Top darts tournament in town

Dennis Priestley is looking for a little home town boost for the first major darts tournament of the year, writes Liam Hoden.

The Mexborough Menace takes to the stage at the Dome tonight in the Players Championship Finals where 32 of the top throwers from the PDC will battle it out for a £60,000 prize.

Priestley meets Andy Hamilton in tonight’s second match and the popular veteran is sure to get a warm reception.

The 60-year-old two time world champion received a deafening ovation when he played in the 2007 Premier League in Sheffield and will receive a similarly warm welcome on a rare tournament outing in front of an audience in his home town.

Should he beat Hamilton, Priestley will meet the winner of the clash between good friend Colin Lloyd and young Dutch hotshot Jelle Klaasen in Saturday’s second round.

The tournament sees the top 32 players based on rankings from non-televised Players Championships during 2010 competing for a place in Sunday’s final.

Australia-based Geordie bad boy Paul Nicholson won the event last year but will not be back to defend his title after failing to qualify following a poor 2010.

The 15-time world champion Phil Taylor is in action tomorrow night against Steve Brown.

Current world champion Adrian Lewis is back on the stage for the first time since his brilliant performance at the Alexandra Palace.

He takes on flamboyant former BDO world champion Steve Beaton in the last match of the first round tomorrow night.

The man Lewis beat in the world final Gary Anderson meets Justin Pipe tonight while world semi finalists Mark Webster and Terry Jenkins take on Alan Tabern and Vincent van der Voort respectively tomorrow night.

Other notable participants include Simon Whitlock who topped the Players Championship order of merit following a brilliant 2010.

The Austalian star takes on Tony Eccles tomorrow night while James Wade meets Mark Dudbridge.

Tickets for the Players Championship Finals are still available, priced at £20 and £25, by calling 01302 370777 or at the Dome box office.

Students can receive half price entry for tonight’s action by producing their NUS card when buying tickets in person.