Players Championship Finals: Michael van Gerwen to face Raymond van Barneveld in first round
Last Updated: 24/11/14 4:58pm
Michael van Gerwen will begin his defence of the Cash Converters Players Championship Finals against fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld.
Van Gerwen claimed the 2013 title after a thrilling comeback against Phil Taylor in the final, before also going on to succeed ‘The Power’ as world champion a month later.
The 25-year-old is seeded second at this year’s event after finishing behind Gary Anderson on the 2014 PDC ProTour Order of Merit, having missed last weekend’s Players Championship events in Coventry with flu.
Van Gerwen will take on 31st seed van Barneveld in the first round on Friday evening, and recently defeated the five-time world champion in both the European Championship and the Masters.
Top seed Anderson will take on another Dutchman in the shape of Christian Kist at the Butlins Minehead Resort. The Scottish star recorded his seventh Pro Tour victory last Sunday when he edged out Peter Wright in the final, and that victory lifted him above Van Gerwen in the 2014 standings with £113,250 prize money.
Three-time champion Taylor faces Ronnie Baxter, with Friday’s evening session also featuring Wright’s match with Dutch debutant Benito van de Pas.
Bunting to face Beaton
Stephen Bunting opens Friday's evening session against Steve Beaton in a clash of reigning and former Lakeside Champions, before 2014 European Tour winners Vincent van der Voort and James Wade take on Andy Hamilton and Jelle Klaasen respectively.
The evening session's other clash sees Adrian Lewis, who won March's UK Open on the Minehead stage, taking on recent Grand Slam of Darts finalist Dave Chisnall.
The tournament's opening session on Friday afternoon will feature 2011 champion Kevin Painter up against Brendan Dolan and 2012 finalist Kim Huybrechts taking on Terry Jenkins.
Number three seed Michael Smith, a European Tour winner in Germany in September, meets Andy Smith, while another of the year's European Tour champions, Mervyn King, faces debutant Andrew Gilding.
Saturday's Players Championship winner Ian White, who ended the year 11th in the Order of Merit, takes on Jamie Caven in the event's opening fixture, while Robert Thornton meets Darren Webster, two-time semi-finalist Justin Pipe plays Wes Newton and Simon Whitlock is up against Dean Winstanley.
The first round will be played across two sessions at the Butlins Minehead Resort on Friday, with the second round taking place the following day.
The quarter-finals are scheduled for Sunday afternoon, with the semi-finals and final held in the evening session.
Cash Converters Players Championship Finals
First round draw (seeds in brackets)
Gary Anderson (1) v Christian Kist (32)
Stephen Bunting (16) v Steve Beaton (17)
Mervyn King (8) v Andrew Gilding (25)
Phil Taylor (9) v Ronnie Baxter (24)
James Wade (5) v Jelle Klaasen (28)
Simon Whitlock (12) v Dean Winstanley (21)
Peter Wright (4) v Benito van de Pas (29)
Vincent van der Voort (13) v Andy Hamilton (20)
Michael van Gerwen (2) v Raymond van Barneveld (31)
Kim Huybrechts (15) v Terry Jenkins (18)
Brendan Dolan (7) v Kevin Painter (26)
Justin Pipe (10) v Wes Newton (23)
Robert Thornton (6) v Darren Webster (27)
Ian White (11) v Jamie Caven (22)
Michael Smith (3) v Andy Smith (30)
Adrian Lewis (14) v Dave Chisnall (19)