Top eight set for Brighton battle in Paddy Power Champions League

The  world’s top stars do battle in Brighton this weekend for the third staging of the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts.

The BBC-televised tournament sees the eight highest-ranked players competing across four sessions at The Brighton Centre, with a round-robin group stage followed by the semi-finals and final on Sunday evening.

Group A features two-time World Champions Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, who are joined by World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney and multiple TV finalist Dave Chisnall.

Reigning champion Mensur Suljovic heads up Group B along with World Champion Rob Cross, world number two Peter Wright and Australia’s Simon Whitlock.

Suljovic defeated Anderson 11-9 in last year’s thrilling final, and the World Matchplay finalist can’t wait to fight for the £100,000 top prize once again.

“The best memory was the moment that final double 14 went in to win the tournament,” said Suljovic, who doubled his televised title tally at the German Darts Masters in May.

“It was a fantastic moment for me, if you watch the replay of that moment it was perfect. I couldn’t believe it that I’d won such a big event on my favourite double!

“At the moment, I’m in the mix to be classed as one of the best players in the world, but I’m always looking for improvement with every tournament.

“The feeling I get when the fans sing my name is amazing. It helps a lot too and I’m really grateful for the reaction I get, not just on stage but also meeting the fans when I’m out and about.”

The Austrian begins his title defence in Saturday afternoon’s opening match against Cross, who is looking forward to playing in front of a home Sussex crowd across the weekend.

“I’m feeling nice and refreshed for this one and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of a local crowd,” said Cross, who lives in nearby Hastings.

“I feel good, I’ve been practicing well and I’m feeling quietly confident for this weekend.

“My expectation levels are high and maybe I haven’t won enough over the last five months, but now I’ve got a lot of chances to change that for the rest of the year.”

Van Gerwen takes on Chisnall on Saturday afternoon, with the world number one eager to get his hands on the Champions League trophy for the first time.

“I was runner-up to Phil Taylor two years ago and last year was a bit of a disaster for me so I am really determined to put it right and win the title,” said Van Gerwen, who suffered a group stage exit 12 months ago.

“I’ve had a nice break with my family but now it is back to business and this tournament for me is the start of the big run of big events up to the World Championship.

“This is the time of year you need to be at your best and I am fully focused on winning as much as I can for the next few months. That starts in Brighton.”

Saturday afternoon’s opening fixtures will also see Anderson face Gurney in Group A, while Wright will take on Whitlock in Group B.

Scottish star Anderson has already won the UK Open and World Matchplay titles during 2018 and is targeting another big triumph on Sunday night.

“It’s the top eight, the best players in the world so if you come out winning this tournament, you’ve done well,” said Anderson. “They’re all top-class players and it’s going to be a good event.

“I don’t put myself under any pressure and I’m playing well, so hopefully that carries on to this weekend.”

The Paddy Power Champions League of Darts, offering £250,000 in prize money, will be broadcast live on BBC1 and BBC2 throughout the weekend, as well as through the PDC’s series of international broadcast partners.

Paddy Power Champions League of Darts

Saturday September 22

Afternoon Session (1.15pm)

4x Group Matches

Rob Cross v Mensur Suljovic (B)

Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock (B)

Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney (A)

Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall (A)


Evening Session (6.30pm)

4x Group Matches


Sunday September 23

Afternoon Session (1pm)

4x Group Matches


Evening Session (6.30pm)

Semi-Finals & Final



Group Matches – Best of 19 legs

Semi-Finals & Final – Best of 21 legs

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