DOBEY RELISHING NEWCASTLE HOMECOMING
Chris Dobey is relishing his Cazoo Premier League homecoming in Newcastle, as he prepares to take on world number one Michael Smith in his quarter-final tie on Thursday.
Dobey will headline Night Eight of this year's roadshow at the Utilita Arena, as he takes on World Champion Smith for the second week in succession.
The fixtures for Thursday's action have been determined by league standings, with the same four quarter-finals from Night Seven in Nottingham set to be replayed in the North East.
Dobey ran out a 6-4 winner against Smith last Thursday to end a run of five consecutive quarter-final defeats, and he's hoping for a repeat performance on home soil.
"Everybody knows this is the big one for me, playing in front of a home crowd," said Dobey, who featured as a contender in Newcastle during the 2019 edition.
"It's going to be surreal. Any game where you've got a home crowd on your side is something special, so I'm going to enjoy every moment."
Dobey made a dream start on his Premier League bow in Belfast, defeating Peter Wright, Nathan Aspinall and Michael van Gerwen to triumph on Night One.
The Bedlington thrower then suffered a string of last eight exits before returning to winning ways in Nottingham, defeating Smith and whitewashing Van Gerwen to move up to sixth in the table.
"I kept telling people that I can't keep playing that well without getting results," added Dobey, who was beaten 6-4 by Gerwyn Price in the Night Seven showpiece.
"I'm delighted with the way I'm playing, and hopefully I go one better in Newcastle. It would be very special.
"This will be the one that I've dreamed of. I will knuckle down and hopefully I can perform on the night."
Dobey and Smith's showdown will be the fourth and final quarter-final tussle of the evening, with the winner set to face Price or Jonny Clayton in the Night Eight semi-finals.
Price overcame Clayton in an all-Welsh affair in Nottingham en route to the nightly title, which saw him leapfrog Smith and move into second spot.
The 2021 World Champion is bidding to secure Play-Off qualification for the first time in his Premier League career, having also celebrated Night Two success in Cardiff back in February.
"I know I'm playing well. When I get through the first game I seem to either get to a final or win it, but I need to be a bit more consistent," reflected Price.
"I am enjoying the game a lot more and that's largely due to the crowd being on my side. They have been brilliant.
"It just gives me the freedom to play my natural game like I do on the ProTour and European Tour.
"Hopefully the crowds can keep supporting me like they have so far, and I can make the Play-Offs for the first time and hopefully lift that trophy."
Elsewhere, league leader Van Gerwen will aim to secure his fourth nightly victory in the space of five weeks when he plays Wright in Thursday's opening quarter-final.
Van Gerwen breezed to a 6-1 success against Wright in Nottingham, only for Dobey to end his ten-match winning run by inflicting the Dutchman's first whitewash defeat in Premier League history.
However, Van Gerwen still boasts a nine-point lead at the summit following wins in Dublin, Exeter and Liverpool, while 2017 runner-up Wright remains five points adrift at the bottom of the table.
The winner will advance to play Nathan Aspinall or Dimitri Van den Bergh in the semi-finals, with Aspinall bidding to avenge his Night Seven defeat to the Belgian in Newcastle.
Van den Bergh has won both of the pair's meetings in this year's competition, and he can draw level on points with the Stockport star by making it three wins from three in the North East.
Eighth Night's Quarterfinals:
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gerwyn Price v Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith v Chris Dobey