By James Lloyd
Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena is ready to host the inaugural Champions League of Darts over the weekend of the 24th/25th September.
The PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) announced the competition earlier in the year and will see the world’s top eight players battle it out for the top prize.
The players will be split into two groups of four for the opening three sessions, with the top two players from each group following the round-robin phase then progressing to the semi-finals and final.
Players at the tournament include: Michael van Gerwen, Robert Thornton, Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis, Michael Smith and James Wade.
The opening session in the afternoon of Saturday September 24th will include the high-profile meeting between world number one Michael van Gerwen and reigning World Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton.
The Scot defeated van Gerwen in the final of last year’s World Grand Prix with a thrilling 5-4 Sets victory, with both aiming to begin the group stage in Cardiff with a win later this month.
That clash in Dublin was van Gerwen’s last defeat in a major ranking final, with the Dutchman having since won the European Championship, Grand Slam of Darts, Players Championship Finals, UK Open and World Matchplay as well as the 2016 Premier League and two World Series events.
“I can’t complain with how everything is going at the moment – I’m playing well and enjoying what I do, and I think that’s really important,” said van Gerwen.
“To be back on the BBC is phenomenal for every one of us. You want to perform, and I think with the groups makes it good for the people at home because it’s going to be quick games.”
Darts has become a popular spectator sport in recent years with the World Championships in December/January at the Alexandra Palace, proving a sought after event. And with the success of the Premier League – a UK tour based event – the sport has spread it’s fan base across the breadths of Britain.
The Motorpoint Arena itself has been a past success for hosting darts with the Premier League’s Judgement Day hosted at the arena based in the City centre in March, earlier this year.
16-time World Champion Phil Taylor will meet Peter Wright, the former World Championship finalist, in the other Group A contest on the opening afternoon.
World Champion Gary Anderson then takes on former World Youth Champion Michael Smith in their Group B opener, with two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis taking on multiple major winner James Wade.
Saturday’s evening session will then see the winning players in each group face off as the losing players also meet, before the final group games are played on Sunday afternoon.
The top two players in each group will then progress to play in the semi-finals and final on Sunday evening.
Students can attend the event with a special offer from the organisers. For just £5 Cardiff-based students can watch the afternoon sessions over the weekend by quoting “STUDENTSCARDIFF” when purchasing their tickets.