Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor will face former World Champion Steve Beaton as he looks to retain the Paddy Power World Grand Prix in Dublin next month.
The Ten Times World Champion begins the defence of his title against The Adonis on day two of the competition which runs from 20th-26th October at the City West Hotel, Saggart and comes to Ireland on the back of a confident win at the World Matchplay in August.
The Power was given a rough ride by current World Champion John Part in the Final in Dublin last year and the pairing will be favourites to go head-to-head again come the closing stages of the tournament this year.
Canadian Part also has a testing encounter in his first match with resurgent Londoner Alex Roy and the number two seed will have a potential ‘revenge’ match against Wayne Mardle on his mind if both men can make it through to the second phase.
Mardle who stole the show at the Matchplay in Blackpool where he dispensed with Part in a classic second round match, takes on one of four Paddy Power All Ireland qualifiers in veteran John MaGowan from County Down, while the other Northern Irish qualifier Roy Montgomery will fancy his chances against an out of form Keith Deller.
Of the Ireland qualifiers it is Mattie Murtagh’s match against Paul Williams that really captures the imagination. Murtagh from Ballivor has only two fingers on his throwing hand, having been a victim of thalidomide and the 27-year-old who has been playing the game for sixteen years has all the credentials and talent to give the world number thirty-seven a run for his money.
Wicklow’s Martin Murphy completes the Irish qualifiers and his match against PDPA qualifier Mark Walsh is a tough one to call.
Elsewhere in the draw 2001 Paddy Power World Grand Prix Champ Alan Warriner faces in-form veteran Bob Anderson, Ronnie Baxter will face Taylor’s vanquisher from two years ago Kevin Painter, while Andy Jenkins against Mark Dudbridge sees the coming together of two of the most promising young players on the PDC circuit.
All eyes will of course be on Phil Taylor who will also be boosted ahead of the event by the launch of his autobiography The Power (Collins Willow) which goes on sale to coincide with the tournament on October 20 and gives a full and frank account of the life of the greatest ever darts player.
Paddy Power have Taylor as favourite at 3-1 for the tournament, with Part his nearest rival at 6-1. World number three Peter Manley is at 8-1, while Wayne Mardle is a good bet at 16-1. Big outside bets include Bob Anderson at 125-1 or one of the All Ireland challengers at 250/1 and 300/1.