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Heavyweights Clash in Cardiff

Taylor and Barney share a joke


Phil Taylor faces Raymond van Barneveld in Cardiff this Thursday as the top two players in the Premier League table reignite rivalries.

Having passed the midway point of the tournament this will be the second time that the players face each other in the Premier League. In the first meeting Taylor romped into a 6-0 lead as Barney was caught cold coming out of the blocks. The mid-session interval helped the Dutchman restore some pride as he took the next three legs but he had ultimately left himself too much to do and The Power recorded a comfortable 8-3 victory.

Since then the pair have also met in the final of the RTL7 International Masters in which Taylor recorded a record-breaking three-dart average of 113.60, the highest ever in a televised final, on his way to another 8-3 victory. Odds of 11/2 can be backed for a third consecutive 8-3 win for Taylor.

The confidence to beat Taylor appears to be the only thing missing from Barney’s rejuvenated game this season. If he can defeat the Premier League leader at odds of 4/1 then he will become a lively contender in this year’s tournament. Taylor is available to back at odds of 2/5 with the draw quoted at 9/2.

Also in action this Thursday is third placed Gary Anderson against the out-of-form James ‘The Machine’ Wade. Unable to do anything about the devastating form of Taylor last week The Machine currently occupies bottom place in the Premier League table and has a lot of work to do if he is to make a repeat of last year’s runner-up finish.

Anderson, though, has looked vulnerable since his final-leg defeat to Taylor in week five, losing each of his subsequent two matches. The bookmakers, however, still make the Scotsman the 4/6 favourite with a Wade victory priced at 5/2 and the draw at 4/1.

At this stage of the tournament every point will be keenly fought for and every fixture an intriguing match-up. It promises to be a fascinating second half of the 2011 Premier League season.

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