The 2019 Premier League double-header at Rotterdam Ahoy begins with Night Eight on Wednesday, as Raymond van Barneveld battles to keep his survival hopes alive against Daryl Gurney.
The first of two huge nights of darts in the Netherlands will see former Premier League champion Van Barneveld continue his battle against the drop against seventh-placed Gurney ahead of Thursday’s Judgement Night, which will see the ninth-placed player eliminated from the competition.
Van Barneveld, who will retire at the conclusion of the 2019/20 World Championship, picked up his first win of the campaign against German Contender Max Hopp in Berlin last Thursday to go within a point of safety, and the Dutch legend is determined to get the results he needs in Rotterdam.
Gurney knows that he could secure his own survival, and possibly condemn Van Barneveld to elimination in his final season before retirement, in Wednesday’s clash, and is aiming to claim a crucial win.
Along with Van Barneveld and Gurney, 2018 Premier League finalist Michael Smith and Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price are also possible elimination candidates heading into the Dutch double-header, and they will face each other in Wednesday’s opening match.
At the other end of the table, Michael van Gerwen has work to do to catch up with in-form table-topper Rob Cross and maintain his incredible record of topping the league phase every year since his debut in 2013.
The world number one will take on Peter Wright in a repeat of last year’s encounter in Rotterdam, which saw Wright silence the Ahoy crowd with a 7-5 win.
Night Eight will also see two-time World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh make his Premier League debut against James Wade.
Rising Belgian star Van den Bergh, who famously threw a nine-dart leg at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts, will compete as the eighth Contender in this year’s Premier League, while Wade will be keen to end a run of two matches without a win to maintain his Play-Off charge.
High-flyer Cross, who has enjoyed success on his last four Premier League outings, will face improving Austrian Mensur Suljovic, whose back-to-back wins have propelled him into fourth.
The top four players at the end of 16 nights will face off in the Play-Offs at The O2 on May 23, while the ninth-placed player following Judgement Night in Rotterdam will face an early elimination.