2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts preview

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2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts preview

The 2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts takes place at the Morningside Arena in Leicester this weekend, as Gary Anderson looks to defend his title.

Two action-packed days of darts will be broadcast live on BBC Sport in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

The fourth edition of the Champions League will see the event staged in Leicester for the first time, with the top eight players in the world doing battle for £250,000 in prize money.

The eight stars are split into two groups of four for the round-robin phase over the opening three sessions, before the top two from each group progress to compete in the semi-finals and final.

Saturday October 19 will see the opening eight group stage matches played across two sessions, before Sunday October 20 sees the final group stage games played in the afternoon, followed by the semi-finals and final in the evening.

Champions League of Darts groups (PDC)

The biggest crowd prize in world sport will also be on offer at the event, with a £100,000 reward from sponsors Paddy Power to shared evenly amongst the Leicester crowd if a player hits a nine-dart finish.

Just over 12 months ago, Anderson joined Phil Taylor and Mensur Suljovic on the Champions League roll of honour, and the Scot will open his defence against Michael Smith in his first Group A game.

“After being off the tour for six months because of my back this year I find that I’m a bit nervous again now when I’m on stage," Anderson told Paddy Power.

"I used to be terrible for nerves on stage at the start of my career. You just get used to being on there after a while.

"Things like the Premier League help, because you’re constantly on the stage, week-in and week-out with big crowds, so you just don’t think about it as much. It becomes part and parcel of being a pro.

“But after having that break I feel a bit twitchy about it. It’s like learning again.”

Anderson defeated his World Cup-winning partner Peter Wright in last year's final, and the colourful Scot is determined to go one better this time out.

"It was disappointing to get so close and not win, but my match in the semi-final against Michael van Gerwen totally drained me," Wright admitted.

"I was well behind him and fought back to get through to the final and then only had a short break before I was back on again.

"I'm fed up of having all these runner-up prizes, I want that winner's trophy in 2019."

World Champion Van Gerwen will be out to win the tournament for the first time and complete his collection of titles in PDC Premier televised tournaments.

Since being runner-up to Taylor in the inaugural Champions League in 2016, the world number one has not reached the final since, something he is eager to put right in Leicester after winning last week's World Grand Prix.

"I've never won this tournament before so it's an important tournament. It's one on my bucket list so I need to make sure I keep my focus," said Van Gerwen, who will get his campaign underway against James Wade.

"I'm very happy with how I played in the World Grand Prix and I was delighted to win that, and I want to keep that form going.

“I'm professional and I don't want to let myself down or my fans. I feel good, I'm a winner and I want to win every tournament that I play in.”

After Saturday's evening session, Daryl Gurney will have his head shaved in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Care charity, with over £10,000 in donations already received.

Gurney will be joined in Group B by World Matchplay champion Rob Cross, Wright and Welshman Gerwyn Price, who will be making his debut in the event.

A limited number of tickets for the 2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts are available from SeeTickets and the Morningside Arena.

2019 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts
Schedule of Play
Saturday October 19
Afternoon Session (1315 BST start)

4x Group Matches
Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright (Group B)
Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price (Group B)
Michael Smith v Gary Anderson (Group A)
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade (Group A)

Evening Session (1830 BST start)
4x Group Matches
Afternoon session's winning players face each other, and losing players face each other

Sunday October 20
Afternoon Session (1315 BST start)

4x Group Matches
Remaining group matches

Evening Session (1830 BST start)
Semi-Finals
Final

Format
Group stage matches - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals and Final - Best of 21 legs

Prize fund
Winner - £100,000
Runner-up - £50,000
Semi-finalists - £25,000
Third in group - £15,000
Fourth in group - £10,000
Total - £250,000

Paddy Power Champions League of Darts Odds
Outright Winner

Michael van Gerwen - Evens
Gary Anderson - 7/1
Rob Cross - 7/1
Peter Wright - 10/1
Gerwyn Price - 10/1
Daryl Gurney - 12/1
James Wade - 14/1
Michael Smith - 14/1

Odds courtesy www.paddypower.com and correct at time of writing. Subject to fluctuation.