Tag Archives: alexandra

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan presented with cake to celebrate 100th goal

Icing on the cake! Nolan celebrates 100th goal with treat baked by kit man's sister

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

10:22 GMT, 26 April 2013

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UPDATED:

11:10 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Kevin Nolan notched up his 100th career goal last Saturday – and what better way for the West Ham captain to celebrate than tucking into some cake.

The 30-year-old midfielder scored in the hammers' 2-0 victory over Wigan at Upton Park to hit the century mark.

Landmark: Nolan was presented with a cake to celebrate scoring his 100th career goal

Landmark: Nolan was presented with a cake to celebrate scoring his 100th career goal

And yesterday he was presented with a cake baked by the sister of kit man James Saban to mark his achievement.

Nolan's 100th goal came almost 12 and a half years after his first for Bolton Wanderers in a 4-1 win over Crewe Alexandra in December 2000.

Let's celebrate: Nolan hit the century mark with his goal in West Ham's 2-0 win over Wigan last Saturday

Let's celebrate: Nolan hit the century mark with his goal in West Ham's 2-0 win over Wigan last Saturday

Coventry to have 30,000 crowd for JPT against Crewe

Coventry on course for 30,000 crowd at showdown with Crewe… but why the sudden rush to the Ricoh

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

11:40 GMT, 5 February 2013

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UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 5 February 2013

Coventry City are set to smash a few attendance records this evening in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area final first leg against Crewe Alexandra at the Ricoh Arena.

It has been a testing few years for the Sky Blues…demotion from the Premier League in 2001 followed by relegation from the Championship last year.

But with more than 30,500 supporters expected at the stadium this evening – with 2,000 arriving from Cheshire – at last the club's beleaguered supporters may have something worthwhile to shout about.

Here, Midlands football correspondent Neil Moxley looks at the reasons why so many punters will be turning out tonight.

Filling up: Coventry will be supported by 28,500 fans at the Ricoh Arena

Filling up: Coventry will be supported by 28,500 fans at the Ricoh Arena

Phew, 28,500 tickets have been sold for this…and it's only the first leg

Yes, but there's a whiff of success in the air and you cannot accuse Coventry City supporters of being fair-weather supporters, can you

I didn't realise the club was so well-supported

Well, Coventry is England's ninth biggest city, so it's little surprise really that they can attract the support if the team is doing well.

Yes, but that's a big 'If', as far as the Sky Blues are concerned, isn't it

Oh yes. It's reasonable to point out that Coventry supporters have just had one knock after another following the club's demotion from the Premier League in 2001.

Then chairman Bryan Richardson left the club either with a whopping 60million debt or a whopping 22m debt – depending on who you believe – and the Sky Blues have become embroiled in one financial problem after another since then.

On the up: Coventry are on the brink of moving into the play-off spots

On the up: Coventry are on the brink of moving into the play-off spots

On the up: Coventry are on the brink of moving into the play-off spots

Right, but what happened to Highfield Road

It's a sore point. Richardson had done a deal to move to a state-of-the-art new stadium on a brownfield site on the outskirts of the city. But, in truth, though it was opened seven years ago, it was done without the proper finances to ensure that the club thrived.

How is that then

Well the matchday revenues were sold off. Coventry still cannot take a penny from a burger, a pint or a pie that they sell to their supporters.

To be honest, it's all a gigantic mess.

Did it contribute to their fall into the Championship

It had an effect, certainly, but it was by no means the only reason and now the current owners, a hedge fund with the acronym of SISU, are trying to sort out the mess. The only trouble is, they have racked up a 43m debt doing so.

So, why are the fans flocking to the stadium tonight

Mark
Robins and his arrival at the club following Andy Thorn's sacking
earlier this season has given everyone a huge lift. From being in the
bottom three, Robins has transformed the club's fortunes and now they
are in with a realistic shot at promotion.

Main man: Mark Robins (left) has guided Coventry up the League One table

Main man: Mark Robins (left) has guided Coventry up the League One table

And in this competition too, a Wembley shot

Yes, some might say Coventry's name might be on it. They won a penalty shoot-out with Burton in an earlier round and defeated Preston last time out 3-2 with two goals in the last few minutes.

How many supporters could the club take to Wembley

Coventry were last at the national stadium in 1987 when they faced Everton in the Charity Shield. Estimates that day put the following at 40,000-plus.

If they can sell out the Ricoh Arena they should have no problem taking up their allocation.

But, as always with Coventry City, it's a mighty big 'If'!

Judd Trump wear spiky shoes at snooker – that cost 845!

Trumped in the fashion stakes Judd sends snooker loopy with crazy spiky shoes… and they'll cost you more than 800 (if you'd actually want them, that is!)

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

16:47 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:20 GMT, 15 January 2013

Snooker isn’t the sort of game where you let your feet do the talking but Judd Trump has sure made a decent effort to try to change that.

The 23-year-old has caught the attention of many in the game, with his quick playing style already making him world No 1 last year, but it is his footwear that is now the talk of the baize.

Spiky competitor: Judd Trump's loafers caught the attention at Alexandra Palace

Spiky competitor: Judd Trump's loafers caught the attention at Alexandra Palace

Talk of the baize: Judd Trump's spiked loafers caught the attention at Alexandra Palace

Playing in the Masters tournament at Alexandra Palace, the current world No 2 took to the table in his last 16 clash win over Barry Hawkins wearing a pair of spiked loafers.

Being snooker, they are unlikely to have any impact on his performance at the famous event which is contested by 16 of the game’s top ranked players.

But fans hoping to snap up a similar pair to practice in may want to double check the price tag before doing so.

The Juddernaut’s loafers are a bold
fashion statement as they are a pair of Christian Louboutin’s Rollerboy
Spikes that would set you back 845.

Those
still interested in following in the footsteps of the 2011 World
Championship runner-up may instead want to save their spikes for a
mid-week six-reds tournament down the local snooker club.

Ace of baize: Trump plays a shot in his last 16 Masters match with Barry Hawkins

Ace of baize: Trump plays a shot in his last 16 Masters match with Barry Hawkins (below)

Full focus: Trump plays a shot in his last 16 Masters match with Barry Hawkins

Trump survived a huge scare to seal his spot in the quarter-finals of the Betfair Masters with a nail-biting 6-5 victory over Hawkins, claiming the win with a superb century.

The 23-year-old, who was last year's semi-finalist and widely fancied to go all the way at Alexandra Palace this time, looked destined for an early exit after Hawkins rattled off three successive frames from 3-2 down to leave himself within sight of the win.

However, Trump battled back with a 105 break before edging a tension-filled 10th frame – where Hawkins missed a couple of a straightforward-looking pots with victory within his grasp – to send the match to a decider.

No doubt relieved to still be in contention, the Bristolian made no mistake in the final frame as he rattled off a break of 107 to claim the win and set up a quarter-final meeting with Graeme Dott.

Australian Open 2013 LIVE: Laura Robson takes on Melanie Oudin

Australian Open 2013 LIVE: Follow all the action as Laura Robson kicks off her campaign against Melanie Oudin

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

03:53 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

04:06 GMT, 15 January 2013

Join Sportsmail for the very best live coverage of the 2013 Australian Open.

Tonight Laura Robson takes on Melanie Oudin as she seeks a second round spot in Melbourne. If she can beat the American it will be the first time that Robson has made it past the first round at this tournament, and she could face either Francesca Schiavone or Petra Kvitova in the next round.

Don't forget you can send your comments to me at [email protected] and follow our tennis correspondent Mike Dickson on Twitter @Mike_Dickson_DM

03.59: Robson
has made it past the first round of a Grand Slam before. The
18-year-old went all the way to the fourth at last year’s US Open,
overcoming Kim Clijsters and Li Na on the way.

She was eventually knocked out by Sam Stosur 6-4, 6-4.

 The British No 2 made broke into the top 50 earlier this month

On the way up: The British No 2 made broke into the top 50 earlier this month

03.41am: Heather
Watson fought through illness to overcome Romania’s Alexandra Cadantu
in her first round match yesterday, and now British No 2 Robson will be
doing her best to join her.

These two actually met during the qualifying rounds of last year's Australian Open. Robson took the victory in straight sets but since then the American has climbed from 166 in the world to 84th.

Robson has also risen in the rankings over the last year, breaking into the top 50 for the first time only this month.

Masters 2013: John Higgins beats Ali Carter at Alexandra Palace

Higgins Masters Carter with fine victory to book quarter-final spot at Ally Pally

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

22:09 GMT, 14 January 2013

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UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 14 January 2013

John Higgins fought back from 2-0 behind to beat Ali Carter and book a place in the last eight of the Masters at Alexandra Palace.

Higgins, winner of this great event in 1999 and 2006, lost the second frame despite Carter needing two snookers, and seemed really up against it at that stage.

The Scot soon found his feet however, firing in a clearance of 117 to reduce Carter's lead, and then winning the fourth frame to level at 2-2.

Job done: Higgins came from 2-0 down to beat Carter on Monday

Job done: Higgins came from 2-0 down to beat Carter on Monday

Higgins soon went 3-2 up, and then he won the sixth frame with a 97 to take control of the match.

Carter pulled one back with an 83, and looked set to win another when he was first in with 54 in the ninth frame, but he missed a pink to middle, and Higgins made him pay with a 65 clearance to seal his win.

'I was thinking Ali was going to pull it back to 5-5 because I was beginning to feel the pressure a bit, but luckily I held myself together,' Higgins said afterwards.

On his poor start, he added: 'I was still feeling okay. I hadn't missed much and felt fine and that's half the battle. It's only you and your mind out there and I was still in the game so you just get on with it.'

Phil Taylor hints he could quit darts after world championship final

Is the Power going out Tired Taylor hints he could be ready to take his final bow on the oche

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 31 December 2012

They may have been the words of a tired and cold-ridden man, but Phil Taylor threatened that he could be playing the final match of a darts career without equal at Alexandra Palace.

The Power, who takes on Holland’s new wonderkid Michael van Gerwen in the final of the Ladbrokes.com PDC World Championship, was disgusted by his behaviour after semi-final victory over Raymond van Barneveld on Sunday night.

An emotional Taylor mistook a Van Barneveld handshake for a provocative gesture and acted aggressively towards his friend and long-time rival in a sour finale to a thrilling match.

Shout bout: Phil Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld clash on Sunday

Shout bout: Phil Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld clash on Sunday

Ashamed: Taylor has apologised for his behaviour

Ashamed: Taylor has apologised for his behaviour

Disagreement: Taylor and Van Barneveld exchanged words as they left the stage

Disagreement: Taylor and Van Barneveld exchanged words as they left the stage

Tale of the tape

Taylor said: ‘I’m ashamed of myself and I feel terrible. I’ve texted Raymond and spoken to him and there is nothing else I can do, only apologise for it. It will never happen again.

‘I don’t care about darts at the minute. I know I’m in the final but I don’t feel excited or chuffed about it. I feel very down. I could just walk away tomorrow night and retire — go out on top. I’m a bit disillusioned about everything. Obviously I’m not feeling very well and I need a break.

‘To put the record straight, Raymond is a very strong lad and when he shook my hand and pulled me he hurt me a little bit. That was all it was and I reacted disgracefully.

Whatever the PDC decide, chuck the book at me, they can do whatever they want. I’m ashamed because I really like Raymond. It’s upset me.’

Is this the end Taylor was pushed all the way by Van Barneveld and says he needs a break

Is this the end Taylor was pushed all the way by Van Barneveld and says he needs a break

Winning feeling: Taylor shows his emotion after winning the semi-final

Winning feeling: Taylor shows his emotion after winning the semi-final

Whether or not Taylor is serious about retirement, he is not underestimating the task facing him if he is to claim a 16th world title tonight. Van Gerwen has been the star of this World Championship, bullying his opponents into submission with a scoring ability only Taylor has ever attained on a consistent basis.

Taylor added: ‘I’ve not seen a dart player like Michael in all my career. Only myself really. I think he’s the next one. His scoring, passion, his will to win, his aggression, Michael’s got the full package.

‘He’s phenomenal. He’s different to all the players I’ve seen and I’ve seen nearly four generations of players. Pretender to my crown He’s no pretender. For me to beat him is going to take a lot of concentration and a lot of effort. I can do it but it’s going to take a lot. I had a 109 average and lost to him the other week, but I can get him.’

The man of the moment: Michael van Gerwen is a player in form

The man of the moment: Michael van Gerwen is a player in form

Champion in waiting Van Gerwen beat two time champion Adrian Lewis and James Wade on the way to the final

Champion in waiting Van Gerwen beat two time champion Adrian Lewis and James Wade on the way to the final

Van Gerwen was just nine months old when Taylor claimed his first world title in 1990. Remarkably, he didn’t pick up a set of darts until he was 13, playing with friends at their homes in Boxtel, a small town near Eindhoven in southern Holland.

He turned professional four years later in 2006, recording a televised nine-dart finish and winning the World Masters at the age of 17. He has never been a respecter of reputations.

Van Gerwen said: ‘I don’t like watching darts. Even now, most of the times I don’t bother. I played Phil for the first time when I was 17. I knew nothing about him before that. It would be great if I could become world champion 10 years after playing for the first time.’

Phil Taylor versus Michael van Gerwen is a fitting end to a thrilling World Championship

Drama, excitement, bust ups, close matches, great performances and two nine-dart finishes: Taylor versus Van Gerwen is a fitting end to a thrilling World Championship

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UPDATED:

17:08 GMT, 31 December 2012

Is there any better way to end a World Championship that has had everything

The 15-time world champion and King of the oche Phil Taylor takes on the red hot Dutch star Michael van Gerwen in one of the most eagerly awaited contests in the tournament’s 20-year history.

‘Mighty Mike’ has lit up Alexandra Palace over the festive period and he has all the attributes needed to topple ‘The Power’ and win his maiden world title.

Van Gerwen produced a champion’s performance to beat two-time winner Adrian Lewis 5-4 in a stunning quarter-final and then, almost unthinkably, played even better against James Wade in the semis. Had MVG pulled off two nine-dart finishes in a row, it surely would have ranked as the greatest moment in darts history.

Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen has produced outstanding form this year at Ally Pally

Mighty Mike: Van Gerwen has produced outstanding form this year at Ally Pally

It has been a year to remember for the Dutchman, after his win at the World Grand Prix and final at the Grand Slam, and a win over Taylor on Tuesday night could almost be a changing of the guard for the sport.

If he plays like he did against Lewis, Van Gerwen will almost certainly be the new world champion.

Taylor said: ‘Michael’s talent is the best I’ve ever seen, even better than me at my peak. I’ve been studying Michael’s game and he doesn’t even seem to look at his target. I’m going to do everything on the dart board I can to beat him.’

But the pressure of a World Championship final could get to the young pretender and, if it does, the last man you would want to face is Taylor.

The Power: Taylor is going for his 16th world title

The Power: Taylor is going for his 16th world title

‘The Power’ hasn’t been at his best at Ally Pally this year but still finds himself in the final. He has negotiated a tricky draw with relative ease, beating Robert Thornton, Andy Hamilton and Raymond van Barneveld.

The bookmakers were right in ranking these two as the favourites but Taylor knows he needs to up his game to stop ‘Mighty Mike’ winning his first world title.

An interesting sub-plot will be the reaction Phil Taylor gets from the crowd after his spat with Barney after the semis.

The 2013 World Championship has had drama, excitement, close matches, sizzling performances and two-nine dart finishes. Let’s hope the final will be the conclusion a brilliant tournament deserves.

Five memorable moments from Ally Pally this year

5. John Part angry that his picture isn't on the wall at Alexandra Palace

4. Van Gerwen knocks out reigning champion Adrian Lewis in a quarter-final classic

3. Dean Winstanley's nine-dart finish against Vincent van der Voort

2. Taylor clashes with Van Barneveld after semi-final

1. Van Gerwen's incredible 17 perfect darts in a row

Phil Taylor apologises after ugly confrontation with Raymond van Barneveld

I reacted disgracefully! Taylor apologises after ugly confrontation with Barney

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UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 31 December 2012

Phil Taylor apologised for his ‘disgraceful’ behaviour after beating Raymond van Barneveld in the World Championship semi-final on Sunday.

‘The Power’, who will play Michael van Gerwen in the final, clashed with Barney after his 6-4 win at Alexandra Palace and the pair had to be separated by security guards.

‘I reacted disgracefully and I feel terrible,’ Taylor told Sky Sports.

‘I’m ashamed because I really like Raymond but he hurt me a little bit, that was all it was.

‘It was spur of the moment.’

Scroll down for a video of the incident

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Head to head: Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld clash at the end of their titanic battle

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Clash: Taylor and Van Barneveld go head to head as they leave the stage

Taylor and Van Barneveld clash

Michael van Gerwen beats James Wade to book place in World Darts final

Mighty Mike hits maximum on the way to booking final place after seeing off Wade

PUBLISHED:

22:36 GMT, 30 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:36 GMT, 30 December 2012

Michael van Gerwen tonight reached the Ladbrokes World Championship final and went agonisingly close to historic back-to-back nine-dart finishes in his semi-final win over James Wade.

Van Gerwen was leading three sets to one but trailing 2-0 in the fifth set when he produced a perfect leg, matching the achievement of Dean Winstanley earlier in the tournament.

The Dutchman hit a maximum 180, 177 and then finished 144 on double 12 to send the Alexandra Palace crowd wild.

Cloud nine: Michael van Gerwen hit a perfect nine dart finish on the way to booking his place in the final

Cloud nine: Michael van Gerwen hit a perfect nine dart finish on the way to booking his place in the final

And the fans were still on their feet moments later when the speedy right-hander hit two more maximums to start the next leg and narrowly missed double 12 for a checkout on 141.

Remarkably, Van Gerwen did not even win the set, with Englishman Wade holding his nerve to win the fifth leg and reduce his deficit.

The left-hander won the next set as well to make it 3-3, but Van Gerwen regained his composure to open up a 5-3 lead and looked set to seal the win when he needed 52 to win the ninth set.

In top form: Van Gerwen has looked at his very best in the World Championships

In top form: Van Gerwen has looked at his very best in the World Championships

However, he hit single five instead of 12 and ended up missing his only dart at double 20, allowing Wade in to make it 5-4.

Wade was unable to take further advantage though, Van Gerwen racing through the next set 3-0 to complete a hard-fought 6-4 victory.

On the money: Van Gerwen celebrates his perfect leg

On the money: Van Gerwen celebrates his perfect leg

'It was unbelievable,' Van Gerwen said. 'It was a very difficult game for me because Wade is a very slow player and I had not beaten him on TV, but it was a nice one to win.”

Asked about attempting to hit his second nine-dart finish, Van Gerwen added on Sky Sports 1: 'I was very concentrated, thinking 'Just carry on' because I was 2-1 down in the set and I still lost it, but it's not about nine-dart finishes, it's about winning games.

'It's nice to be in the final of the World Championships.'

Beaten man: James Wade looks dejected after losing the semi final

Beaten man: James Wade looks dejected after losing the semi final

Darts: Adrian Lewis and Raymond Van Barneveld cruise into last 16 of World Championship

Lewis and Van Barneveld both enjoy smooth passage into last 16 of World Championship

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 23 December 2012

Reigning world champion Adrian Lewis and five-time winner Raymond van Barneveld both cruised into the last 16 of the World Darts Championship as they won their second-round matches on Saturday at Alexandra Palace.

Lewis brushed aside Denis Ovens 4-1 in the last match of the day despite being far from his best after Van Barneveld headlined the afternoon session with a 4-1 win over Brendan Dolan.

Lewis came out firing as he took the opening set 3-0 before breaking at the start of the second set. The world champion went on to win that set 3-1 to take up a two-set lead before Ovens hit back.

Heading for victory: Adrian Lewis in action on Saturday night

Heading for victory: Adrian Lewis in action on Saturday night

Ovens broke Lewis’s throw at the start of the third set and consolidated it with an 80 checkout before a 98 finish in the next leg won the set 3-0.

'Jackpot' was far from his best but he won the next two sets in deciding legs to win 4-1.

He told Sky Sports: ‘I did the job really. It wasn’t brilliant but I got over the line. There’s always room for improvement but it was job done.’

Van Barneveld was in good form in the afternoon session as he beat Brendan Dolan 4-1 to set up a mouth-watering third-round clash with Gary Anderson.

Van Barneveld was some way off his breath-taking best in round one but he averaged 95.75 and as he cruised into the last 16.

The Dutchman only dropped one leg on his way to a 2-0 lead before Dolan hit back to take the third set 3-0 and reduce his deficit to 2-1.

Dutch of class: Raymond van Barneveld celebrates winning his second round match against Brendan Dolan

Dutch of class: Raymond van Barneveld celebrates winning his second round match against Brendan Dolan

But 'Barney' won set four in a deciding leg before closing out the match in the fifth set as he took it 3-1.

Van Barneveld said: ‘I was very happy with how I was playing at the start and managed to take a 2-0 lead. I lost my way for a while and my concentration seemed to drift, and Brendan took advantage of that.

‘Hitting the double 19 to win the fifth set was really big for me and I drew a lot of confidence from that.

‘I'm going back home for Christmas against my match for some relaxation and rest, but I will be practising and preparing properly too for the challenge I face against Gary Anderson in the next round.

‘Gary's a great player and I have great respect for him. I think the two of us will create fireworks when we play each other next Thursday.’

Kevin Painter started the day with a dramatic 4-3 win over Ronnie Baxter to set up a last-16 tie with Lewis. 'The Artist' raced into a 3-1 lead but Baxter hit back as he won five of the next six legs to send the match into a deciding set.

Where's Wally We can only hope they found time to watch some darts

Where's Wally We can only hope they found time to watch some darts

And the good run continued for 'The Rocke't as he forged into a 2-0 lead in the final set before Painter reeled off four straight legs to win the final set 4-2.

In Saturday’s other afternoon session match, Colin Lloyd moved into the third round as he saw off former BDO world champion Mark Webster 4-2.

The former world No 1 took a commanding 3-0 lead, winning the first and third sets in deciding legs, before Webster finally started to play.

The Welshman won the fourth set 3-0 before taking the next set in a deciding leg to reduce his deficit to 3-2 as Jaws missed chances to close out the match.B ut Lloyd got his act together to win the sixth set 3-1 as he sealed victory with a 10-dart finish.

Sign of the times: Fans were in amusing form at Alexandra Palace

Sign of the times: Fans were in amusing form at Alexandra Palace

In the evening session, Wes Newton and Simon Whitlock both romped to 4-0 victories. Newton averaged 99.53 and hit checkouts of 144, 143 and 133 as he crushed Scott Rand before Whitlock demolished Colin Osborne. 'The Wizard' lost just four legs against Osborne as he eased into the last 16 of the World Darts Championship.

Sunday is the last day of action before the Christmas break and the remaining four second round matches take place before the third round kicks off.

Vincent van der Voort and James Wade are in action during the afternoon and Michael van Gerwen starts the evening session with his second-round contest.

Andy Hamilton then plays Terry Jenkins in the first match of the last 16 before Phil Taylor takes on Robert Thornton, the man who beat him in the UK Open final and the World Grand Prix, in the match of the tournament so far.