Auckland Darts Masters: Who you need to know

Gary Anderson retained his world title in London early this year and has won a couple of other tournaments in 2016. Picture / Greg Bowker
Gary Anderson retained his world title in London early this year and has won a couple of other tournaments in 2016. Picture / Greg Bowker

The Auckland Darts Masters - part of the PDC World Series - returns to the Trusts Arena in West Auckland.

Tonight's matches will see Australasian hopefuls in sudden death matches against eight of the world's best players, including the legend himself Phil Taylor. We look at the field.

Michael van Gerwen (Holland)

The demonstrative Dutchman has been dominant for two years, although he hasn't grabbed a world title since his sole win in 2014. Amazing 10 victories this year.

Gary Anderson (Scotland)

Retained his world title in London early this year and has won a couple of other tournaments in 2016. Rises to the big occasions, and has just won in Dubai.

Phil Taylor (England)

The 55-year-old legend is no longer near-invincible, but comes here fresh from a win in Vienna and claiming the teams World Cup. The competitive juices still flow and he's always a contender.

Phil Taylor will go head-to-head against hopefuls in Auckland. Picture / Greg Bowker
Phil Taylor will go head-to-head against hopefuls in Auckland. Picture / Greg Bowker

Adrian Lewis (England)

Double world champ won inaugural Auckland title and combined with Taylor for his fourth World Cup win in five years, where he had a stoush with van Gerwen.

Peter Wright (Scotland)
England-raised, flamboyant performer with mohawk, high ranking but can't quite nail titles. Three-time World Series finalist, and lost 2014 world final to van Gerwen.

James Wade (England)

Three world championship semifinals under the belt, and has ranked as high as two in the world. The ex-mechanic is the finest left hander in darts history.

Dave Chisnall (England)

Replaces Stephen Bunting from last year's field. Made BDO world final in 2010 before switching camps. Had a televised nine-dart finish late last year.

Raymond van Barneveld (Holland)

Multiple world title winner, runner-up in Auckland last year, $7 million prizemoney second only to Taylor. Became a grand dad this year.

Cody Harris (Auckland - invitation)

The rising star of New Zealand darts and Kiwi number one, from Manurewa. Third TV appearance.

Warren Parry (Invercargill - invitation)

The meat works truckie beat world champ van Gerwen in Sydney in 2014, after trailing 0-4.

Damon Heta (Perth - Australian Open winner)

Played in the 2014 Sydney Darts Masters, losing heavily to Chisnall.

Rob Szabo (Wellington - top ranked non-qualifier)

The builder has made world championship appearances, and played in Auckland last year.

Ken Moir (Auckland - qualified)

The Auckland darts stalwart, a sheet metal engineer, will be making his first TV appearance.

Tic Bridge (Queensland - qualified)

Left-handed Melbourne bricklayer has played two Sydney Darts Masters. Beat van Barneveld in 2013.

Bernie Smith (Christchurch - qualified)

From a darts family, the South Island champion is making his World Series debut.

Stu Leach (Brisbane - qualified)

Gisborne native lost two qualifier finals before winning the last this week.

- NZ Herald

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