ADRIAN LEWIS aims to edge out Simon Whitlock to claim the final 888.com Premier League Darts Play-Off place on Thursday night, as the league season comes to a close at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.

Stoke ace Lewis needs only to avoid defeat in his World Championship final rematch with Gary Anderson to join the Scot, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld in next week’s semi-finals at the Wembley Arena.

Lewis sits two points clear of Whitlock in the league table, with the Australian facing reigning champion Taylor in Newcastle as the players complete the 14-week league season.

Whitlock would need Lewis to lose against Anderson and then to defeat Taylor – who is unbeaten since the opening league night back in February – by enough legs to overcome his leg difference with the World Champion.

“It’s mine to lose and I’m confident of getting a result against Gary,” said Lewis. “I enjoy playing him and we’ve had some great games recently.

“I think I’ve done enough to reach the top four, especially with Simon playing Phil, but I want to win against Gary to make sure I’m in the semi-finals.”

Whitlock ended a run of three straight defeats with a draw against Mark Webster last week to keep alive his slim Play-Off hopes, but admitted: “It’s out of my hands.

“All I can do is try my hardest against Phil and if I beat him then the rest takes care of itself. Its hard to prepare for the game knowing Adrian could have won before me to finish off the top four but I’ll just concentrate on myself.

“I’ve enjoyed the season but am disappointed that some missed doubles at crucial times are coming back to haunt me now where the top four is concerned, because I feel at times I’ve been good enough to reach the semis.”

Taylor goes into the game having won his last 12 matches since losing to Lewis on the opening night of the season, and produced a 109 average – his best in this year’s Premier League – in a victory over James Wade last week.

“Even though I’ve qualified for the Play-Offs it’s still an important game and I’ll be giving everything against Simon,” said Taylor.

“I’ve got to keep winning to keep that mental attitude of winning going into Wembley, and also to keep the other players under pressure.

“I’m preparing for the semi-finals and expect to be playing Adrian, but I have to beat Simon to make sure of that.”

Anderson lost a week ago to Raymond van Barneveld, who he will face in the semi-finals at Wembley, and is looking to enter the Play-Offs on a high with victory over Lewis.

“I’m disappointed with how I’ve played against Phil Taylor and Raymond in the last fortnight but I want to put it right on Thursday,” said Anderson, who also saw Lewis come from 3-0 down to win 8-3 when they met in Glasgow in March.

The night in Newcastle also gives the three players out of the running for the Play-Offs, James Wade, Terry Jenkins and Mark Webster, the chance to finish the campaign on a high.

Webster faces van Barneveld in Newcastle having ended an eight-game losing run last week with a draw against Whitlock, and said: “I’m looking forward to playing Raymond.

“I want to build on how I played against Simon last week and hopefully I can get a positive result. I haven’t done myself justice at times but I’m building for the future and want to have a good rest of the year.”

Wade takes on Jenkins in the night’s opening game, having seen his hopes of claiming a Play-Off place for the fourth successive year ended last week when he went down 8-4 to Taylor.

Thursday’s 888.com Premier League Darts will be watched by almost 7,000 fans at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, with a small number of tickets remaining for sale on 0844 493 6666 or through www.metroradioarena.co.uk.

888.com Premier League Darts
Week 14 – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

James Wade v Terry Jenkins
Mark Webster v Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock

888sport.com Match Odds
James Wade 8/11, Draw 4/1, Terry Jenkins 21/10
Mark Webster 10/3, Draw 4/1, Raymond van Barneveld 1/2
Adrian Lewis 7/4, Draw 15/4, Gary Anderson 10/11
Phil Taylor 1/4, Draw 11/2, Simon Whitlock 6/1

888.com Premier League Darts
The Battle For Fourth Place

Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
Lewis only needs to avoid defeat to secure fourth place.

Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock
A defeat for Lewis means a Whitlock win would see him move onto 13 points alongside Lewis. The Australian, though, currently trails Lewis by eight legs in leg difference, so would need to overhaul this to take fourth.

What if Lewis & Whitlock finish on 13 points with the same Leg Difference?
The deciding factor in this case would be Legs Won Against Throw (LWAT).
This currently stands at Lewis 26, Whitlock 29.
If LWAT was also equal, then the Overall League Average for each player would be the deciding factor.

Source PDC/Lawrence Lustig

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