Darts: Lewis relishing his showdown with Wade in Leeds

Adrian Lewis.
Adrian Lewis.
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Fierce rivals Adrian Lewis and James Wade will go head to head in Leeds tonight, each searching for their second victory of darts’ new Betway Premier League season.

The pair have enjoyed a string of high-profile contests throughout the past decade and Lewis landed a nine-dart finish when they clashed on the Premier League stage in Belfast last year.

James Wade.

James Wade.

“We were two youngsters who came through around the same time and we’ve had some great matches down the years,” said Lewis ahead of their latest showdown at the First Direct Arena.

“I think I’ve been in the top-16 now since probably the second year of my career and James has been too, so we must be quite consistent if we’ve been in the top-16 for the last ten years.

“You know with James that he’ll never give in and it’s going to be a battle; he can win ugly and that shows his grit and determination.

“I get frustrated with myself because you want that perfection - I could hit five ten-darters and still be frustrated with hitting an 18-dart leg! It’s a weird game.

“Last year I hit a nine-darter against James, so hopefully in Leeds I can show something to the crowd again. If I could hit a nine-darter there, I’d love it.”

Also tonight, unbeaten reigning champion Michael van Gerwen takes on Jelle Klaasen in all-Dutch battle which sees the latter aiming to claim his first points of the season.

Van Gerwen, meanwhile, achieved a moment of history with two nine-dart finishes in one match on his way to victory in a UK Open Qualifier last Friday.

An all-Scottish clash sees the players ranked second and third in the world, Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, also meet - with colourful Wright having won his third ranking title in the space of nine days on Sunday.

Night Three also sees basement rivals Dave Chisnall and Kim Huybrechts bidding to win their first games of the season, with the Belgian ace having claimed a draw with Van Barneveld in Nottingham last week.

“It’s the Premier League, you’re playing the ten best players in the world and you can’t afford to miss,” said Huybrechts. “When you miss you lose, it’s as simple as that.

“A draw was probably a fair result last week but I’ve got to keep fighting.”

Highlight of tonight will be Phil Taylor’s clash with Raymond Van Barneveld, which is third match on.

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