Gerwyn Price will enjoy a Unibet Premier League homecoming in Wales on Thursday night as he meets Gary Anderson in the tournament’s visit to Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
Premier League newcomer Price will be competing on the TV stage in Wales for the first time when he steps out in front of a 4,000 crowd in Cardiff for the second league night of the event.
Markham’s Price drew with Peter Wright on his Premier League debut last week in Dublin, and faces another Scot in two-time champion Anderson, who is continuing to battle against a back problem.
“It’s going to be amazing this week,” said Price. “I’ve played rugby in front of decent crowds but to play darts in my own country is going to be brilliant.
“The darts have got to come good for me, and if I play well I’ll win. That’s what I want to do.
“It means the world to me to be in the Premier League. I’m a rugby player who came into this game four years ago, and I couldn’t have imagined being where I am now and playing in the Premier League.”
Reigning Champion Michael van Gerwen takes on world number two Peter Wright in a repeat of the 2017 Premier League final, which the Dutchman edged in a deciding leg.
Van Gerwen began his title defence with an impressive win over Rob Cross last week, and then won two of the weekend’s three UK Open Qualifiers to continue his superb start to 2018.
“It’s been a good start for me and I can build on this,” said Van Gerwen. “I’m feeling confident and playing well so I have to focus on playing Peter and make sure I prepare properly.
“This is a new week and I want to play better than I did in Dublin, but the most important thing is getting the two points.”
World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney comes up against Michael Smith in a tie which promises to feature a high number of 180s between two of the sport’s heaviest scorers.
“Michael’s more of a natural player than I am,” said Gurney. “I do a bit of forcing the dart but he looks like an Adrian Lewis or Gary Anderson, there’s no real effort behind it.
“I’m looking forward to the game and the atmosphere in Cardiff, and I want to see how I fare.”
Gurney drew with Raymond van Barneveld in Dublin last week, and added: “I’m learning all the time when I’m playing against these top players. I played well last week but it was a missed opportunity.
“Hopefully I won’t miss doubles like I did last week and I can get a win or a draw. You’ve got to take all the points you can get and I want to beat everyone.”
World Champion Cross comes up against Simon Whitlock, who was the most impressive performer on night one with a brilliant display to defeat Mensur Suljovic, hitting seven doubles from eight attempts and a 106 average.
“I couldn’t have done any better last week,” said Whitlock, who refused to get carried away with talk of challenging for the £250,000 title. “Of course I could win it but there’s a long way to go.
“You have to get through the first stages, don’t get eliminated. My first goal is not to get eliminated and then to make the Play-Offs.”
The night’s other game in Cardiff sees 2014 Premier League champion Van Barneveld face Austria’s Suljovic, who won last September’s Champions League of Darts in Cardiff.
The Unibet Premier League will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, while the PDC’s series of worldwide broadcast partners in 2018 includes BBC America, who will show live coverage online ahead of a one-hour show each Thursday night.
In addition, the Unibet Premier League will feature radio commentary throughout the season on talkSPORT and talkSPORT2. For further details of coverage, please visit www.talksport.co.uk.
2018 Unibet Premier League
Night Two – February 8
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross v Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Mensur Suljovic
Tickets via www.motorpointarenacardiff.co.uk and 029 2022 4488
Night Two Match Odds
6/4 Michael Smith
13/10 Daryl Gurney
11/20 Rob Cross
17/5 Simon Whitlock
1/3 Michael van Gerwen
13/2 Peter Wright
12/5 Gerwyn Price
4/5 Gary Anderson
23/20 Raymond van Barneveld
15/8 Mensur Suljovic
Odds courtesy www.unibet.co.uk and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.