A busy couple of months for darts fans begins with the Cash Converters Players Championship at the Skyline Pavillion in Minehead.
With the PDC World Championship on the horizon, the £250,000 tournament is the last chance for the top names on the circuit to lay down their marker ahead of the sport’s showpiece event starting in mid-December.
All three days of the 2012 Players Championship Finals will be screened live and for free on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.
Held over the weekend of November 30-December 2, the tournament has moved from the Doncaster Dome, the venue for the last two editions, to the Skyline Pavilion in Minehead, as top-class darts returns to the south-west of England.
The tournament features the top 32 players from the PDC ProTour order of merit, a separate ranking system that only takes into account the non-televised floor events on the PDC ProTour.
Kevin Painter was victorious in the last Players Championship in December 2011, beating Mark Webster in the final to claim the first major televised title of his career.
Phil Taylor and Paul Nicholson have also claimed the trophy since the tournament was introduced to the PDC calendar in 2009.
Taylor could potentially face World Champion Adrian Lewis in the second round, with the Stoke ace qualifying 11th in the ProTour Order of Merit and facing Richie Burnett in round one.
Other stars who have qualified for this year’s tournament include World Champion Adrian Lewis, Dutch favourite and 2012 Grand Slam winner Raymond van Barneveld, last year’s Premier League champion Gary Anderson, world number three James Wade and European Championship winner Simon Whitlock.
Taunton-based Justin Pipe, who has moved up to 11th in the PDC world rankings this year, is also set to represent Somerset in the tournament, with Scottish-born Anderson also based in the south-west.
Dave Chisnall is the top seed after amassing £65,400 in prize money on the ProTour this year, taking earnings from the 20 Players Championship events, eight UK Open Qualifiers and five European Tour events all counted.
The tournament will begin on Friday afternoon, with the first round spread across two sessions on the opening day before the second round takes place across two sessions on Saturday.
Sunday will see the quarter-finals held in the afternoon before the last four return on Sunday evening to contest the semi-finals and final.
Matt Smith presents ITV4’s live coverage from Minehead, which will also be available in high-definition on ITV4 HD.
Commentary comes from Stuart Pyke, John Rawling and Mike Lawrence, alongside former PDC players Alan Warriner-Little and Chris Mason, and Matt Critchley will be conducting the interviews with the players.
Format Round 1 – Best of 11 legs Round 2 – Best of 19 legs Quarter Finals – Best of 19 legs Semi Finals – Best of 21 legs Final – Best of 25 legs
Day 1 – Friday 30th November Afternoon Session 8 x First Round matches Ian White 5-6 Michael Smith
Colin Lloyd 5-6 Peter Wright
Justin Pipe 6-3 Colin Osborne
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Robert Thornton 6-1 Mark Walsh
Terry Jenkins 5-6 Mervyn King
Ronnie Baxter 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Andy Hamilton 6-2 Andy Smith LIVE: 12.30pm-5.15pm – ITV4 Evening Session 8 x First Round matches Dave Chisnall 0-6 Wayne Jones
James Wade 4-6 Brendan Dolan
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Richie Burnett
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Kevin Painter
Raymond van Barneveld 5-6 Steve Beaton
Phil Taylor 6-2 Mark Webster
Wes Newton 4-6 Gary Anderson
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Jamie Caven LIVE: 6.45pm-11.30pm – ITV4 Day 2 – Saturday 1st December Afternoon Session 4 x Second Round matches Justin Pipe 10-8 Brendan Dolan
Wayne Jones 7-10 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 6-10 Kim Huybrechts
Gary Anderson 10-6 Robert Thornton LIVE: 12.30pm-5.15pm – ITV4 Evening Session 4 x Second Round matches Michael van Gerwen 8-10 Andy Hamilton
Simon Whitlock 10-1 Ronnie Baxter
Phil Taylor 10-7 Adrian Lewis
Steve Beaton 7-10 Mervyn King LIVE: 6.45pm-11.30pm – ITV4 Day 3 – Sunday 2nd December Afternoon Session Quarter Finals Peter Wright 6-10 Kim Huybrechts Justin Pipe 10-7 Mervyn King
Simon Whitlock 10-8 Gary Anderson Phil Taylor 10-9 Andy Hamilton LIVE: 12.30pm-5.15pm – ITV4 Evening Session Semi Finals (7pm) Kim Huybrechts 11-6 Justin Pipe
Simon Whitlock 2-11 Phil Taylor Players Championship Final (9.30pm) Kim Huybrechts 6-13 Phil Taylor LIVE: 6.45pm-11.30pm – ITV4