Steve Beaton and Gary Anderson will clash in a battle of World Champions on the main stage at the 2023 Players Championship Finals in Minehead, in what is the last major tournament before the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship.
The Bronzed Adonis looks set to confirm his place in a 23rd consecutive Professional Darts Corporation World Championship, after another solid showing on the Pro Tour where he currently sits 11th on the Order of Merit, with the Top 32 earning places.
“The Pro Tours have been tough, I started well at the beginning of the year and played fairly well. I did ok on the European Tour as well but had one bad week at the Pro Tours in Hildesheim, which cost me a spot at the Grand Prix and European Championship. It’s so easy to drop down the Order of Merit but I have my tour card for next year, so will give it my best shot.”
The 1996 BDO World Champion is still going strong with the PDC schedule growing by the year, living a healthy lifestyle away from the oche and getting plenty of exercise whilst being back home in Norfolk.
“This is my 33rd year on the trot, I can’t believe it as every year gets tougher. I go cycling and swimming most days when I’m home which has helped with my longevity.”
Steve has a tough challenge in front of him on Friday evening as he faces 2014 Players Championship Finals winner Gary Anderson, who recently reached the Quarter Finals of the Grand Slam of Darts. Beaton clinched a 10-8 win in one of the clashes between the pair in the 4th Round at the 2019 UK Open.
“Me and Gary have had a few ding dong games against each other, so hopefully it will be a good match. Gary’s on top form at the moment so need to be on my game to have a chance.”
Beaton will be looking for a strong run in his 16th Players Championship Finals campaign, reaching the Quarter Finals as his furthest run in the competition back in 2017, with wins over Dutch duo Jermaine Wattimena and Jelle Klaasen.
“Really looking forward to it, I don’t get the best of draws but it’s best of 11, so it’s anyone’s game on the day.”
Recent Grand Slam of Darts Champion Luke Humphries will open his campaign in Minehead against Martin Lukeman, whilst defending Champion Michael van Gerwen faces Players Championship 19 winner Callan Rydz in the 1st Round.
The 2023 Cazoo Players Championship Finals starts from 12:45 on Friday live on ITV 4 at Butlins Minehead Resort, with former European Championship winner Ross Smith facing former Pro Tour winner Scott Williams in the opening clash on the main stage.
By Harry Masterson
2023 Cazoo Players Championship Order of Play:
Ross Smith v Scott Williams
Ryan Searle v Boris Krcmar
Damon Heta v Jules van Dongen
Gian van Veen v Chris Landman
Rob Cross v Cameron Menzies
Josh Rock v Rowby-John Rodriguez
James Wade v William O’Connor
Radek Szaganski v Ian White
Luke Woodhouse v Simon Whitlock
Ryan Joyce v Daniel Klose
Mike de Decker v Mario Vandenbogaerde
Ricardo Pietreczko v Chirstian Kist
Stephen Bunting v Micky Mansell
Gabriel Clemens v Connor Scutt
Dimitri van den Bergh v Jim Williams
Jonny Clayton v Stephen Burton
Dylan Slevin v Matt Campbell
Chris Dobey v Raymond van Barneveld
Michael Smith v Richard Veenstra
Gary Anderson v Steve Beaton
Gerwyn Price v Ricky Evans
Callan Rydz v Michael van Gerwen
Luke Humphries v Martin Lukeman
Jose de Sousa v Kevin Doets
Krzysztof Ratajski v Maik Kuivenhoven
Brendan Dolan v Ritchie Edhouse
Andrew Gilding v Steve Lennon
Daryl Gurney v Niels Zonneveld
Kim Huybrechts v Martin Schindler
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Jermaine Wattimena
Joe Cullen v Jamie Hughes
Dave Chisnall v Lee Evans