Premier League Darts: Phil Taylor ready to defend trophy in new format

By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH.   Last Updated: 05/01/13 2:15pm

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The top ten players in the darting world will go into battle in the biggest Premier League season yet, and they are all looking forward to their toughest challenge to date.

Sky Sports will again screen all 15 nights of Premier League action as the darting roadshow travels up and down the country in search of a new champion.

This year, the field has increased from eight to ten, but only the top eight in the table will survive relegation after week nine, with then the top four after week 14 making it through to the London finals.

Fresh from winning a 16th world title, Phil 'The Power' Taylor is fully refreshed and looking forward to what will be a tough defence of his Premier League crown.

"It's a massive format this time," said Taylor. "Ten players and more games involved so it's going to be tough just to qualify."

Raymond van Barneveld will again clash with Taylor but he insists their ugly exchange at Alexandra Palace is now behind them.

"We're professional players," said van Barneveld. "It was in the heat of the game, we both wanted to win, maybe I hurt his arm, I didn't know I had! But we're friends forever and it's all in the past."

World Championship runner-up Michael van Gerwen will make his debut in the event alongside Wes Newton and Robert Thornton, while Simon Whitlock and Andy Hamilton are also included along with James Wade, Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson.

"You play in all the big arenas week in and week out, the atmospheres there are always amazing and it's a real party atmosphere," said Lewis. "I really love playing in the Premier League - I love it."

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