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Darts – PDC: New Zealand Masters preview

The PDC's summer tour down under comes to a climax with Michael van Gerwen defending his New Zealand Masters title in Hamilton.

Several of the world's top darts stars are back in New Zealand for the first time since 2019 for the third and final leg of the Oceanic tour.

Van Gerwen took the honours in the first event in Queensland and Jonny Clayton lifted the trophy in New South Wales last Saturday.

The Dutchman is 7/2 to triumph at the Globox Arena in Hamilton with Gerwyn Price 4/1 and Clayton 11/2.

What

New Zealand Masters

Where

Globox Arena, Hamilton, NZ

When

08:00 (BST), Friday 26th August, 2022

How to watch

PDC.tv and ITV4 (delayed coverage)

Odds

Michael van Gerwen 7/2, Gerwyn Price 4/1, Jonny Clayton 11/2, Michael Smith 4/1, Dimitri van den Bergh 15/2

Can MVG master class field once more?

Eight of the PDC's finest, headed by Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Queen of the Palace, Fallon Sherrock, have arrived at the Globox Arena in Hamilton to take on eight Oceanic aces, among them the Australian World Cup winners, Simon Whitlock and Damon Heta.

For Van Gerwen, it's a return to a venue where he enjoyed success in the previous running of the New Zealand Masters three years ago, when he beat Raymond van Barneveld in the final.

This year's event is the sixth and final qualifier for the 2022 World Series of Darts Finals, a 24-player tournament which will be held in Amsterdam next month.

Van Gerwen has this time been drawn against local qualifier Bernie Smith, a 58-year-old from Auckland who made one appearance at Alexandra Palace in the worlds back in 2018, losing 3-2 in a nail-biter against Justin Pipe.

The Dutchman will be doubly determined there are no slip-ups this time after losing in round one to Simon Whitlock in last weekend's New South Wales Masters.

Clayton hoping to go back-to-back

Van Gerwen was the only one of the seeds to fall at the first last week, a blunder which left the door open for all his rivals with Jonny Clayton taking full advantage by lifting the trophy.

Clayton beat Haupai Puha, Michael Smith, Joe Cullen and James Wade and is 11/2 to back that triumph up across the water in New Zealand.

He should beat Mal Cuming in his opener, Cuming desperate to make up for last week's disappointing 6-5 loss to Fallon Sherrock in round one, a nervy affair in which he averaged under 78.

On that form he'll be no match for Clayton who, if the rankings work out correctly, will be playing Van Gerwen in the quarter-finals.

Related PDC News

PDC - Darts: New South Wales Masters preview

PDC - Darts: Queensland Darts Masters preview

Top quarter wide open

Of the eight qualifiers for the New Zealand Masters, it's clear that the two men the northern hemisphere raiders want to avoid are former world finalist Simon Whitlock and his World Cup-winning partner Damon Heta.

The Aussie duo are class acts with Heta 12/1 to win the competition, Whitlock 25/1.

The short straws have been drawn by Dimitri van den Bergh, who is paired with Whitlock in his opener, while Joe Cullen must take on Heta. Those two have met five times with Cullen boasting a slender 3-2 advantage so expect a close battle between two big scorers.

Heta lost his openers in Queensland and New South Wales, to Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith respectively, but both matches went to a deciding leg.

Van den Bergh, meanwhile, is acutely aware that Whitlock has won both his first-round ties over the past fortnight, beating James Wade in Townsville before stunning Van Gerwen last week in Wollongong.

These two ties top the draw bracket making the first quarter a tough one to call.

Sherrock looking to build on Wollongong win

Fallon Sherrock, a remote 125/1 shot overall, is just happy with the odd win because her form has been indifferent, so last week's 6-5 triumph over Mal Cuming will have been welcome.

She'll now be hoping to go back-to-back against a debutant, Kayden Milne, with the winner playing either Michael Smith or veteran Warren Parry in the last eight.

Smith, winner of the first of the six World Series qualifiers in the United States in June, threw well in Wollongong, averaging 106 in victory over Heta and 99 in defeat against Clayton.

He'll imagine he's got some sort of a chance as, inevitably, will Gerwyn Price, who chucked in an incredible 109.98 whitewashing Sherrock in New South Wales and on that form is going to make light work of Ben Robb in his opener here.

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