The PDC Pro Tour heads back to the Barnsley Metrodome for Players Championship events 22-24 this week.
Top throwers Gerwyn Price, Dimitri van den Bergh, Michael Smith and Peter Wright will all toe the oche in South Yorkshire and we should pick up some clues ahead of the upcoming World Series events.
That aside, there are valuable ranking points up for grabs in the Players Championship and Price is 6/1 to claim the spoils in event 22, which takes place on Wednesday 3rd August.
Van den Bergh, Smith and Wright are all expected to put in strong challenges for glory, while Luke Humphries is available at 9/1 and Dirk van Duijvenbode is priced at 14/1.
Players Championship events 22-24
Barnsley Metrodome, Barnsley
Wednesday 3rd August - Friday 5th August
|How to watch:|
Streamed live on PDCTV
|Odds (Event 22):|
Gerwyn Price 6/1, Dimitri van den Bergh 7/1, Luke Humphries 9/1, Michael Smith 9/1, Peter Wright 10/1
For many of the Pro Tour the upcoming three Players Championship events are the only upcoming opportunities for competitive PDC action and the only chance to collect ranking points. There are no PDC Pro Tour tournaments, bar the World Series, scheduled for August and those events are only open to an invited field.
The likes of Dave Chisnall, Nathan Aspinall, Ryan Searle and Krzysztof Ratajski are all hovering around the top-16 positions on the order of merit and that's important when it comes to seeding in major tournaments later this year. Similarly, Ross Smith and Kim Huybrechts are separated by under 1,000 ranking points in 32nd and 33rd spots and it's crucial to stay inside the world's top-32.
There is £100,000 of prize money riding on each of this week's Players Championship events and that gives an opportunity for lots of order of merit movement.
The World Matchplay is a PDC major and it remains a high-quality event. Michael van Gerwen lifted the Winter Gardens crown a couple of weeks ago, and while MVG is sitting out the Barnsley events, we can still take plenty from Blackpool.
Price may have come up short against Mighty Mike in the final, but the Iceman looked back to his brilliant best in the earlier rounds and it's no surprise to see the Welshman fancied for event 22 of the Players Championship.
Wright wasn't at his World Championship-winning level, but there was enough in Snakebite's performances to suggest that the Scot's game is coming back together. Aspinall is another thrower who had been out-of-sorts, but the Asp gave MVG a good game in Blackpool and the Stockport man showed that the class remains.
Humphries had been tearing it up on the Pro Tour, prior to the Matchplay, but Cool Hand Luke failed to make it past the first-round in Blackpool. However, the Newbury thrower has been putting up some exceptional numbers in the Players Championship events this term and he should go well again in Barnsley.
Van Gerwen produced a fantastic performance to hold off Price in Blackpool, but MVG has declined to compete at the Barnsley Metrodome. It's interesting to see how Mighty Mike is managing his schedule, after recently undergoing surgery on an army injury, and it's clear that the Dutchman is going to be more selective.
Seedings for September's Belgian Darts Open and Gibraltar Darts Trophy have already been confirmed but there can still be some jostling for positions at the upcoming World Grand Prix.
The double-start event doesn't get underway until the first week of October, but with a total prize fund of £300,000 in Barnsley, there could be some movement in the seedings for the Leicester event.
Price, Wright and Van Gerwen are a long way clear of the order of merit field in the top-three positions, but it's far more compacted down the rankings. There is so much talent on the PDC Tour these days and seeding has become even more important. The Grand Prix is a major competition and with it comes a big prize fund. Tournaments feed into each other and a good run in Leicester can move players into a nice position ahead of the World Championship at the end of the year.
The chances of that can be boosted by a kind draw at the Grand Prix, and again a nice run in Barnsley can secure a top-16 or top-32 position ahead of the Leicester event, and that's an added incentive if any was needed.