Darts: Whyte & Mackay Premier League Preview
Belfast’s Odyssey Arena will witness a rematch of the 2008 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts final between Phil Taylor and James Wade on Thursday.
The £400,000 tournament returns to Northern Ireland for the fourth of 14 league nights, which will be played in front of over 7,000 fans.
The night’s four games include the clash between Taylor and Wade, who are currently ranked first and second in the world and battled in three major finals during 2008.
After Wade ended Taylor’s unbeaten Premier League record last January, the Stoke star won the Premier League decider as well as the finals of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic and Stan James World Matchplay during the summer.
Taylor’s winning start to this year’s event was ended by a draw against Terry Jenkins in Coventry last week, with Wade looking to capitalise in Belfast.
"This year I’m wiser, a little bit older and not as wet behind the ears and I can’t wait to play Phil," said Wade. "I’ll be up for it.
"He brings something good out of me but I seem to bring something fantastic out of him.
"I think I bring something special out of him. I don’t think I’ve ever played him where he hasn’t averaged over 100 - and it’s usually 105!
"Terry proved last week that he’s human and he does miss - but unfortunately when I play as well as Terry did against him he plays even better!"
Wade claimed his first victory of this year’s event last week with an 8-4 defeat of Raymond van Barneveld - reeling off seven successive legs with an average of almost 120 to take the win.
"I feel a part of the Premier League now," he said. "I felt like a spare part in the first couple of weeks, I was playing badly but have proved I can still play darts.
"I’ve got to try and keep my feet on the ground and continue that success, rather than get all excited with it."
Table-topper Mervyn King faces Jelle Klaasen as he looks to take a fourth successive win and continue his superb Premier League debut.
"Some people think they’ve seen the best of me, but there’s more to come," said King.
"I’m over the moon with the start I’ve made and I want to keep that going against Jelle."
Van Barneveld, the world number three who has been a semi-finalist in his three previous Premier League Darts campaigns, takes on unbeaten Jenkins as they both seek their first victory of the tournament.
Canada’s John Part, who lost to King in Coventry, is also looking for his maiden win of 2009 when he takes on Wayne Mardle.
"John’s had two draws and I thought in Coventry he played pretty well but lost," said Mardle.
"He’s a three-time World Champion and he’ll want to get that first win, but he’s never a wounded animal - he’s class and it will be just as hard in Belfast as any other week."
Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts
Week Four - Odyssey Arena, Belfast
John Part v Wayne Mardle
Mervyn King v Jelle Klaasen
James Wade v Phil Taylor
Terry Jenkins v Raymond van Barneveld
Live on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD2 from 7pm
Boylesports.com Match Odds
John Part 23/20, Wayne Mardle 7/5, Draw 4/1
Mervyn King 1/2, Jelle Klaasen 3/1, Draw 5/1
James Wade 11/2, Phil Taylor 3/10, Draw 11/2
Terry Jenkins 5/2, Raymond van Barneveld 8/13, Draw 9/2
Story By; The Oche.com