Anderson Set For Taylor Opener

GARY ANDERSON begins his defence of the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals title on Friday night against Phil Taylor at the Butlins Minehead Resort - as the Scot bids to retain the title this weekend.

The £300,000 tournament, televised live on ITV4, sees the year's top 32 players from the PDC's ProTour Order of Merit do battle from November 27-29.

With prize money based on performances in European Tour events, UK Open Qualifiers and Players Championship tournaments, Anderson's seeding of 12 and Taylor's 21st seeding means that they meet in the opening round.

Anderson, though, defeated 16-time World Champion Taylor in the quarter-finals as he went all the way to victory in the 2014 Players Championship Finals, and is aiming to repeat that win when the pair meet in Friday's opener in Minehead.

"It's a short format and that might work in my favour, or it might work against me, but I'm definitely looking forward to it," said the Scot, who is now based in Somerset.

"Drawing Phil in the first round of any tournament is a nightmare, it's definitely not the kind of game you want to play! I'll be giving it my all and we'll see how it goes.

"If you want to win any tournament you've got to beat the players in front of you, whether it's Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis or anybody, so I've just got to get my head down and get on with it."

Anderson's win in last year's Players Championship Finals was followed by his triumphs in the World Championship and Premier League, and he added: "It's a good venue and I've got good memories.

"When I turned up at Minehead last year, I'd played so well during the year but it was a terrible draw for me. It was really hard, I had Christian Kist in the first game, Stephen Bunting, Phil Taylor, Vincent van der Voort and Adrian Lewis in the final.

"From the moment I played Christian, it went great and I played well during the whole tournament, and it sparked off a little run for me. Hopefully this weekend can do the same again."

World number one Michael van Gerwen is aiming to continue his amazing winning run by claiming a fourth straight televised title during November.

The Dutchman has already won the European Championship, Grand Slam of Darts and World Series of Darts Finals this month, and is the 7/4 tournament favourite with official betting partner Titanbet.co.uk to claim the £65,000 title on Sunday night.

Van Gerwen opens his challenge against Keegan Brown on Friday night, and said: "I'm full of confidence, I'm feeling great and I hope I can do some more damage this weekend.

"I'm playing probably the best darts of my life and I hope I can keep it going."

The £300,000 event sees former World Youth Champion seeded second following his two European Tour victories this year, and he faces Jamie Caven in their first round clash.

Number three seed Peter Wright plays Steve Beaton, James Wade is up against Wales' Mark Webster and 2012 runner-up Kim Huybrechts faces Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney.

Adrian Lewis, last year's beaten finalist, takes on Scotland's John Henderson, Ian White meets Raymond van Barneveld, Dave Chisnall faces debutant Joe Murnan and World Grand Prix winner Robert Thornton is up against Jamie Lewis.

The tournament kicks off as former Minehead semi-finalists Justin Pipe and Vincent van der Voort clash, before Terry Jenkins plays debutant Alan Norris.

Dutch ace Jelle Klaasen takes on Wales' Gerwyn Price before youngster Benito van de Pas meets 2010 finalist Mervyn King and Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan faces top Australian Simon Whitlock.

The tournament continues on Saturday with the second round across two sessions, before Sunday afternoon's quarter-finals are followed in the evening session by the semi-finals and final.

Sunday night also sees the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final take place between German teenager Max Hopp and Stockport's Nathan Aspinall, with the winner scooping a £10,000 first prize to succeed Keegan Brown as champion.

Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
Friday November 27
Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)
First Round
Justin Pipe (16) v Vincent van der Voort (17)
Terry Jenkins (11) v Alan Norris (22)
Jelle Klaasen (10) v Gerwyn Price (23)
Benito van de Pas (13) v Stephen Bunting (20)
Mensur Suljovic (15) v Mervyn King (18)
Brendan Dolan (14) v Simon Whitlock (19)
Michael Smith (2) v Jamie Caven (31)
Kim Huybrechts (5) v Daryl Gurney (28)

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
First Round
Dave Chisnall (8) v Joe Murnan (25)
James Wade (4) v Mark Webster (29)
Adrian Lewis (6) v John Henderson (27)
Robert Thornton (9) v Jamie Lewis (24)
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Keegan Brown (32)
Gary Anderson (12) v Phil Taylor (21)
Ian White (7) v Raymond van Barneveld (26)
Peter Wright (3) v Steve Beaton (30)

Saturday November 28
Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)
Second Round
Smith/Caven v Suljovic/King
Lewis/Henderson v Jenkins/Norris
Wade/Webster v van de Pas/Bunting
Chisnall/Murnan v Thornton/Lewis

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Second Round
White/van Barneveld v Klaasen/Price
Wright/Beaton v Dolan/Whitlock
Huybrechts/Gurney v Anderson/Taylor
van Gerwen/Brown v Pipe/van der Voort

Sunday November 29
Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)
Quarter-Finals
Smith/Caven/Suljovic/King v White/van Barneveld/Klaasen/Price
Lewis/Henderson/Jenkins/Norris v Wright/Beaton/Dolan/Whitlock
van Gerwen/Brown/Pipe/van der Voort v Chisnall/Murnan/Thornton/Lewis
Huybrechts/Gurney/Anderson/Taylor v Wade/Webster/van de Pas/Bunting

Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Semi-Finals
Final

PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship Final
Max Hopp v Nathan Aspinall
Best of 11 legs
To be played between semi-finals and final of main event

Format
First Round: Best of 11 legs
Second Round: Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals: Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals: Best of 21 legs
Final: Best of 21 legs
There is no tie-break in any game

Prize Fund
Winner: £65,000
Runner-Up: £35,000
Semi-Finalists: £17,000
Quarter-Finalists: £11,500
Second Round Losers: £7,000
First Round Losers: £4,000
Total: £300,000
In addition, should any player achieve a nine-dart finish, a £10,000 bonus is on offer. Should more than one player achieve a nine-dart finish, the prize would be shared on a pro-rata basis.

Titanbet.co.uk Outright Odds
7/4 Michael van Gerwen
11/2 Phil Taylor
8/1 Gary Anderson
9/1 Adrian Lewis
10/1 Peter Wright
20/1 Michael Smith, Raymond van Barneveld
25/1 James Wade
28/1 Dave Chisnall, Ian White
40/1 Robert Thornton, Jelle Klaasen
50/1 Kim Huybrechts, Mensur Suljovic, Terry Jenkins, Simon Whitlock
66/1 Mervyn King
80/1 Stephen Bunting, Alan Norris, Brendan Dolan
100/1 Vincent van der Voort, Jamie Caven, Gerwyn Price
125/1 Mark Webster
150/1 Benito van de Pas, John Henderson, Steve Beaton
200/1 Keegan Brown, Justin Pipe
300/1 Jamie Lewis, Daryl Gurney
500/1 Joe Murnan

Titanbet.co.uk First Round Match Odds
Justin Pipe 11/10 Vincent van der Voort 8/11
Terry Jenkins 4/6 Alan Norris 6/5
Jelle Klaasen 8/15 Gerwyn Price 6/4
Benito van de Pas 11/8 Stephen Bunting 4/7
Mensur Suljovic 4/6 Mervyn King 6/5
Brendan Dolan 6/5 Simon Whitlock 4/6
Michael Smith 4/9 Jamie Caven 7/4
Kim Huybrechts 4/11 Daryl Gurney 21/10
Dave Chisnall 1/4 Joe Murnan 3/1
James Wade 8/15 Mark Webster 6/4
Adrian Lewis 1/4 John Henderson 3/1
Robert Thornton 4/11 Jamie Lewis 21/10
Michael van Gerwen 1/10 Keegan Brown 6/1
Gary Anderson 6/5 Phil Taylor 4/6
Ian White 6/5 Raymond van Barneveld 4/6
Peter Wright 2/9 Steve Beaton 10/3