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ADRIAN LEWIS could end Gary Anderson^s hopes of retaining the McCoy^s Premier League Darts title when the pair clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Thursday, as the battle for places in the £450,000 tournament^s Play-Offs reaches a critical night.

Reigning champion Anderson has slumped to the foot of the Premier League table in recent weeks, having picked up only one point from seven matches since defeating Lewis 8-1 in Exeter on March 1.

The Scot has to defeat Lewis in Thursday^s repeat of the 2011 Premier League final if he is to keep alive his slim hopes of making the Play-Offs, with the World Champion knowing that a victory in Liverpool would put him closer to a semi-final place.

"It^s a massive match," said Lewis, who defeated league leader Phil Taylor 8-5 last week. "Gary^s lost six out of his last seven but there^s no doubt he^ll be trying his hardest against me.

"You can^t take him lightly because he^s incredibly talented and he^s the defending champion.

"I^m getting my consistency back now - I didn^t hit as many 180s as I^d hoped last week but the 140s were flying in and I^m practising well. I^ve got to go up there with a strong mind again and hopefully I can get the job done."

Anderson was defeated by Kevin Painter in Bournemouth a week ago, and has to defeat Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld and Taylor in his final three games if he is to reach next month^s Play-Offs.

"I know it^s an uphill task to make the Play-Offs now but I^ll be giving it my all in the last three weeks," said Anderson, who lost his father a month ago and missed the league night in Cardiff to attend the funeral in Scotland.

"I had a great result last time I played Adrian and I^ve got to play like that again to keep my chances alive. It^s been a tough time and my darts has suffered, but my game will come back eventually."

The league night in Liverpool could also prove crucial to the Play-Off hopes of this season^s newcomers Kevin Painter and Andy Hamilton, who play James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld respectively.

The duo would need to avoid defeat to keep their hopes of reaching the top four alive, with Painter having overcome Anderson in Bournemouth to win his fourth game of the season.

"If I^d lost last week I^d have been out of the picture, but if I win my next three games I^ll be on 14 points and even that might not be enough to get me in," said Painter.

"I^m a realist in that I^m a rank outsider to qualify for the Play-Offs. I think I should have four more points than I have got because I^ve lost a couple of games that I feel I should have won, and that would have put me right in the mix.

"I^m on eight points but I could have been on ten or 12, but I^ll give my best in every game and I^ll end up in the table where I deserve to be."

Hamilton has joined Painter on eight league points with a win and two draws in the past two weeks, and plays five-time World Champion van Barneveld in Liverpool.

"I^m still fighting for the Play-Offs, and I^ve got three more games left which I^m capable of winning," said Hamilton, January^s World Championship finalist.

"I^m battling for points every week and I never give in. I^ve been getting draws but they^re not defeats, so I^ve been getting points on the board.

"I^ve got another tough game this week. Barney lost in Bournemouth but he will come out firing on Thursday but I^m here to perform as well as I can."

Van Barneveld was defeated 8-4 by Simon Whitlock last week, but knows that a victory over Hamilton would strengthen his claims for a Play-Off place, as he sits in fifth place, one point behind Wade and Lewis.

"Last week^s result doesn^t change anything for me," said the Dutchman. "Even if I^d won I think I had to win in Liverpool and also another game after that so I^ll try to do my best against Andy.

"Last week wasn^t my night and it was disappointing for me. I didn^t score like I can do and Simon played well, he hit some crucial finishes and I missed too many doubles.

"I^ve been practising really hard on doubles and they^ve not been going in, and there^s no explanation for that. I hit too many 60s and tons, and these guys are the best in the world and will punish you."

The night^s other game in Liverpool sees the Premier League^s top two, Phil Taylor and Simon Whitlock clash.

Taylor has already booked his Play-Off place despite suffering a first defeat of the season against Lewis last week, while Whitlock could secure his semi-final spot if takes a point - or more - from the clash.

"It^s going to be very difficult," said Whitlock. "Phil^s having a great season so if I can get something out of the game, be that a draw or a win, it will be absolutely brilliant.

"With three weeks left I want more than 14 points because I don^t know if that will be enough to get me into the Play-Offs and I certainly don^t want to have to find out!"

Taylor hit a Premier League record average of 117.35 when he overcame Whitlock 8-4 in their previous meeting this season, in Exeter in March, and he admits he is looking to bounce back strongly from his loss to Lewis.

"It was disappointing to lose last week but Adrian played well and took his chances," said Taylor. "I know Simon will be coming out all guns blazing because he knows he can get into the Play-Offs so I^ll be ready for that and it should be another great game."

A small number of tickets remain on sale for Thursday^s McCoy^s Premier League Darts at the Echo Arena, Liverpool (7pm). To purchase, call 0844 8000 400 or visit

McCoy^s Premier League Darts
Week 12 - Thursday April 26
Echo Arena, Liverpool

James Wade v Kevin Painter
Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock
Andy Hamilton v Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
Tickets: 0844 8000 400 or

Week 12 Match Odds, courtesy of
James Wade v Kevin Painter
8/15 James Wade
9/2 Draw
11/4 Kevin Painter

Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock
4/11 Phil Taylor
11/2 Draw
7/2 Simon Whitlock

Andy Hamilton v Raymond van Barneveld
7/4 Andy Hamilton
9/2 Draw
4/5 Raymond van Barneveld

Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
4/7 Adrian Lewis
5/1 Draw
23/10 Gary Anderson

Odds To Qualify for Play-Offs
1/33 Simon Whitlock
1/3 Adrian Lewis
4/7 James Wade
EVS Raymond van Barneveld
6/1 Andy Hamilton
6/1 Kevin Painter
8/1 Gary Anderson

William Hill are the official betting partner of the McCoy^s Premier League Darts.

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