THE three-way battle for the final play-off spot in the Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts will be decided on Thursday night as the league phase ends at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.

Phil Taylor, James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld have already ensured their places in the semi-finals in Cardiff on May 26 – with three players battling for the final top four spot.

Peter Manley knows that a win over Phil Taylor – who he defeated 8-2 in Coventry ten weeks ago – would be enough to put him into the play-offs, while Adrian Lewis and Wayne Mardle will face each other in the hope of sneaking into the semis.

“I know what I have to do,” admitted Manley. “I got my biggest win of the season against Phil, so hopefully it will be a good game.

“But Phil wants to beat me. I’ve given him torture since I beat him, and he’s going to want to come out and beat me 8-0!”

Mardle has to defeat Lewis and hope that Manley fails to beat Taylor, while Lewis could reach the semi-finals with a draw or a win depending on Manley’s result.

Mardle admitted: “I need to win, it’s clear-cut and there’s only one way to play it and that’s to be aggressive.

“If I needed a draw, you can potentially play for a draw but I’ve just got to get on with the situation that I’m in.

“What has cost me is the two results against Phil, where I lost 8-0 and 8-1, otherwise my legs difference would have been better than both Peter and Adrian.

“The pressure might be on Adrian the most. He may only need a draw, whereas I need to win and Peter’s playing Phil so he has got his work cut out. He knows that, and whatever he gets will be a bonus.”

Lewis finished bottom in his debut Premier League campaign last year, but is hoping he can finish this year’s event with a flourish.

“It’s going to be another tough game and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “In the last two weeks I’ve had one point but could have had four.

“In Belfast my finishing was good and my scoring wasn’t so good, and the week before my scoring was great and my finishing was rubbish.

“I’ve got to get the consistency right between both of them and if I can play like I know I can there’s no reason I won’t be winning things.”

The other two games in Newcastle see Wade and van Barneveld face the league’s current bottom two, Terry Jenkins and John Part.

Wade could still finish at the top of the table, should he win and Taylor lose, while Jenkins and Part are both vying for additional prize money should they be able to move up the table with victories.

Taylor, meanwhile, is looking to finish at the top of the league table for a fourth successive year – and complete his incredible recovery.

He sat second bottom after four weeks, following an 8-3 loss to Manley which was his third defeat in four games, but is unbeaten in his last nine matches and jumped above Wade to the head of the table last week.

“I’m through, I’m top of the league and I’m happy,” said Taylor. “After what happened in the first four games I’m over the moon to be top now, but I made a few changes at the start of the Premier League.

“I changed my darts, my lifestyle, my practice regime and it’s paid off for me – and I know I’m going things right.

“This is the one game I really want to win. I can’t wait for him – he beat me last time and rubbed it in, so it’s a big match for me.”

Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts Play-Off Race
Peter Manley
A win over Taylor would put him through.
A draw may be enough, depending on the result of Lewis-Mardle.
If he loses cannot quality.

Adrian Lewis
A win over Mardle would be enough should Manley draw or lose.
A draw against Mardle would be enough should Manley lose.

Wayne Mardle
Has to win against Lewis and hope Manley draws or loses.

Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts
Night 14, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
James Wade v John Part
Raymond van Barneveld v Terry Jenkins
Adrian Lewis v Wayne Mardle
Phil Taylor v Peter Manley
Live on Sky Sports One, 7.30pm

2008 Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts
Latest League Table – Following Week 13

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