THE 2010 Championship League Darts begins on Tuesday, as eight of the world’s top players battle for £200,000 in prize money in the internet-streamed tournament.

Stars such as Phil Taylor, James Wade, Simon Whitlock and Mervyn King are used to battling in front of thousands of fans around the UK in major PDC tournaments, but will be playing behind closed doors across the nine days of Championship League Darts.

The internet-streamed event sees eight eight-player groups contested during September and October, with each of the group winners then competing for the £10,000 first prize in the Winners Group.

However, prize money per leg won is also awarded throughout the event, starting at £50 per leg in the groups as the players compete in a round-robin format.

The top four players from each group contest the play-offs, where they won £100 per leg, and each day’s winner progresses to the Winners Group on October 14.

Each day also sees the bottom two players after the round-robin stage eliminated, with the players finishing from second-sixth progressing to the next group and joined by three more stars.

Tuesday’s Group One will kick off with the clash between 2008 Championship League Darts winner Phil Taylor – who was also the 2009 runner-up – and world number three James Wade, who took victory on the opening day of last year’s event, which was won by Colin Osborne.

Three other group winners from 2009, Mervyn King, Adrian Lewis and Mark Walsh, are also in action on day one, with Colin Lloyd, Robert Thornton and debutant Simon Whitlock completing the field.

“I love Championship League Darts and as a concept it’s fantastic for us as players,” said Taylor, who has won £37,500 in the two previous years of the tournament.

“You’re getting loads of match practice, because you play at least seven times in each group, and the money is brilliant.

“It’s a big tournament and there’s the extra incentive of £10,000 to the overall champion as well as places in the Grand Slam of Darts, so I know all the players will be trying doubly hard.”

While Osborne took victory in last year’s tournament, defeating Taylor in the final and taking home a total of £24,800, Adrian Lewis was the event’s second-highest money earner on £19,500.

Lewis incredibly competed in every day of the event, having progressed through each group without elimination but also seeing victory elude him until Group Eight, with that win earning him a Winners Group spot the following day.

Lewis and Colin Lloyd enter Tuesday’s Group One in top form, having taken victory on Saturday and Sunday respectively in Players Championship events in Crawley, while Whitlock reached one final at the K2 Centre in building up to his Championship League Darts debut.

Invitations to compete are based on players’ ranking after the StanJames.com World Matchplay and their availability to compete in the respective days of the tournament.

The composition of the groups is as follows:
Group One
Tuesday September 7
Phil Taylor
James Wade
Mervyn King
Adrian Lewis
Simon Whitlock
Mark Walsh
Colin Lloyd
Robert Thornton

Group Two
Wednesday September 8
Ronnie Baxter
Gary Anderson
Paul Nicholson

Group Three
Thursday September 9
Andy Hamilton
Colin Osborne
Co Stompe

Group Four
Tuesday September 21
Raymond van Barneveld
Terry Jenkins
Kevin Painter

Group Five
Wednesday September 22
Dennis Priestley
Alan Tabern
Vincent van der Voort

Group Six
Thursday September 23
Wayne Jones
Wes Newton
Steve Beaton

Group Seven
Tuesday October 12
Denis Ovens
Jelle Klaasen
Jamie Caven

Group Eight
Wednesday October 13
Mark Dudbridge
Andy Smith
Mark Webster

Winner Group
Thursday October 14

Play on each day commences at 10.30am, with all matches the best of 11 legs as players battle for places in the evening’s semi-finals and final.

Groups One-Three compete from September 7-9, Groups Four-Six play off from September 21-23 and the final three days, from October 12-14, sees Groups Seven and Eight followed by the Winners Group.

The Winners Group has prize money of £100 per leg in the group stage and £200 per leg in the play-offs, plus £10,000 for the champion, £5,000 for the runner-up and £2,500 for the losing semi-finalists. The finalists will also be invited to compete in the 2010 Grand Slam of Darts in November.

Championship League Darts is streamed exclusively live around the world through 16 bookmakers’ websites, as well as to PDCtv subscribers at the PDC’s official website, www.pdc.tv.

The bookmakers streaming Championship League Darts are:
Bet365 – www.bet365.com
188bet – www.188bet.com
IBC Bet – www.ibcbet.com
Unibet – www.unibet.com
Sportingbet – www.sportingbet.com
Ladbrokes – www.ladbrokes.com
Paddy Power – www.paddypower.com
Betfair – www.betfair.com
Betclic – www.betclic.com
Betathome – www.betathome.com
Expekt – www.expekt.com
Digibet – www.digibet.com
Titanbet – www.titanbet.com
Hititbet – www.hititbet.com
Stan James – www.stanjames.com
Betboo – www.betboo.com

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