Premier League Darts: Raymond van Barneveld v James Wade highlights week seven in Cardiff
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 22/03/13 10:47am
Raymond van Barneveld: Top of the table heading to Cardiff
League leader Raymond van Barneveld faces a big battle with third-placed James Wade in week seven of the Premier League in Cardiff, where Adrian Lewis continues his fight against relegation.
Barney plays 2009 champion Wade, while Lewis plays UK Open champion Robert Thornton, after a win and a draw in the last two weeks help his battle against the drop.
Andy Hamilton faces Simon Whitlock with the two players both on six points and looking to secure survival when they clash, with the Australian chasing a third successive victory.
Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Andy Hamilton v Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson v Michael v Gerwen
Robert Thornton v Adrian Lewis
Wes Newton v Phil Taylor
James Wade v Raymond v Barneveld
"After six weeks I'm still top of the group and everything's good!" said van Barneveld. "At the moment I'm confident but it's a very open Premier League.
"Every week's tough, like a final, and you saw James lost last week to Simon Whitlock. It shows how well every player is playing."
World number two Lewis is still propping up the table but is level on points with West Newton, who plays Phil Taylor, and Gary Anderson.
"It's going to be a tough game," said Lewis. "Robert's obviously on form and it will be interesting because I'm feeling confident in my game.
"In the past few years I've tended to start slowly and get better as it gradually goes on, but this year you haven't got that chance because of relegation, and you've got to punish players as soon as you have the chance."
Thornton, who is fourth in the league table after an impressive start to his debut season, won a UK Open Qualifier in Wigan on Sunday and knows that he can ensure his survival in the event by taking a result in Cardiff.
"The bookies had me as one of the odds-on favourites to be eliminated and I think I've proved them wrong week after week," said Thornton. "I'm going up there thinking I can win every game but I just want to enjoy each game and whatever happens will happen."
Second-placed Michael van Gerwen is next up for second-bottom Anderson, but the Scot nailed a nine-darter over the weekend so could not be in better form.
"You take every point you can get, but you want to win every game and I'm excited about playing Michael," said Anderson.
"We played a couple of weeks ago and I was 3-1 up before he came back to win, and I know I can out-score him so it's just about when it comes down to the finishes, and if my doubles go in then I can walk away the winner."
Van Gerwen, though, won the UK Open Qualifier on Saturday - his third ProTour triumph of the year so far - and has picked up three victories and two draws from his opening six Premier League games during a brilliant start to his debut season.
"I've put myself in a good position because I'm on eight points and the pressure is on Gary this week, not me," said van Gerwen. "I want to win every game though and keep this going.
"I think I can do even better and I'll be working hard to do better, but I'm doing well at the moment and I'll be ready for Gary."