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Auckland Darts Masters Returns

THE AUCKLAND DARTS MASTERS RETURNS WITH COLOUR, DRAMA, AND AN ARMY OF ENTHUSIASTIC FANS

The Lions supporters may have just left the country, but the countdown has begun for another kind of barmy army as the biggest party in sport, the annual Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB and Burger King, comes to town – August 11-13 at the Trusts Arena.

More than 12,000 fans are expected to come from all ends of New Zealand and Australia for the event, which features eight top international players, eight Oceanic stars and all the colour and excitement that has made international darts one of the fastest growing spectator sports in the world.

The field will be headlined by the legendary Phil Taylor, who will be making his final competitive appearance in New Zealand at the event ahead of his impending retirement at the start of 2018.

Two-time World Champion, Gary Anderson returns to defend his title after claiming victory in Auckland last year as his second of three World Series wins – and after retaining his Dubai Darts Masters title in May the Scot is hoping to ensure that history repeats itself at the Trusts Arena from August 11-13.

"It was brilliant to win in Auckland last year and I'm really looking forward to getting back out there," said Anderson. "It's a fantastic place and we've been given a great welcome by everyone in the last couple of years.
"I've had a great start to the World Series by winning in Dubai and I'd love it if I can win again in Auckland."

Flamboyant world number three Peter Wright, the 2017 UK Open champion, is another to return to Auckland, along with five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, seven-time TV event winner James Wade, Australia's most successful ever player, Simon Whitlock and young prospect Michael Smith.

Famous for his outrageous hair styles that take up to three hours to prepare before the event, Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright loves the party atmosphere of international darts and says that Auckland is as loud and exciting as any event he’s played at.

“It's been fantastic over in New Zealand for the last two years and I've loved it there, the crowds have been brilliant both for me and all the players’” Wright says.

“I want to entertain them every time I go up to play, which is the same everywhere I go, not just with the walk-on but throughout the match too. The fans mean everything to me and I feed off it.

“Darts is perfect for that - it's great sport and it's also great entertainment. Every player's different, some are less flamboyant as people but deadly on the dartboard, and I try to be colourful and a character - and deadly on the board!

“Because you get to see lots of different players on each night, there's always a good mix and the fans can really get behind their favourite players and hopefully enjoy the tournament,” he said.

Former World Youth Champion, Michael Smith - who won a European Tour event in Gibraltar in May - will make his World Series of Darts debut after being included for the first time following his strong recent run of form.

"It's really exciting," said Smith, the 26-year-old from St Helens. "I'd have been happy to just be included for one event, but to get all three is really nice. Just getting picked is one thing but I don't want to go and not play my best darts - I want to go and hopefully take some titles."

The Auckland Darts Masters will also feature eight Oceanic Representatives, including New Zealanders Cody Harris – a local from South Auckland - Wellington’s Warren Parry and Rob Szabo of Invercargill.

Three further DPNZ Qualifiers from events on August 3-5 at the Swanson Memorial RSA will also secure spots in the Auckland Darts Masters. In addition, Szabo qualified for the Perth Darts Masters and Harris qualified for Melbourne Darts Masters in DPNZ qualifiers on July 9.

And the Aussies are coming for a shot at the Auckland title also, with Australian star Kyle Anderson and reigning World Youth Champion Corey Cadby, topping the DPA's World Series Qualifiers Order of Merit to claim a spot in all three tournaments on the Australasian tour.

"This is our third year in New Zealand and we're excited about seeing the Auckland Darts Masters continue to grow," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.

"The World Series of Darts has gone from strength to strength in recent years, but the reception we've received in New Zealand since introducing the Auckland Darts Masters has been incredible.

"With PDC tournaments broadcast live on Sky Sport throughout the year and the domestic circuit continuing to grow, especially with the emergence of Kiwi player Cody Harris, this is a hugely exciting time for the sport in New Zealand.
"The Auckland Darts Masters is the flagship event in New Zealand this year and it promises to be an event not to be missed!"

Tickets for the Auckland Darts Masters are available now through www.ticketek.co.nz
.
2017 Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB & Burger King

PDC Representatives

Gary Anderson
Peter Wright
James Wade
Phil Taylor
Raymond van Barneveld
Michael Smith
Simon Whitlock
Plus one player TBC

Oceanic Representatives

Invited Players (Kyle Anderson - Australia and Cody Harris – New Zealand)
Top two players from 2017 DPNZ Rankings (Rob Szabo and Warren Parry)
Three DPNZ Qualifiers from events held August 3-5 at Swanson Memorial RSA
DPA Qualifier: Corey Cadby

Tickets for the Auckland Darts Masters are now available through www.ticketek.co.nz.


ENDS


The Professional Darts Corporation was formed in 1993 and is the leading professional body in the sport, offering an £11.2 million global circuit. Professional tournaments are held globally each year in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Gibraltar, Dubai, China, Australia and New Zealand, alongside affiliated tours in Australia, New Zealand, China, Russia and the Nordic & Baltic region.

The World Series of Darts was introduced in 2013 with events in Dubai and Sydney, and has grown to feature six international events ahead of a 24-player season-ending World Series of Darts Finals tournament.
For more information about the PDC, visit www.pdc.tv.

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