Premier League 2020 (3): Preview.

Welsh number one Gerwyn Price will make his homecoming in front of a sell-out crowd at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Thursday as Challenger Jonny Clayton also takes to the stage on Night Three of the 2020 Unibet Premier League.

The Iceman Returns Home to Cardiff for night three of the Unibet 2020.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG : GERWYN PRICE IN ACTION

Making his first appearance in Wales since being crowned back-to-back Grand Slam of Darts champion, world number three Price will be hoping to kick-start his Premier League campaign on home soil.

While Gurney is the only player without a point after the opening two nights of action, world number three Price will also be seeking a first victory of the campaign in the Welsh capital, having played out two draws so far.

“Of course, Cardiff is the first date I looked for when the Premier League fixtures came out,” said Price, who hit a roof-raising 170 checkout in an 8-5 victory over Michael Smith in Cardiff last year.

“I love playing in front of a Welsh crowd, there’s nowhere better for me to play.

“It makes a nice change having the crowd on my side and I hope to thrive in that atmosphere as I did last year.

“It was an amazing feeling hitting a 170 finish and winning in front of my home crowd last year. I would love to experience that feeling again.

“I’ve made an okay start to the Premier League this year. I felt like I threw away a win on Night One, but on Night Two I probably pinched a point.

“Last year I probably drew too many games so this year I need to make sure I turn a few draws into wins and hopefully I will be in the top four mix come the end of the campaign.”

Clayton gets a ‘Challenge’ shot in Cardiff.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG: JONNY CLAYTON IN ACTION.

Price’s World Cup of Darts partner and Welsh number two Clayton will make his Premier League debut as the third of nine Challengers to star in this year’s tournament.

The runner-up in the 2017 Players Championship Finals, Clayton has resided in the world’s top 16 for the past 12 months and his trio of ranking titles includes the 2018 Austrian Darts Open.

He now has the chance to make history as the first Challenger to win a Premier League match as he takes on former finalist Michael Smith.

“It will be a real honour to be part of the biggest night of the year for Welsh darts,” said Clayton, who defeated Michael van Gerwen in The Masters last month.

“Ever since I found out I was playing in the Premier League in Cardiff it’s given me an extra focus in practice.

“I know I’ve got the game, I’ve shown it a few times on TV, so I know that if I turn up with my best game I can become the first Challenger to win.

“My problem is consistency, but I feel like I’m still improving and heading in the right direction.

“I just can’t wait to get out there now and hopefully play my part in what will be a memorable night for Wales.”

Off to a perfect start and performing better and better.
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG MICHAEL VAN GERWEN

Five-time Premier League champion Van Gerwen will look to continue his impeccable start to the campaign against newcomer Nathan Aspinall.

World number one Van Gerwen has posted averages over 100 in each of his first two matches, resulting in a 7-5 win over Peter Wright and a 7-1 demolition of Gurney.

The Dutchman will continue his bid for a fifth successive title against Aspinall, who suffered his first Premier League loss to Rob Cross on Night Two.

“I had to work really hard in the last few weeks to progress myself and to do better but I can’t really complain,” said Van Gerwen.

“I know there’s still more in the tank and some bits and pieces I can improve, and that only gives me more motivation. 

“I’m back where I belong, top of the table, where I’ve been in the last few years and I want to stay there. In the Premier League it’s not about luck, it’s about consistency.

“I always want to aim for perfection. Of course that’s something insane sometimes but you need to make sure you do anything in your possibility so you don’t make any mistakes, and I think I’m doing quite well.

“I don’t have to prove anything because I know what I’m capable of.  When I play my game, they don’t have a chance – simple.

“People shouldn’t doubt me – I know where I my strengths are and my weaknesses and I’m a complete player. When something doesn’t go my way I know what I have to do to make sure it goes my way again.”

Night Three will also see World Champion Wright seek his first win of the campaign against 2019 runner-up Cross, while Glen Durrant looks to maintain an unbeaten start to his debut year against two-time Premier League winner Gary Anderson.

The first nine nights of Premier League action will see a different Challenger in action, culminating in Judgement Night in Rotterdam on March 26 where the ninth-placed player will be eliminated.

Following Judgement Night, the remaining eight players meet once more in the remaining seven league nights in Belfast, Sheffield, Manchester, Berlin, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds.

The top four players then progress to face off for the title, and £250,000 top prize, in the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 21.

Night Three will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

2020 Unibet Premier League
Night Three
Thursday February 20
Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Peter Wright v Rob Cross
Jonny Clayton v Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall
Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price
Glen Durrant v Gary Anderson

Prize Fund
Winner £250,000
Runner-up £120,000
Semi-finalists £80,000
Fifth place£70,000
Sixth place £60,000
Seventh place £55,000
Eighth place £50,000
Ninth place £35,000
League winner bonus £25,000
Total £825,000

Unibet Premier League