NEW-LOOK LEWIS AIMING FOR WIN OVER TAYLOR AS McCOY’S PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS VISITS ABERDEEN
Results – First to 7
Wes Newton 2-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Andy Hamilton 7-4 James Wade
Gary Anderson 7-5 Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor 7-3 Adrian Lewis
ADRIAN LEWIS is looking to continue his impressive recent record against Phil Taylor in the McCoy’s Premier League Darts on Thursday, as Scottish pair Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton prepare to play in front of a sell-out home crowd in Aberdeen.
Two-time World Champion Lewis made an erratic start to his Premier League campaign a week ago when he went down 7-3 to Simon Whitlock in Belfast, missing 14 darts at doubles during the game.
He takes on Stoke rival Taylor this week, with the World Champion and reigning Premier League Darts title holder having drawn with Michael van Gerwen in a high-quality opener seven days ago.
Lewis, though, has taken three victories and a draw from his last five Premier League games with Taylor over the past two years – a record matched by no other player in the event – and is hoping that Thursday’s clash will help to kick-start his season.
“I’m really looking forward to it and I think it will bring the best out of me,” said Lewis, who partnered Taylor to victory in the World Cup of Darts a fortnight ago.
“My record’s been good against Phil in the Premier League for the last couple of years and there’s no bigger game than playing him.
“You know what to expect with him; you know he’ll average over 100, score heavily and hit his doubles, so you know what you have to do to get something out of the game.
“Everyone wants to get points on the board but it’s still early days – playing in the World Cup and last week in the Premier League has been good and I’m easing back into it, and I think in the next couple of weeks I’ll be fully match sharp.
“I’ve changed my darts and a couple of other things too, and I’m feeling more comfortable. It’s early days with the new darts but they seem to be going alright so far – although taking on Phil Taylor with new darts is jumping in at the deep end!
“Hopefully I’ll get back to hitting 180s like I used to, but I’m scoring heavily enough still and if I’d taken my chances last week then I could have won 7-3, not lost 7-3!”
Taylor, the 16-time World Champion, has urged Lewis to relax ahead of their meeting at the AECC and believes that newcomer Wes Newton should follow suit if he is to take anything from his contest with Grand Slam of Darts champion Raymond van Barneveld.
“You learn with experience how to deal with the Premier League,” said Taylor, who hit a nine-darter when the Premier League visited Aberdeen 12 months ago.
“You can’t look too much at the form in the first couple of weeks, although I know it will be a tough game against Adrian.
“Obviously everybody wants to win and they’re gutted if they lose – Wes and Adrian last week were devastated by losing, but they’re still young and they’ve got a lot to learn.
“For Wes, it’s his first season and he’s got to take his time to get used to the big stage and it’s a learning curve. This week will be a different game altogether.”
Newton was defeated 7-4 by James Wade in Belfast and missed 19 darts at a double during the contest, and the Premier League newcomer admits he has worked hard on his finishing ahead of a clash with van Barneveld.
“It’s going to be a really tough game because Raymond probably played the best out of everyone last week, but there are no easy matches in the Premier League,” said Newton.
“I’ve got to get my head down and hopefully I can go up there and play some good darts. I’ve been practising hard on my doubles and hopefully I can put it right this week.
“I gave myself plenty of chances so I know my scoring’s good and I need to tighten up on my doubles.
“Maybe I was trying too hard to get off to a good start. I wanted to get off with a win so much but I’ve got my debut out of the way now and I’ll get used to playing each week.”
UK Open champion Thornton made a winning start to the season when he held off Andy Hamilton to claim a 7-5 triumph, and this week’s clash sees him return to Aberdeen, where he made a guest appearance in front of the Scottish crowd during the 2009 season when Wayne Mardle was ruled out.
“It was amazing last week and it will be even better in Aberdeen this Thursday,” said Thornton. “I remember playing there a couple of years ago as a guest but this is the full thing now and I can’t wait.
“When Michael and I play we usually have some cracking games and he’s been in fantastic form, so this should be another one. Hopefully I can come out on top!”
Van Gerwen led Phil Taylor 6-4 last week but was punished for missing five match darts as he had to settle for a draw on his Premier League Darts debut.
“It felt great last week and I think I did well for my first Premier League game,” said van Gerwen. “The crowd will be behind Robert this week but I’ve got to play my own game and make sure I win.”
The Premier League’s other Scot, Gary Anderson, will take on last year’s runner-up Simon Whitlock and is hoping that a sold-out Aberdeen crowd can cheer him to victory after losing out to van Barneveld last Thursday.
“I’m looking forward to being back in Scotland,” said Anderson, the 2011 Premier League champion. “It was disappointing to lose last week but it was the first game of the season.
“I played okay against Raymond last week but I’m happy with how my game is going in practice, so hopefully I can take that up on stage this week.”
The night’s other game sees 2009 Premier League champion James Wade face Andy Hamilton, who is looking to bounce back from his narrow defeat to Thornton a week ago.
“It will be a good game and I’m looking forward to it,” said Hamilton. “I started too late last week against Robert and letting him get into a 5-1 lead cost me, and I know I can’t do that against James because he’ll punish me too.”
The McCoy’s Premier League Darts will be screened live on Sky Sports 1HD from 7pm, and screened worldwide through RTL7 in the Netherlands, Sport1 in Germany, OSN across the Middle East, Fox Sports in Australia and throughwww.LIVEPDC.TV.
McCoy’s Premier League Darts
February 14, AECC, Aberdeen
Wes Newton v Raymond van Barneveld
Andy Hamilton v James Wade
Gary Anderson v Simon Whitlock
Adrian Lewis v Phil Taylor
Robert Thornton v Michael van Gerwen
All games the best of 12 legs.