Reigning Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen will take on newly crowned world champion Rob Cross on the opening night of the 2018 Premier League in Dublin, after the fixtures for the first nine weeks of action were confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.
Ten of the world’s top stars, including four debutants, will begin their Premier League campaigns at Dublin’s 3Arena on February 1st, with the 16-week campaign being broadcast live on Sky Sports and worldwide.
The season will once again include Judgement Night which takes place in Belfast after nine weeks, where the bottom two players in the table are eliminated after all the players have faced each-other once in the league phase. The remaining eight players will then be left to battle it out for four play-off places at the O2 in London on May 17th.
However, the opening night in Dublin on February 1st will feature a titanic tussle between Van Gerwen and Cross, in a repeat of their epic semi-final clash at last month’s World Championship, which went to a sudden-death leg.
‘The Green Machine’ is bidding for a third successive Premier League crown in 2018, having topped the league phase for five consecutive years since his debut in 2013, whilst Cross is making his Premier League debut having enjoyed a stunning emergence in 2017.
Another stand-out tie sees world number two Peter Wright face Welsh debutant Gerwyn Price in a repeat of last year’s UK Open Final, whilst World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney makes his Premier League bow against five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson meets his protégé Michael Smith on the opening night, whilst the returning Simon Whitlock opens up the tournament with a clash against the fourth debutant of this year’s event- Champions League winner Mensur Suljovic.
Night two in Cardiff is headlined by a clash between the world’s top two Van Gerwen and Wright in a repeat of last year’s final, which saw ‘Snakebite’ squander six match darts in a dramatic affair.
Another tasty tie sees two-time Premier League winner Anderson meet home favourite Price at the Motorpoint Arena, as Cross plays Whitlock, Smith meets Gurney, whilst Van Barneveld and Suljovic collide in the final match of the evening.
Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena hosts night three, as Van Gerwen and Anderson clash in a repeat of the 2017 World Championship Final. Meanwhile, the players ranked second and third in the world, Wright and Cross, also lock horns, whilst Suljovic meets Smith, Gurney takes on Price and Van Barneveld faces Whitlock.
Night four sees the Premier League roadshow head to Germany for the first time in the competition’s history, with the Mercedes-Benz arena in Berlin hosting the action. The evening is headlined by a clash between current world champion Cross and five-time world champion Van Barneveld.
Elsewhere, Van Gerwen takes on World Grand Prix champion Gurney, German-speaking star Suljovic meets Price, Smith plays Whitlock, whilst Wright and Anderson close the evening’s proceedings with an all-Scottish affair.
The tournament heads to Exeter on Night Five, with world number one Van Gerwen playing Champions League winner Suljovic. Anderson and Cross will contest a battle of the world champions, Gurney plays Wright, Van Barneveld takes on Smith, whilst the final match of the evening sees Whitlock and Price lock horns.
Leeds’ First Direct Arena will see Cross take on former World-Youth champion Smith on night six, in a repeat of their thrilling second-round tussle at the Alexandra Palace, where Smith spurned two darts to defeat eventual winner ‘Voltage’.
Elsewhere, Van Barneveld and Price will meet in a repeat of last year’s decisive contest in the World Cup Final, whilst Anderson plays Gurney, Van Gerwen faces Whitlock and Wright takes on Suljovic.
Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena hosts Night Seven, as former Premier League winners Anderson and Van Barneveld collide. Van Gerwen and Price meet in a repeat of their recent World Championship clash, Whitlock plays Gurney in a repeat of October’s World Grand Prix final, as Smith meets Wright and Cross takes on Suljovic.
The Premier League heads to Scotland on the penultimate week of league action before Judgement Night, with home favourites Anderson and Wright facing Whitlock and Van Barneveld respectively. Van Gerwen plays Smith, Cross clashes with Price, whilst recent major winners Suljovic and Gurney also do battle in Glasgow.
The first phase of the 2018 competition then concludes on March 29th, as Belfast’s SSE Arena hosts Judgement Night. The evening will be headlined by an all-Dutch clash between Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld, whilst Northern Irish ace Gurney appears on home soil against world champion Cross.
The remaining fixtures see Smith play Price, Wright meet Whitlock, whilst Suljovic and Anderson will also lock horns in a repeat of September’s Champions League of Darts final. Following Judgement Night, the remaining eight players will battle it out for play-off places by facing each other once more in the league phase.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2018 Unibet Premier League Dates & Venues
Night One – February 1
Mensur Suljovic v Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
Night Two – February 8
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross v Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Mensur Suljovic
Night Three – February 15
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Mensur Suljovic v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Rob Cross
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
Simon Whitlock v Raymond van Barneveld
Night Four – February 22
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
Michael Smith v Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price v Mensur Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Gary Anderson
Night Five – March 1
Westpoint Arena, Exeter
Gary Anderson v Rob Cross
Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright
Mensur Suljovic v Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith
Simon Whitlock v Gerwyn Price
Night Six – March 8
First Direct Arena, Leeds
Michael van Gerwen v Simon Whitlock
Gerwyn Price v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Mensur Suljovic
Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross v Michael Smith
Night Seven – March 15
Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Michael Smith v Peter Wright
Simon Whitlock v Daryl Gurney
Mensur Suljovic v Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price v Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld v Gary Anderson
Night Eight – March 22
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Daryl Gurney v Mensur Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
Gary Anderson v Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld
Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price
Judgement Night – March 29
The SSE Arena, Belfast
Mensur Suljovic v Gary Anderson
Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
Daryl Gurney v Rob Cross
Simon Whitlock v Peter Wright