Anderson’s Scottish homecoming in Unibet World Series of Darts Finals

Gary Anderson is aiming to celebrate his Scottish homecoming with victory when 24 stars compete in the inaugural Unibet World Series of Darts Finals at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena this weekend.

The ITV4-televised event follows five World Series of Darts events held in Dubai, Yokohama, Perth, Sydney and Auckland earlier in 2015, with the leading eight players following those tournaments joined by 16 rivals in Glasgow.

Phil Taylor, who won the events in Yokohama, Perth and Sydney, arrives in Scotland as the number one seed, with August’s Auckland Darts Masters winner Adrian Lewis seeded second and Dubai Darts Masters champion Michael van Gerwen third.

World Champion Anderson is also amongst the eight seeds, alongside Scottish World Cup team-mate Peter Wright, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld and Stephen Bunting.

The seeded stars will enter in Saturday evening’s second round, with the afternoon’s first round seeing the 12 invited players and four qualifiers face off.

Anderson will play either nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins or debutant Chris Dobey in his opening game on Saturday evening – and is wary of either opponent.

While Jenkins’ record over the past decade has made him one of the sport’s leading names, Northumberland’s Dobey – who works in traffic management – was encouraged by Anderson and his manager Tommy Gilmour to join the PDC circuit in January.

“Chris is a great lad and a fantastic player,” said Anderson. “Along with Michael Smith, who’s also in Glasgow, and Adam Hunt we’ve got three top young players who’ve got their heads screwed on.

“Chris has done well this year and it was great for him to qualify. Terry might not know much about him and he’s in for a tough match and I know it’s going to be hard whoever I play.

“Terry’s always been a thorn in my side and he’s a class act. I’ll be trying my hardest against whoever I play – but if Chris goes on to beat me he might be looking for a new management team afterwards!”

Anderson competed in Premier League nights in Glasgow and Aberdeen earlier this year, and admitted that being announced as World Champion in his homeland is a special moment.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Anderson. “It puts a lot of pressure on you being back home but I can’t wait to be back in Scotland playing darts because we don’t get many tournaments up here.

“The support’s always fantastic and sports fans in Scotland love their darts – and when I was introduced in Glasgow as World Champion every hair in my body was standing up and it will be the same this weekend.

“We’ve been all over the world with the World Series this year and that’s been fantastic, I’ve loved every minute of it.”

World number one Michael van Gerwen is aiming to win a third successive televised title, after winning the European Championship and Grand Slam of Darts already this month.

The Dutchman – who claimed a third successive World Series title in Dubai in May – will face either Scottish star Robert Thornton, October’s World Grand Prix champion, or South Africa’s emerging star Devon Petersen in his opening tie.

“It’s been an amazing time for me and I’m playing some great darts at the moment, and it would be special if I can continue that this weekend,” said van Gerwen.

“I always try to win every tournament but this is the first World Series of Darts Finals and it’s a massive target for me to win.

“The World Series has been fantastic and we’ve had five great events around the world – but I’d love to be the one to be the final champion this year.”

Taylor, meanwhile, plays either Premier League semi-finalist Dave Chisnall or Australian ace Kyle Anderson in a tasty portion of the draw as he looks to follow up last weekend’s run to the Grand Slam of Darts final last Sunday with glory in Glasgow.

“It’s going to be a great event and I’m excited,” said Taylor. “I was pleased with how I played in the Grand Slam but this is a new week and I’ll be giving it all I’ve got.

“Kyle’s come through in the last couple of years and I’ve played him a couple of times in the World Series, and he’s a great prospect. Everyone knows how good Chizzy is too – his nine-darter in the Grand Slam showed that – so it will be tough.”

Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis, who won the year’s final international event in Auckland, will play either World Youth Champion Keegan Brown or Stoke’s Ian White in his opening clash.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld plays either Michael Smith, the former World Youth Champion who has moved up to eighth in the world rankings this year, or Wales’ Mark Webster, who reached the World Grand Prix semi-finals last October.

Japan Darts Masters finalist Peter Wright will play either German teenager Max Hopp or Belgium’s Dimitri Van den Bergh, who is making his TV debut in Glasgow.

James Wade, the Perth Darts Masters runner-up, is up against Holland’s Benito van de Pas or Wales’ Jamie Lewis, while Stephen Bunting is set to meet either Australian number one Simon Whitlock or Austrian youngster Rowby-John Rodriguez.

The two-day tournament continues with the quarter-finals on Sunday afternoon before the semi-finals and final see the champion crowned in the evening session.

Tickets for the Unibet World Series of Darts Finals are still available and can be purchased in person from the Braehead Arena Box Office, by calling 0844 499 1700 or online via www.ticketmaster.co.uk. Easy Access Seats/Wheelchair Bookings via 0141 886 8300.

Unibet World Series of Darts Finals
Saturday November 21
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
First Round
Simon Whitlock v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Benito van de Pas v Jamie Lewis
Max Hopp v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael Smith v Mark Webster
Keegan Brown v Ian White
Kyle Anderson v Dave Chisnall
Devon Petersen v Robert Thornton
Terry Jenkins v Chris Dobey
Best of 11 legs

Evening Session (7pm)
Second Round
Stephen Bunting v Whitlock/Rodriguez
James Wade v van de Pas/J Lewis
Peter Wright v Hopp/Van den Bergh
Raymond van Barneveld v Smith/Webster
Adrian Lewis v Brown/White
Phil Taylor v K Anderson/Chisnall
Michael van Gerwen v Petersen/Thornton
Gary Anderson v Jenkins/Dobey
Best of 11 legs

Sunday November 22
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
Quarter-Finals
Wade/van de Pas/J Lewis v Wright/Hopp/Van den Bergh
Taylor/K Anderson/Chisnall v Bunting/Whitlock/Rodriguez
A Lewis/Brown/White v G Anderson/Jenkins/Dobey
van Barneveld/Smith/Webster v van Gerwen/Petersen/Thornton
Best of 19 legs

Evening Session (7pm)
Semi-Finals
Best of 21 legs

Final
Best of 21 legs

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