TV darts is back! The Party Poker European Championship is being broadcast live by ESPN from Mulheim in Germany starting tonight at 7pm UK time.
The 32 players taking part are made up of the top 16 of the PDC Order of Merit, the 8 top players in the Pro Tour Order of Merit and then the top 8 qualifiers from the separate PDC European tour. The European qualifiers are: Magnus Caris, Co Stompe, Gino Vos, Jerry Hendriks, Mensur Suljovic, Andree Welgee, Michael Rosenauer and Tomas Seyler. This mix of mainly familiar names from the European tour mixed with the best from the PDC (minus the banned Gary Anderson) should make for some good quality darts.
So who is going to win? We usually caution against using recent form from one of the PDC pro tour events as a guide to who may win an up and coming televised major event. Why? Well all the TV tournaments are played over a different format to the floor events. Also, and most darts fans would agree, some players seem to take time to adjust to playing on stage in front of the cameras. But, what else have we got to go on?
Taylor has won the last four of these events! Reece Killworth from The Sporting Life puts up a convincing argument for backing “The Power” and I certainly would back up his thoughts.
So can anyone stop him? Lewis and Wade spring to mind, as usual. They are travelling down a different “autobahn” in the schedule of matches and will both avoid Taylor until the final! Lewis of course won the last Euro event, in Germany, just two weeks ago. Jackpot beat Ian White, who has found an incredible run of form, 6:3 in the final. However, Taylor didn’t take part!
What about the PDC floor tournaments last week? On Saturday Van Gerwen beat that man again Ian “Diamond” White and on the Sunday Simon Whitlock beat Andy Hamilton. But guess what? Neither Taylor nor Lewis took part.
So from a betting perspective it is a tough one to call! Taylor is of course the obvious choice but arguably there is a bit of value if one of the “form horses” can keep their run going on the stage in Germany. Van Gerwen is available at a fairly hefty 40/1 still at SkyBet. You can back Ian White at 80/1 although he has to beat Lewis (10/1) in the first round to progress and Whitlock is 16/1.
I am not on commission but Sky Sport customers can upgrade to ESPN for three months for free. You have to remember to cancel after two months but you will get this tournament as well as the coverage of The Winmau Masters next month.
The tournament starts with a European flavour, Darts Performance Centre favourite Mensur Suljovic against the rising Dutch star Jerry Hendriks. Roll on 7pm!
Schedule of Play
Thursday September 20
First Round 8.05pm Jerry Hendriks v Mensur Suljovic
8.35pm Mark Webster v Andree Welge
9.05pm Justin Pipe v Brendan Dolan
9.35pm Andy Hamilton v Paul Nicholson
10.05pm Wes Newton v Tomas Seyler
10.35pm Phil Taylor v Magnus Caris
11.05pm Mervyn King v Kevin Painter
11.35pm Ronnie Baxter v Michael Rosenauer
Friday September 21
8.05pm Michael van Gerwen v Andy Smith
8.35pm Richie Burnett v Co Stompe
9.05pm Dave Chisnall v Gino Vos
9.35pm Simon Whitlock v Mark Walsh
10.05pm James Wade v Colin Lloyd
10.35pm Adrian Lewis v Ian White
11.05pm Terry Jenkins v Raymond van Barneveld
11.35pm Kim Huybrechts v Vincent van der Voort
The Darts Performance Centre is a resource to assist dart players of all standards play better darts. The site is arranged as an on-line coaching manual. There is advice on technique, nerves, psychology, goal setting, practice games, an area to log your statistics and an interactive area where your darting questions are answered by two sports scientists, one with 30 years dart playing experience! Membership is just £25.00 per annum.