Belfast Telegraph

Odyssey Taylor-made for Power surge

By Frank Brownlow

Phil 'The Power' Taylor is out to silence his critics at the Odyssey tonight, with the 16-times world champion's talents thought by many to be on the slide.

And to add to the sense of occasion, this year's Betway Premier League is using a 'clapometer' for the first time in television history since Hughie Green on Opportunity Knocks.

Taylor has urged the Belfast crowd to get right behind him when he takes on last month's beaten World Championship finalist, the colourful Peter Wright.

Taylor said: "Every year the crowds get louder, they really add to the spectacle of the darts.

"I can see some good rivalries happening with the clapometer because every crowd wants to be the loudest!" added the 53-year-old.

Taylor lost his world crown last month and has opened his Premier League campaign with two crushing defeats – against new world champion Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis.

The darts legend is looking to kick-start his challenge – and some would say faltering career – against Wright.

Newcomer Wright has picked up three points from his opening two games and said: "I've never beaten Phil before and it will be a huge occasion to play him in a brilliant arena like Belfast.

"I'm pleased to have got a win and a draw in the last two weeks but I'm not happy with how I've played so I'm working hard on the practice board because I'll have to improve against Phil if I'm going to break my duck."

Van Gerwen is hoping to follow up Sunday's triumph in the Dutch Masters with a third successive victory in defence of his Premier League title when he takes on Dave Chisnall.

"I've had a great start to the season and winning the Dutch Masters is another boost," said Van Gerwen.

"I want to keep this going now and play even better against Dave.

"Dave's getting used to the expectation in the Premier League now but it's still early for him and I hope I can capitalise on him being a new guy in town!" added the Dutchman.

Unbeaten former two-time world champion Lewis takes on Wes Newton.

"If I can combine good form with self-belief, I can certainly win this league and I'm not far off that," said Lewis.

The Premier League is live on Sky Sports from 7pm tonight.

A few tickets are still available (telephone 9073 9074 or visit www.odysseyarena.com)

Premier League (tonight, 7pm): Robert Thornton v Gary Anderson, Dave Chisnall v Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright v Phil Taylor, Wes Newton v Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock.

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