The 2022 Premier League Darts roadshow heads to Liverpool for Night Two on Thursday as the elite eight lock horns.
A revamped format for the 2022 Premier League sees each night feature a mini-tournament comprised of Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and a final, with a £10,000 bonus to each night’s winner.
Night One of the 17-week invitational saw reigning World Champion Peter Wright come out on top in Cardiff after a 6-1 rout of home hero Jonny Clayton in the final.
World number two Wright leads the early table with five points and will look to continue his blistering start to the year by making it back-to-back weekly titles.
Wright seemingly picked up from where he left off in Cardiff by claiming the Players Championship Two title in Barnsley on Sunday with victory over Gerwyn Price in the final.
Wright is now just £5,500 adrift of Price in the Order of Merit and could leapfrog the Welshman into the world number one spot for the first time during the forthcoming second pair of ProTour events this weekend.
In the meantime, though, ‘Snakebite’ kicks off the night at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool with a show-down against rival Michael van Gerwen.
The match signals a repeat of the 2017 Premier League final – which Van Gerwen eventually won 11-10 after Wright had squandered six darts for the title.
Van Gerwen’s shaky start to the season continued as he suffered a 6-4 defeat at the hands of Gary Anderson on opening night, before successive Last 32 exits on the ProTour at the weekend.
The world number three has won 64 of his 89 previous meetings with Wright, including back-to-back triumphs in last year’s Premier League.
The second Quarter-Final sees defending champion Jonny Clayton take on 2018 finalist Michael Smith.
Clayton was denied glory on home soil in the Welsh capital last week after defeating Joe Cullen and James Wade en route to the final.
The world number eight, bidding to become only the third player to successfully retain the Premier League title, faces ‘Bully Boy’ in a repeat of their epic encounter at the recent World Championship.
Smith came from two sets down in their Last 16 clash to oust Clayton 4-3 in a thrilling tie break at Ally Pally – which secured the St Helens star the Televised Performance of the Year award.
Smith’s Premier League return began with a 6-3 defeat at the hands of Wright in a re-run of last month’s World Championship final and he will be determined to improve on his match average of just 88.5.
Premier League newcomer Joe Cullen aims to bounce back from last week’s debut horror show on the doubles when he faces 2009 champion James Wade.
Cullen squandered a staggering 17 darts at doubles as he slipped to a 6-3 defeat to Clayton in the opening match of the night just days after securing his first televised title at The Masters to earn a spot in the Premier League.
Wade, meanwhile, punished a similarly poor display of doubling (21%) from Price to dispatch the world number one 6-3 before going down to Clayton in the Semi-Finals.
The ten-time major champion has won seven of his 11 previous meetings with ‘The Rockstar’ and will be out to leave his opponent pointless after two weeks of competition.
A tasty clash to complete the Quarter-Final line-up sees Price and Anderson renew their rivalry on the big stage.
The decorated duo are inseparable when it comes to the overall head-to-head record, having won nine matches apiece, though Price has prevailed in their most notable meetings – in the 2018 Grand Slam final and 2021 World Championship final.
Price, who faces mounting pressure to retain his world number one spot, will be desperate to atone for last week’s disappointment on home soil as he bids to mount a play-off charge for the first time.
Anderson, Premier League champion in 2011 and 2015, was edged out 6-5 by Wright in last week’s Semi-Finals despite a 99.9 average and will be encouraged by his return to form after being thrashed 10-1 by Cullen in The Masters a fortnight ago.
The Flying Scotsman has reached the play-offs in six of his last seven Premier League appearances and will look to put more points on the board in the early stages of this year’s new-look competition.
The action gets under way from 7pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of 11 legs.
Premier League Darts 2022 Night Two Schedule
Thursday February 10
7.15pm Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
7.45pm Jonny Clayton v Michael Smith
8.15pm James Wade v Joe Cullen
8.45pm Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson
9.15pm Wright/Van Gerwen v Clayton/Smith
9.45pm Wade/Cullen v Price/Anderson