Three weeks to go…..just three weeks before we know which three players will line-up alongside Phil Taylor in the Premier League play-offs next month.
And all seven players are still in the hunt!
And that includes Team Unicorn’s reigning PL Champion Gary Anderson despite the fact that he hasn’t won a PL match for seven weeks.
Anderson is rooted to the bottom of the table and has to win all three remaining games and he will also have to rely on other results going in his favour…..tonight he takes on Adrian Lewis at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in front of a 7,000 fans.
“I know it is a big ask, but I will keep on trying,” he said. “It has been a tough time for me on and off the oche. It will come good again, of that I’m sure, and hopefully it is sooner rather than later.”
The Scot’s last win came against Lewis (8-1 in Exeter) but since then he has lost six and drawn one.
Lewis is hitting top form…..a week ago, he inflicted Phil Taylor’s first defeat of the PL season in Bournemouth and the World Champion looks set for a semi-final spot if he can beat Anderson in Liverpool.
And there are two massive all Unicorn matches…..James Wade faces Kevin Painter, while Andy Hamilton takes on Raymond van Barneveld.
Despite last week’s 4-8 defeat against Simon Whitlock, Barney knows a win will put him back in the top four.
“I missed far too many doubles, but I am not too concerned because I know that I am playing well. I just need to be a little more consistent,” said the Dutchman.
Hamilton and Painter are still the outsiders when it comes to the battle for semi-final places but both have certainly added to this year’s competition.
“You know me….I will never give up,” said Hamilton. “This is another opportunity for me and three wins puts me in with a great chance.”
Painter said: “I think both Andy and I loved the fact that everyone – especially the bookies – were writing us off. We have proved we belong and to get through would be the icing on the cake.”
Painter ended his losing run with that win over Anderson in Bournemouth to keep him hopes alive. “I know it is a long shot, but I am enjoying the Premier League and I don’t want the experience to end!”
And James Wade has snuck up on the rails hasn’t he?!
The former PL champion has got better and better as the competition has progressed and he is well aware that a victory over Painter will means he is probably just one more win away from clinching a play-off place.
Phil Taylor will be desperate to get back to winning ways against Simon Whitlock, as he prepares to win his PL crown back at the O2 on May 17.
As the others scrap for play-off spots, ‘The Power’ is still the man to beat in the chase for PL gold in London next month.
Liverpool PL schedule:
James Wade v Kevin Painter
Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock
Andy Hamilton v Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
And there will be first news of all the action right here on the Unicorn website from the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC