Michael van Gerwen & Adrian Lewis will miss out on next month’s World Series triple-header in Australia & New Zealand, as former World-Youth champion Michael Smith prepares to make his World Series debut down under.
Van Gerwen and Lewis both requested not to be considered for inclusion with their wives due to give birth around the time of the events. However, Michael Smith is relishing the prospect of his World Series debut, having been rewarded for his resurgence in 2017- which sees him on the brink of returning to the world’s top ten.
The St Helen’s ace, who won the Gibraltar Darts Trophy back in May, admitted: “It’s really exciting. I’d have been happy to just be included for one event, but to get all three is really nice. The PDC have used different players this year and I wanted to get in.
“I’m working really hard and to be rewarded for the hard work I’ve put in feels really good. “Just getting picked is one thing but I don’t want to go and not play my best darts – I want to go and hopefully take some titles,” he added.
Gary Anderson will defend his title at the Auckland Darts Masters after being confirmed alongside debutant Smith as competitors in the World Series triple-header in Australasia. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ will be the highest ranked competitor in the absence of Van Gerwen and is also thrilled to be returning.
The two-time world champion gushed: “It was brilliant to win in Auckland last year and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there.It’s a fantastic place and we’ve been given a great welcome by everyone in the last couple of years.
“It’s exciting that we then go to Melbourne for the first time and return to Perth, and it should be three really good tournaments. “I’ve had a great start to the World Series by winning in Dubai and I’d love it if I can win again in Auckland,” the Scot added.
Phil Taylor is also set to make his final appearance in Australasia, ahead of his impending retirement in January 2018. ‘The Power’ has won six World Series titles down under and will be determined to sign off from down under on a high.
UK Open champion Peter Wright will compete in all three events, alongside five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld. Eight-time major winner James Wade and Aussie ace Simon Whitlock have also been invited to compete in this year’s triple-header, with the eighth PDC representative set to be confirmed after the World Matchplay.
Each event will also feature eight oceanic representatives, with Australian World Cup star Kyle Anderson leading the field, alongside reigning World-Youth champion Corey Cadby- who made his mark by beating Phil Taylor in last year’s Perth Darts Masters.
New Zealand’s Cody Harris has also been invited to compete in the Auckland Darts Masters after impressing in the last two World Cups, while the top two players from the DPNZ rankings and three DPNZ Qualifiers from events on August 3rd-5th at the Swanson Memorial RSA will also secure spots in the Auckland Darts Masters.
Rhys Mathewson – who dumped out James Wade in last year’s Sydney Darts Masters will also compete in Melbourne and Perth alongside Justin Thompson, after qualifying through the DPA World Series Qualifiers standings.
The DPNZ will hold a qualifier on July 9th to find one qualifier for the Melbourne and Perth events. Three places in the Melbourne Darts Masters will go to players in the DPA Qualifiers from July 29th-31st, whilst three qualifying places will also be on offer in the Perth Darts Masters from events being staged by local promoters DownUnderEvents.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC