Premier League: Phil Taylor takes on James Wade in Exeter
Last Updated: 28/02/13 10:40pm
Phil Taylor: At his very best last week (pic Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Phil Taylor will clash with James Wade in the headline act as the Premier League rolls on to the Westpoint Arena in Exeter.
Taylor, who hit a Premier League record average of 117.35 against Simon Whitlock here last year, tops the league table after winning two and drawing one of his opening three matches.
This week's ties
Robert Thornton v Gary Anderson
Andy Hamilton v Michael van Gerwen
James Wade v Phil Taylor
Wes Newton v Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock
Taylor created history against Wade in the 2010 Premier League final against Wade when he hit two nine-dart finishes, and the left-hander often brings the best out of the 16-time World Champion.
"James is a cracking player," said Taylor. "He's had his problems but I know he's dedicated and he's getting his rewards.
"He's one of the best finishers I've ever seen and we've had many, many great games down the years. I know I've got to perform against him because he'll punish you if you give him chances.
"I'm really enjoying the Premier League so far this year. It's a hard slog and you're not going to win the Premier League in the first few weeks - but you can lose it!"
The night will also feature a crucial battle at the foot of the table, as winless pair Adrian Lewis and Wes Newton clash.
Newcomer Newton picked up his first point of the season last week when he drew with Thornton in Bournemouth - although after leading 6-3 was "gutted" not to close out victory - while Lewis lost 7-4 to Wade to suffer a third straight defeat.
"It's a massive game for both of us because neither of us want to be where we are in the table and whoever loses is going to be in a really bad position," said Fleetwood's Newton.
"I'm happy with how I came through last week and I played a lot better than I did in the first couple of weeks, so I know my form's coming back. I think I did everything right last week apart from get the win."
The night in Exeter also features the all-Scottish clash between UK Open champion Thornton and 2009 Premier League champion Gary Anderson - who is now based in Somerset.
Michael Van Gerwen takes on last year's Premier League semi-finalist Andy Hamilton, who picked up his second victory of the season a week ago and is determined to match van Gerwen both on and off the oche in Exeter.
"We've had so many great games in the past and it's always very close, and I think it will be pretty close again," said Hamilton. "I think with Michael and myself it will come down to whoever roars the loudest!
"It's about having the biggest stage presence this week and I'm looking forward to it - I can't wait."
The night's other game will see five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld take on 2012 Premier League finalist Whitlock in front of a capacity 4,000 crowd.