Huybrechts and Bunting secure Betway Premier League debuts among the top stars in darts
It’s back! The Betway Premier League line-up has been revealed, and with over 80,000 tickets already sold, it promises to be the most exciting Premier League season yet.
The world’s top four players qualify automatically alongside six Wildcard selections. These include World Number 1 and 2013 Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen, six-time Premier League winner Phil Taylor, 2011 Premier League champion and newly crowned World Champion Gary Anderson, and two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis.
Leading the list of Wildcards is, of course, five-time World Champion and defending Betway Premier League Champion, Raymond van Barneveld.
As the tournament celebrates its 11th season, he’ll be joined by debutant Englishman Stephen Bunting and Belgian Kim Huybrechts. The latter has enjoyed an impressive season that featured a nine-darter during a win over MVG in the Grand Slam of Darts.
2014 Lakeside Champion Bunting has enjoyed a top first year on the PDC circuit, winning a UK Open Qualifier on his opening weekend of action before reaching the World Championship quarter-finals and the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix.
‘The Machine’ James Wade will also make a triumphant return to the tournament this year after winning the Masters, two PDC ranking events and reaching the World Grand Prix final.
To round off the list, they’ll all be joined by fan-favourites Peter Wright, 2014 World Championship finalist, and November’s Grand Slam of Darts runner-up Dave Chisnall, who both retain their places for a second season of Betway Premier League Darts.
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn said after the announcement: “The competition for places in the Betway Premier League Darts has been greater than ever this year, and there was a huge amount of deliberation over a host of players for selection.
“We welcome two debutants this season, and Stephen Bunting and Kim Huybrechts will bring an exciting new dimension to the tournament – their games are perfect for the Betway Premier League Darts stage!
“In addition, we welcome James Wade back to the tournament and he has fully deserved his place following an excellent last 12 months. He is another proven performer on the big stage who will rise to the challenge of competing for his second Premier League win.”
The Betway Premier League is the ultimate darts competition, bringing together the ten best players in the world to compete over 16 weeks across the UK and Ireland, kicking off at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Thursday 5th February.
Following the opening night, the action moves to Bournemouth, Liverpool, Belfast, Exeter, Nottingham, Glasgow and Dublin before Week Nine in Manchester sees the bottom two players eliminated on “Judgement Night”.
The remaining eight players then do battle across Sheffield, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Birmingham, Newcastle and Brighton as they bid to win places in the playoffs for the showpiece event at London’s O2 Arena on 21st May.
Betway Premier League Darts Field:
Michael van Gerwen (1)
Phil Taylor (2)
Gary Anderson (3)
Adrian Lewis (4)
Peter Wright (5)
James Wade (6)
Dave Chisnall (9)
Raymond van Barneveld (10)
Kim Huybrechts (17)
Stephen Bunting (24)