Plenty of Contenders for Players Championship Darts 5-8 (Super Series 2)

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Raymond van Barneveld and Michael Smith are among the well-known names taking part in the Players Championship Darts Super Series 2 this week.

Jonny Clayton

Last year saw the introduction of grouped Players Championship events being held across five days respectively, this season there will be three blocks of four days, each block is known as a Super Series.

Series 1 was completed at the end of February and the four winners were crowned – this week the second series gets underway in Milton Keynes on Tuesday.

Prize money and ranking points for the Order of Merit, ProTour Order of Merit and Players Championship Order of Merit are up for grabs and the 128 entries for the straight knockout event can qualify for TV tournaments, including the World Championship with the winner walking away with £10,000.

Clayton a man in form

The first four events were won by Joe Cullen, Callan Rydz, Raymond van Barneveld and Jonny Clayton.

Cullen beat Clayton in the first event, which featured world champion Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright – all of whom failed to reach the last 16.

Cullen also reached the final of the second Players Championship event, but was beaten by Englishman Rydz.

Both Cullen and Clayton continued their fine form, Clayton was beaten in the quarter-final of the third event, before Cullen reached another final, but bumped into returning Dutch darting legend Van Barneveld. 

‘Barney’ won his first title just three days into his ProTour comeback in fine style beating Rob Cross and Meryn King en route to the final.

Clayton capped a hugely impressive week with success in the fourth event and rates a player to follow in the upcoming events.

Super Series 2 runs from Tuesday to Friday, with the most notable name missing this time around being world number two and three-time PDC world champion Van Gerwen.

Heading the market for Players Championship 5 is current world number one Price at 4/1 followed by former world champion Wright at 7/1 and then a group of players are available to back at 16/1.

World champion and world number one Gerwyn Price

Among that group is the in-form duo Clayton and Cullen, as well as recent UK Open winner James Wade.

Legend Barney can roll back the years

The draw for each event will be made on the day, but, regardless of how it pans out on Tuesday, the classy and experienced Van Barneveld looks overpriced at 55/1.

The 53-year-old Dutchman showed all of his class to come from 3-1 and 4-2 down to beat Cullen in the final of the third event and pick up his first PDC ranking title since 2013.

A legend of darts, Barney is hungry and driven and punters can keep him on side at big prices rather than taking short prices about those at the top of the market.

Also worthy of an each-way play is ‘Bully Boy’ Michael Smith at 18/1.

Smith reached the quarter finals of the first event before disappointing efforts in events two and three.

The world number eight put in a much-improved display on the final event in Super Series 1, where he again reached the last-eight stage only to be beaten 6-3 by red-hot and eventual winner Clayton.

Buoyed by that run, Smith can go well and has a point to prove after missing out on a place in the upcoming Premier League.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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