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Premier League Darts: M v G Aiming to Shine Again

World number one Michael van Gerwen is relishing the return of the Betway Premier League – and has warned his opponents that he is on top form.

The high-octane drama of the Premier League returns on Thursday at the First Direct Arena in Leeds with van Gerwen taking on tournament debutant Kim Huybrechts.

Leyland Paints ambassador van Gerwen enjoyed the perfect warm-up for the 16-week competition by winning the Masters title for the first time with an 11-6 victory over Raymond van Barneveld in the final on Sunday.

Impressive van Gerwen stormed back from a 4-3 deficit to take five legs in a row, including a 161 finish against his countryman.

Van Gerwen, who is being sponsored by leading paint manufacturer Leyland Paints for a second year, said: “The start of the Premier League is always exciting and it’s important for everyone to get off to a good start.

“I was delighted with my form in the Masters. My averages were brilliant, the 180s were raining in and I was very close to a nine-darter.

“I’m confident that I can take that momentum into the Premier League and give the supporters some exciting moments.”

Van Gerwen was crowned Premier League champion in 2013 and finished as runner-up last year.

The Dutchman is expecting a tough battle against Huybrechts, who was handed a wildcard into the Premier League.

Huybrechts impressed during 2014, the highlight of which was a nine-darter over van Gerwen as he beat the Leyland Paints ambassador in the Grand Slam of Darts in November.

Van Gerwen said: “Kim is an exciting player who has stepped up over the last couple of years. He’s also popular with the crowd because, like me, he really wears his heart on his sleeve.

“He beat me in the Grand Slam Quarter-Finals so I’ll be looking to put that right. But the Premier League is a marathon not a sprint. It’s all about consistency and the ultimate aim is to be holding the trophy come May.”

Van Gerwen joins former World Champion Mark Webster and Australian ace Simon Whitlock in continuing as ‘Team Leyland’ for the coming year.

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