sport

Taylor faces final rematch

Phil Taylor will face Michael van Gerwen in a repeat of the World Championship final in the opening night of the 2013 McCoy's Premier League darts season.

Fixtures for the upcoming Premier League darts season have been released along with the news that prize money for the event has risen by 15 percent for a total of 520,000.

Champion Taylor leads an extended field of ten players for the event, with only the top eight surviving after week nine to complete the full 14 nights of league action before the top four go for the title in London in May.

The increase in prize money for the McCoy's Premier League Darts follows the announcement that the winner of the 2014 Ladbrokes World Darts Championship will earn a 250,000 prize and that prize funds for European Tour events will increase by almost 25% to 100,000 per event.

"Darts within the PDC is booming at the moment and it's important that this growth is reflected in our prize money," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn. "These are exciting times to be a professional darts player!"

"We've experienced record crowds and record television ratings around the world for major tournaments over the last 12 months, which is a credit to the ever-increasing quality of play on show from the stars of our sport."

Taylor and Van Gerwen will renew their rivalry on the opening night on Thursday February 7 at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, while two-time world champion Adrian Lewis will face last year's Premier League runner-up Simon Whitlock and 2011 Premier League champion Gary Anderson plays Raymond van Barneveld.

Wes Newton will make his Premier League debut against 2009 champion James Wade, and last year's semi-finalist Andy Hamilton meets another newcomer, the UK Open champion Robert Thornton.

The second week will see Anderson and Thornton meet Whitlock and van Gerwen respectively as they return to their native Scotland for the league night at Aberdeen's AECC.

The night will also feature a clash between Stoke rivals Lewis and Taylor, who hit a nine-dart finish in Aberdeen last year, as well as van Barneveld's contest with Newton and Hamilton's fixture against Wade.