Painter ready to make Premier League debut

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Kevin Painter wants to do himself justice during the PDC’s McCoy’s Premier League Darts campaign.

‘The Artist’ – who is based in Daventry – is making his debut in the annual 14-week event which kicks off at the Manchester Arena tonight.

Painter is taking on world number four and defending champion Gary Anderson in his opening fixture before he faces 15-time world champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in Aberdeen next week.

The Premier League is staged each week in the biggest arenas across the UK before the top four play off for the crown at the O2 Arena in London in May.

And Painter, who earned his spot after claiming his first major title at the end of last year when winning the Players Championship, is relishing the prospect of playing in front of huge crowds.

“It should suit me because I do like playing in front of big crowds,” the Northamptonshire darter said.

“But these will be the biggest crowds I have ever performed in front of.

“I think the capacity for our World Championship is 4,000 and some of these arenas we are going to will have 9,000 or 10,000 people in there.

“I will enjoy it, that’s the only way to be.

“I will go into every week, try to play properly and hopefully I will do myself justice.”

Painter and world finalist Andy Hamilton are the two new faces in this year’s competition with Anderson, Taylor, reigning world champion Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld making up the field.

“I have known for about a month that I am going to be in the Premier League so I have had plenty of time to prepare mentally and with my practice,” Painter added.

“There are six players who have played in it before and then there is me and Andy who have never been in it.

“It’s very exciting, it’s not that often you get to do something like this and be in the same field as the best in the world.

“Every week you are expected to play better than you do normally and I have been practising hard.

“But when I get to the venue, it will just become another darts match for me and that is the best way to treat it. I can’t wait.”