There are just two weeks to go before we will know the semi-final line-up for the 2012 Premier League.
And tonight, at least two more players could join Phil Taylor in the play-offs as the action comes from Birmingham.
Simon Whitlock needs just a point from his match against Andy Hamilton, but over the past 12 months the Australian has had a mental block against ‘The Hammer’
“He has trouble beating me!” said Hamilton.
We all remember Hamilton incredible comeback against Whitlock ( from 9-15 down ) at the World Matchplay last summer and the Unicorn man again came from behind to beat Whitlock at the World Championship semi-final.
“I know I need results to go my way, but I have to focus on winning two games,” added Hamilton. “He doesn’t like playing me and whatever happens, I have proved that I belong in the Premier League.”
The game is also almost certainly up for Kevin Painter and Gary Anderson, who make up the bottom three in the table along with Hamilton.
But with the shackles off, they have nothing to lose…..Painter could certainly damage Adrian Lewis’ hopes of qualifying if he beats the World Champion, while Anderson has shown signs over the last week that things are starting to click again.
It will be a fascinating all Unicorn clash against Raymond van Barneveld, that’s for sure.
Barney currently sits in 5th spot in the table, just a point behind Lewis and James Wade.
So, the Dutchman will know that he has to get something out of his clash with Anderson, and a win would make him favourite to make the semi-finals.
“I know what I have to do,” he said. “Gary is a class act but if I am at my best, I will get the result I need.”
James Wade will be hoping to build on his run to the final of the Austrian Darts Trophy in Vienna last weekend.
He features in the last match of the night in Birmingham, looking for a special performance to beat Phil Taylor!
‘The Power’ missed the weekend’s action in Austria to recharge the batteries and he will surely be firing on all cylinders against ‘The Machine’
One thing is for sure - the play-off picture will be a lot clearer later on today!
Birmingham PL schedule:
Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Kevin Painter v Adrian Lewis
James Wade v Phil Taylor
And the Unicorn website will be updated later after the action in Birmingham!
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC