The Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts season culminates on Sunday with the play-offs at Wembley Arena in London, with Phil Taylor bidding to claim the trophy for a fifth time as James Wade seeks to retain the £125,000 title
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Taylor and Wade are joined by Simon Whitlock and Mervyn King for the play-offs, which will see the semi-finals, third place play-off and final take place in one dramatic evening at Wembley.
Reigning champion Wade takes on Australian star Whitlock in the opening semi-final, before Taylor and King clash in the second last four contest.
Taylor lost to King 10-6 in last year's semi-finals, but has stormed through the 14-game league season unbeaten since February and is the 1/3 favourite to take glory on Sunday night.
"I won this title for the first four years and I really want to win it back," said Taylor, who won the first four seasons of Premier League Darts and was unbeaten in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
"The last few months haven't been as much about finishing top or being unbeaten, it was just about getting through to the semi-finals and then winning the play-offs.
"I've done the first bit and now I've got to do the rest, and I'm really looking forward to it.
"I think you'll see a different game when I play Mervyn in the semi-finals to last year's match. It's a different Phil this year and if he doesn't turn up I'll walk all over him, and if he does then it will be a cracker.
"Mervyn is a player you can get stuck in, and it's a pleasure to play him. I enjoy it and I like playing him.
"I think it's the best field of players we've had - James has done brilliantly to qualify after a bad start, and Simon Whitlock has been fantastic this season - and it's going to be a tough field on Sunday, but I'm quietly confident.
"I know I can go up a couple of gears from the form I showed in the league stage and I'll be ready on Sunday."
King sat in the top two for much of the season, and his draw with Taylor was one of only two times the World Champion dropped points during the league phase.
"I'll be giving it everything I've got," said King. "Phil is playing really well and deserved to finish top of the league, but I know I can defeat him if I'm on top of my game.
"Phil is an absolutely fantastic player and I'm not as consistent as him. I've learned to live with my inconsistency - I can be the best player in the world or I can be one of the worst in the world if it goes wrong.
"But I can put that behind me and hopefully I will perform well on Sunday night and go one better than last year to win this title."
Wade claimed the fourth major title of his career a year ago with victory over King in the final at Wembley, and has bounced back from losing his opening three matches this season to reach the play-offs.
"I'm looking forward to it and it would be fantastic to retain this title," said Wade. "I haven't been on form but I'm quite an unpredictable player and it might just happen for me on Sunday.
"I'm not going to concentrate too much on what happened in the league stage because it's not a knock-out format, it doesn't mean you're out of the tournament if you lose some games.
"I believe when it comes down to it that things will come right for me.
"It's all new to Simon and he's very keen because he has new targets to aim for and he's got loads of enthusiasm, but I've been involved in big games before and I've won titles, something he hasn't done yet."
Whitlock is bidding to become the fourth successive debutant to reach the final in their first season, following the previous successes of Terry Jenkins (2007), James Wade (2008) and Mervyn King (2009) - although that trio all ended as runner-up.
The Australian won his final two matches in the league phase to jump from fifth place to finish second in the table, setting up a tasty semi-final with reigning champion Wade.
"It's just one game at a time for me," said Whitlock. "I've got a fairly good record against James but it's going to be a really tough game because he's defending champion.
"James and I are pretty even on paper but it depends what happens when we get on stage and start the game. He's got it all to play for but it would mean everything for me to win it.
"I've been playing extremely well for about six weeks now and if I can win the semi-final then I'll feel really confident going into the final.
"Knockout darts is more my game anyway and I treated the last two weeks of the season as knockout games, and it worked for me because I won them.
"I'm getting used to playing in more than one big game in a day, so if I win the first game, then I'll be looking good for the final."
Sunday's semi-finals will be the best of 15 legs, with a 'golden leg' to decide the winner if the scores reach seven-all.
The third place play-off - which has been introduced this season - will also be played over the best of 15 legs, with the final to be played over the best of 19 legs, first to ten.
Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts Play-Offs
May 23 - Wembley Arena, London
James Wade v Simon Whitlock
Phil Taylor v Mervyn King
First to eight legs - should the score be tied at seven-all after 14 legs, a 'Golden Leg' will decide the winner
Third Place Play-Off (first to eight legs)
Final (best of 19 legs)
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