THE PDC will take darts back to Alexandra Palace on Thursday following a near 30-year absence from the north London venue. The 13th league night of the 2007 Holsten Premier League Darts will take place in the West Hall at the prestigious venue, preceding the arrival of the Labdrokes.com World Darts Championship in December.
Alexandra Palace became famous in darting circles for hosting the final stages of the News of the World championships between 1963 and 1977. The last ever News of the World final staged at Alexandra Palace was won by Mick Norris on 30 April 1977 – with Premier League Darts returning to the venue almost 30 years to the day later.
“It should be a fabulous night and hopefully the start of a long association between the PDC and Alexandra Palace,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn. “The interest from fans throughout the Holsten Premier League has been amazing, but so much attention has been on this week.
“Our players cannot wait to play in this arena and we are all looking forward to a great evening’s entertainment.” Four matches involving the world’s best eight players will be played on Thursday evening, including the all-Dutch clash between World Champion Raymond van Barneveld and Roland Scholten. “I’ve had a tour of Alexandra Palace, and it’s great,” said van Barneveld. “It’s a huge venue. “The acoustics will be good and it will be a good atmosphere.”
Phil Taylor meets his former practice partner Adrian Lewis, and he added: “It’s fantastic. “Alexandra Palce reminds me a bit of the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, when you first walk in, because of the foyer. “It also feels like one of the big hotels in Las Vegas, you know you are somewhere special when you are in the venue.”
Taylor’s win over Colin Lloyd last week ensured that he will finish top of the table following the 14 league nights, and also extended his unbeaten run in three years of the event. “I’m over the moon,” he added. “Obviously I don’t want to lose now but it’s going to be a big match against young Adrian this week. “I don’t want to get beaten anyway and it’s not about sending a message out to the other players – I just want to win the tournament.”
A win for van Barneveld would confirm that he will finish either second or third – avoiding Taylor in the semi-finals. “Of course you want to avoid Phil but at the end it will be four world class darts players in the play-offs,” said the Dutchman, who turned 40 last Friday. “I’ll have to work very hard to get to the final – you saw last year that I lost to Roland Scholten in the semis.
“I’ve been working very hard recently to get my best form back. I’m on the Atkins diet and I feel confident every week now. “I never did two or three practice days before with top players like Roland, Co Stompe or Edwin Max in Holland and I’m working hard, also doing fitness training every day. “I’m feeling fit and very good, and more kilos will disappear in the next few weeks.”
Holsten Premier League Darts – Night 13, Alexandra Palace, London
Peter Manley v Dennis Priestley
Terry Jenkins v Colin Lloyd
Raymond van Barneveld v Roland Scholten
Adrian Lewis v Phil Taylor
Live on Sky Sports from 7.30pm
Please note the new order of play at the request of Sky Sports