The race for places at next month's Players Championship Finals is hotting up with the coming few days in Barnsley make-or-break for a number of players.
There are just six Players Championship events remaining in 2022, all at the Barnsley Metrodome, with four taking place over this weekend and the final two on 4th and 5th November.
At that point the top 64 on the season-long Players Championship Order of Merit will be off to Minehead on 25th November for the Players Championship Finals, now one of the big majors in the PDC calendar and the last competitive tournament before the World Championship gets underway on 15th December.
|What:||PDC Players Championship 25 and 26|
|Where:||Barnsley Metrodome, Barnsley|
|When:||Thursday 20th October & Friday 21st October, 2022|
|How to watch:||PDC.tv|
|Odds:||Gerwyn Price 13/2, Peter Wright 13/2, Jonny Clayton 9/1, Luke Humphries 10/1, Dirk van Duijvenbode 12/1, Damon Heta 14/1, Michael Smith 14/1, Dimitri van den Bergh 14/1|
Nearly all of the PDC's top stars lead an all-star field in Barnsley for Players Championship 25, the first of four events being staged in the Metrodome over the coming four days.
Michael van Gerwen, the recently-crowned World Grand Prix champion, is among the absentees, opting for a well-earned rest after his efforts in Leicester. And, currently ranked 15 in the Players Championship Order of Merit, he has no fears over not finishing up in the top 64 and qualifying for Minehead.
For others, however, they need to start winning some matches on the floor, and that includes Gary Anderson, who is paying a price for swerving a lot of these weekend bunfights.
The two-time world champ has only played in 13 of the previous 24 events, reaching the final one but doing poorly in most of the others, and now finds himself down in 53rd spot on the Order of Merit, with less than £3,000 separating him from the cut-off.
Others just the right side of the bubble but in need of some prize money include Steve Beaton (58th in the rankings) and Ross Smith and Ian White who are tied at No.60.
Smith's plight is remarkable given the strides he is making among the elite, with a pair of European Tour quarter-final appearances this year and he looked sharp at the Grand Prix where he was just a stray dart or two from reaching the last eight.
There are a lot of good players just on the outside of the top 64 who are enduring terrible campaigns and need to turn it round sharp, among them Scott Mitchell, Darius Labanauskas and John Henderson, a World Cup winner just over 12 months ago.
At the top of the rankings there are no such worries for the usual suspects, the likes of Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Jonny Clayton and others, top stars who love to hoover up titles, whether they are on the floor or the stage.
The reborn Nathan Aspinall actually tops the Order of Merit with the best part of an £8,000 buffer only second-placed Michael Smith, and The Asp – for PC25 – will be feeling more buoyant than usual after his run to the Grand Prix final.
Another man on cloud nine right now is Damon Heta, the Aussie World Cup winner who everyone has been tipping for big things for a while and is a regular now at the back end of tournaments.
In 2022, he has won a Pro Tour event, partnered Simon Whitlock to World Cup glory, reached the quarter-finals of the UK Open and last week took the spoils at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, beating Wright in the final.
Heta is 14/1 for PC25 and worth a second glance, though the calibre and depth of the field makes you think it’s worth peering further down the card for some each-way value, looking at the likes of Danny Noppert at 25/1, the impressive Josh Rock at 40/1 or even Martin Lukeman, a Grand Prix quarter-finalist, star of the European Tour, and available at .Safer Gambling Week (17-23 October) – Let’s talk about safer gambling. Click here for more information on independent resources. Gamble Responsibly.