Barney and Whitlock to face off in Perth!

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Five-Time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld will meet Australia’s Number 1 Simon Whitlock in the ‘stand out’ tie of the first round of the Perth Darts Masters which begins on Friday.

The draw took place on Wednesday afternoon, as the eight seeded players were drawn against the eight Oceanic representatives, including Paul Nicholson and Kyle Anderson.

By his own high standards, Van Barneveld has endured a difficult few months and he will be aiming to bounce back on Australian soil. However, Whitlock’s form has shown signs of improvement in recent months after he finally ended his miserable first-round losing streak in TV majors at the World Matchplay last month.

The pair met in the first-round of last year’s Singapore Darts Masters, as Whitlock triumphed 10-6, before the Dutchman returned the favour in January this year, easing past the struggling Wizard by the same scoreline in the last 16 of the Unibet Masters in Milton Keynes.

Elsewhere, Peter Wright will meet Paul Nicholson in Perth, as ‘The Asset’ attempts to halt his faltering run of form. Nicholson recently fell out of the Top 32 of the Order of Merit and is currently ranked 35th, meaning he is no longer an automatic feature in major ranking events.

Nicholson missed out on qualification for the Matchplay, and a good run in Australia will undoubtedly restore his confidence ahead of a critical few months in the PDC calendar.

Another mouth-watering first-round clash will be contested between Stephen Bunting and Kyle Anderson. Both men suffered first-round exits at The Matchplay, to Ian White and James Wade respectively, although they acquitted themselves extremely well.

The Bullet is playing with far more conviction after an underwhelming Premier League campaign, whilst Kyle Anderson continues to go from strength-to-strength after deciding to compete full-time on the PDC circuit in 2015.

Kim Lewis and Adam Rowe, who qualified for this event last weekend in Scarborough, will meet Gary Anderson and James Wade respectively, whilst Adrian Lewis will play Loz Ryder, who caused a big shock at last year’s World Championships, beating Justin Pipe in the first-round.

Phil Taylor will be aiming to replicate his success in last month’s Japan Darts Masters when he faces Craig Caldwell, whilst World Number 1 Michael van Gerwen will face David Platt.

2015 Perth Darts Masters

First round

Phil Taylor (1) v Craig Caldwell                                                                                         Stephen Bunting (8) v Kyle Anderson                                                                             Adrian Lewis (5) v Loz Ryder                                                                                           Gary Anderson (4) v Kim Lewis                                                                                       Michael van Gerwen (2) vs David Platt                                                                             Raymond van Barneveld (7) v Simon Whitlock                                                             James Wade (6) v Adam Rowe                                                                                     Peter Wright (3) v Paul Nicholson

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