.
Dawson Murschell and Jim Long both won last-leg deciders to set-up a quarter-final meeting with defending champions Netherlands, who eased past Poland to progress.
Murschell edged out Whitlock in an eventful encounter, in which the Australian skipper took out back-to-back 126 checkouts on the bull to lead 3-2.
A 180 helped Murschell level up and the 23-year-old put Canada in front by taking out 97 in the deciding leg.
Long then came from 3-1 behind to defeat Anderson, who missed a dart in the last leg to take it to a Doubles decider.
Michael van Gerwen and Jermaine Wattimena both won their Singles ties to see off the Polish pairing of Krzysztof Ratajski and Tytus Kanik.
Van Gerwen took out a brilliant 123 finish on the bull to win a crucial fifth leg against Ratajski as the world number one went on to win 4-2.
Kanik threatened to put Poland back in the tie when he won the first leg of his match against Wattimena by following a 180 with a clinical 90 checkout.
After Wattimena levelled, Kanik went seven darts into a potential nine-darter in what proved to be a pivotal third leg as he was cruelly punished for a string of missed doubles by the Dutchman who pinned the bull to complete an 88 combination on the way to a 4-1 victory.
“I don’t think either of us performed at one-hundred-percent but we hit the right shots at the right moments,” said van Gerwen.
“We are not afraid of anybody and we are going to beat everybody. We are a great team and everybody knows that.”
Scotland moved safely through to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Sweden on Saturday afternoon.
Gary Anderson set the number two seeds on their way with a 4-0 success over Magnus Caris in the 50-year-old Swede’s final game before he retires from professional darts.
Peter Wright was less comfortable in his win against Dennis Nilsson, but a 4-2 victory wrapped up the tie.
Scotland will meet Belgium in the quarter-finals on Sunday afternoon after Kim Huybrechts and Dimitri Van den Bergh sent hosts Germany crashing out of the tournament.
Huybrechts edged a dramatic encounter against Martin Schindler, who missed four darts to win a nail-biting deciding leg.
Schindler fired in seven perfect darts in the game’s fifth leg, which he won but Belgian captain Huybrechts took the next two to pinch victory.
Germany never recovered as Hopp was beaten 4-0 by Van den Bergh, securing a last eight spot for the Belgian pair.
“I was expecting Max to play a lot better but I am really pleased we’re through,” said Van den Bergh.
“We don’t think about who we are playing. We just focus on our own games and trust in each other. That’s how we won today and we’ll keep that attitude going forward.”
Austria made light work of United States of America with a brace of Singles wins to set up a quarter-final clash with the Republic of Ireland.
Zoran Lerchbacher defeated Darin Young 4-1 before Mensur Suljovic produced a sublime display to whitewash Chuck Puleo.
Former Champions League winner Suljovic completed finishes of 100 and 126 as he averaged 113 in a 4-0 triumph.
New Zealand reached the quarter-finals for the first time after winning a topsy-turvy affair against South Africa.
Cody Harris claimed a 4-0 victory over Vernon Bouwers to put New Zealand ahead until Devon Petersen hit back with a whitewash win against Haupai Puha.
Petersen averaged almost 102 and took out a brilliant 132 checkout in a high-quality singles match but the South African captain found his team 3-0 down in the doubles decider.
South Africa rallied back a to win the next two legs but Puha finally landed tops to complete victory.
New Zealand will face Japan in the last eight after Seigo Asada and Haruki Muramatsu both claimed Singles match victories to progress at the expense of Singapore.
Asada defeated Paul Lim, who led 3-2 after consecutive checkouts of 160 and 72 but Asada won the last two legs to earn the win.
Muramatsu then enjoyed a 4-2 triumph over Harith Lim to seal Japan’s place in the quarter-finals for the second consecutive year.
The event concludes on Sunday, with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session to be followed by the semi-finals and final in the evening session.
Written by Chris Murphy
2019 BetVictor World Cup of DartsSaturday June 8Second RoundAfternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST) New Zealand 2-1 South Africa Singles One: Cody Harris 4-0 Vernon Bouwers Singles Two: Haupai Puha 0-4 Devon Petersen Doubles: New Zealand 4-2 South Africa
Japan 2-0 Singapore Singles One: Seigo Asada 4-3 Paul Lim Singles Two: Haruki Muramatsu 4-2 Harith Lim
Scotland 2-0 Sweden Singles One: Gary Anderson 4-0 Magnus Caris Singles Two: Peter Wright 4-2 Dennis Nilsson
Belgium 2-0 Germany Singles One: Kim Huybrechts 4-3 Martin Schindler Singles Two: Dimitri Van den Bergh 4-0 Max Hopp
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST) Canada 2-0 Australia Singles One: Dawson Murschell 4-3 Simon Whitlock Singles Two: Jim Long 4-3 Kyle Anderson
Austria 2-0 USA Singles One: Zoran Lerchbacher 4-1 Darin Young Singles Two: Mensur Suljovic 4-0 Chuck Puleo
Republic of Ireland 2-0 England Singles One: Steve Lennon 4-3 Michael Smith Singles Two: William O’Connor 4-1 Rob Cross
Netherlands 2-0 Poland Singles One: Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Krzysztof Ratajski Singles Two: Jermaine Wattimena 4-1 Tytus Kanik
The latest PDC European Tour event sees players competing for £140,000 in prize money from May 24-26 at the Ijsselhallen. William O ‘Conner is off and running but will meet MVG in his next game.
Michael van Gerwen will face William O’Connor in his homecoming on Saturday after the Irish ProTour event winner picked up a 6-2 success over Ryan Joyce in the opening game of the tournament.
Danny van Trijp became the first Dutch winner of the weekend with a hard-fought 6-5 triumph over Keegan Brown, with the 22-year-old releasing an outpouring of emotion after coming through a last-leg decider to secure the biggest win of his career.
Glen Durrant advanced to the second round of a European Tour event for the third time in 2019 with a comfortable 6-1 win over Alexander Merkx.
Mickey Mansell returned from 3-4 down Kyle Anderson to secure a 6-4 win, and the Northern Irishman will now face European Darts Grand Prix Champion Ian White.
Wesley Plaisier was the first Dutch Qualifier to take to the stage in Zwolle, but he succumbed to a 6-1 loss at the hands of Brendan Dolan.
Florian Hempel produced a fine display in a 6-0 whitewash of Ryan Harrington. The German player landing checkouts of 156 and 101 in his first PDC stage appearance.
Meanwhile, Rowby-John Rodriguez posted a 108.79 average in his 6-2 win over Mike de Decker, who also averaged 104.72 in a high-quality affair.
Danny Noppert wrapped up the first session, with a 104.56 average and a 6-1 defeat of recent Players Championship 16 winner Harry Ward, who also averaged 103.32.
2019 Dutch Darts Masters Friday May 24 First Round Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST) William O’Connor 6-2 Ryan Joyce Mickey Mansell 6-4 Kyle Anderson Brendan Dolan 6-1 Wesley Plaisier Florian Hempel 6-0 Ryan Harrington Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 Mike De Decker Danny van Trijp 6-5 Keegan Brown Glen Durrant 6-1 Alexander Merkx Danny Noppert 6-1 Harry Ward
The next session is due to get underway in just a few minutes time. DartsWorld’s resident coach will be keeping a sharp eye on a few members of the ‘old guard’ who are in action this evening.
WILLIAM O’CONNOR claimed his first PDC title at Players Championship 13 in Barnsley on Tuesday.
The opening day of the ProTour mid-week double-header at the Barnsley Metrodome saw O’Connor defeat UK Open Champion Nathan Aspinall 8-4 in just his second PDC final, following up his European Darts Matchplay final appearance in July 2018.
O’Connor, who has competed on the PDC ProTour circuit since 2011, edged out Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-5 in his opening game of the day, before seeing off Luke Humphires and Luke Woodhouse 6-2 to reach the last 16.
There, he produced a stunning display, averaging 105.8 in a 6-4 win over Steve Beaton, which the Irishman followed up with a 6-5 quarter-final triumph over Jeffrey de Zwaan.
A 102.2 average was enough to overcome Daryl Gurney 7-5 in the semi-finals, before a convincing victory over Aspinall saw O’Connor land the £10,000 top prize.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed by it but I’m so happy to have won my first title,” said O’Connor, who will represent the Republic of Ireland at the BetVictor World Cup of Darts in June.
“I’ve been playing well all year but haven’t had any good results, so maybe I’ve used all my luck in one day.
“I’m happy to move up the rankings a bit and now I want to add a couple more titles to my name and see where it takes me.
“I have the game to win more, I just need to be more consistent and produce a lot better than I have been doing over the years, but the same can be said for many players on tour.”
A hard-fought final began with four consecutive breaks of throw, before the pair exchanged holds to make it 3-3 after a tight opening.
O’Connor then hit tops to hold throw once again, and followed it with an 11-dart break to open up a two-leg gap for the first time at 5-3.
The Irish number two made no mistake on double 16 to assert his dominance at 6-3, before Aspinall stopped the rot with a hold of throw.
However, O’Connor showed no signs of wavering as he found double 12 for a 13-darter to go within a leg of the title, before the determined former Tom Kirby Memorial Trophy winner saw off 68 to seal a famous win.
Despite a below-par display in the final, Aspinall continued his sensational form with a first final appearance since being crowned UK Open Champion in March.
The World Championship semi-finalist, who claimed his first PDC title in Barnsley in September 2018, defeated Adrian Lewis 7-4 in a thrilling semi-final in what turned out to be the highlight of the Stockport thrower’s day.
Elsewhere, Justin Pipe made it two quarter-final appearances in just over a month, while Christian Kist enjoyed a return to form with a first quarter-final berth since November 2016.
Departing Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld continued his resurgence with a run to the last 16, which included a first-round defeat of Corey Cadby, while Peter Wright also made it to the last eight.
Premier League stars Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith were joined by Glen Durrant in exiting the tournament before the last 16 stages, while it was a disappointing return to Gary Anderson who was eliminated in the first round.
Wednesday will see the second day of the Players Championship mid-week action in Barnsley.
Players Championship 13 Tuesday April 30, The Barnsley Metrodome Last 16 Christian Kist 6-4 Mark McGeeney Nathan Aspinall 6-0 Robert Owen Peter Wright 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld Adrian Lewis 6-4 Cristo Reyes William O’Connor 6-4 Steve Beaton Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-5 Ricky Evans Justin Pipe 6-5 James Wilson Daryl Gurney 6-5 Danny Noppert
Quarter-Finals Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Christian Kist Adrian Lewis 6-5 Peter Wright William O’Connor 6-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan Daryl Gurney 6-3 Justin Pipe
Semi-Finals Nathan Aspinall 7-4 Adrian Lewis William O’Connor 7-5 Daryl Gurney
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