Adrian Lewis will begin the defence of his Auckland Darts Masters title against debutant Stuart Leach when the tournament gets underway at the Trusts Arena on Friday night. Lewis, seeded fifth in New Zealand, will face the Brisbane-based Leach, who secured a place in his first televised event by winning through in qualifying on Tuesday.
Jackpot is hoping to replicate last year’s success when he kicks off his title-defence tomorrow. “It was fantastic last year. In any new country you go to, you want your name on the trophy straight away so to do that was a brilliant achievement. Hopefully my form’s picking up and I’ll make sure I’m right. I’ll be fighting and hopefully I can win it again.”
World champion Gary Anderson, who won his maiden World Series title in Dubai last month, takes on another big-stage debutant Bernie Smith. Anderson defeated Michael van Gerwen in the final of the Dubai Darts Masters last month, and ‘The Flying Scotsman’ is the number one seed in Auckland as a consequence.
The third and final debutant in Auckland, Ken Moir, takes on eight-time major winner James Wade in the last 16 on Friday, with ‘The Machine’ seeded 7th this weekend. Wade could face Michael van Gerwen in round-two, if the world number one can defeat Damon Heta, who won last month’s DPA Australian Singles championship.
Raymond van Barneveld, runner-up in last year’s inaugural Auckland Darts Masters, will be hoping to go one step further this year. However in round-one, Van Barneveld faces a tough assignment against Cody Harris- who stole the show when representing New Zealand in last week’s World Cup of Darts.
Van Barneveld told the PDC: “Cody’s a class player and I would not underestimate him.
I’m playing well myself and it’s going to be a good game. The Premier League was a tough ride for me in the last couple of months but I’m refreshed and feeling confident.”
Phil Taylor will meet the experienced Rob Szabo in a repeat of their 2014 World Championship clash. Szabo won the opening set against ‘The Power’ on that occasion, so the 16-time world champion will be wary of the threat posed by the Kiwi.
Elsewhere, world number five Peter Wright locks horns with three-time world championship qualifier Warren Parry, who represented New Zealand at the World Cup alongside Cody Harris. Meanwhile, four-time World Series semi-finalist Dave Chisnall takes on Australian qualifier Tic Bridge.
Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB and Burger King
First Round Draw & Tournament Bracket
Gary Anderson (1) v Bernie Smith
Peter Wright (6) v Warren Parry
Dave Chisnall (4) v Clinton Bridge
Raymond van Barneveld (8) v Cody Harris
Michael van Gerwen (2) v Damon Heta
James Wade (7) v Ken Moir
Phil Taylor (3) v Rob Szabo
Adrian Lewis (5) v Stuart Leach
Friday June 17 (7pm)
James Wade v Ken Moir
Adrian Lewis v Stuart Leach
Peter Wright v Warren Parry
Raymond van Barneveld v Cody Harris
Dave Chisnall v Clinton Bridge
Phil Taylor v Rob Szabo
Michael van Gerwen v Damon Heta
Gary Anderson v Bernie Smith
Best of 11 legs
Saturday June 18 (7pm)
Order of play TBC
Best of 19 legs
Sunday June 19 (7pm)
Best of 21 legs