After nine weeks of darts, we finally know the names of the eight players that will progress through from Judgement Night in Liverpool. In an emotionally charged night, which was set against the backdrop of the death of darts legend Eric Bristow, many players found it difficult to find their best form in what were understandably difficult circumstances.
Despite that, the players showed great professionalism and with the support of the crowd, who chanted Eric Bristow’s name throughout the evening, they produced a high standard of darts as the final places in Phase 2 were decided, as were the two players eliminated.
Let’s take a look now at how Judgement Night unfolded in Liverpool.
Night Nine Results
Simon Whitlock 7-3 Gerwyn Price
Gerwyn Price came into this game knowing he was already eliminated from the Premier League having picked up just two draws in his previous eight games. The Welshman admitted that he had found the tournament a struggle, with the constant travelling in midweek a real drain on him away from his family. The opening game saw both players struggle to find their best but it was Whitlock who performed the better opening up a 4-1 lead in the match and then seeing out the game after Price had hit back to get to within one leg of the Wizard of Oz. The defeat ensured Price finished bottom of the table in his first Premier League season.
Raymond van Barneveld 0-7 Michael Smith
Michael Smith produced arguably his best ever performance in the Premier League to defeat Raymond van Barneveld in the second game of the night and in the first whitewash of the Premier League in 2018. Barney didn’t play particularly badly, his 96.58 three-dart average was 15 better than Whitlock’s who won the opening match, but Smith was in great form both in terms of scoring and on the doubles in what was almost a home game for the St. Helens born darter. Two breaks of Barney’s throw proved crucial with Smith then pushing on to record a thumping whitewash win in the Premier League to set him up nicely for phase 2 of the tournament.
Gary Anderson 5-7 Rob Cross
Rob Cross claimed his sixth win in the Premier League against Gary Anderson, the first time he has beaten the Scot in a top-level tournament. The current World Champion Cross traded legs with Anderson until Cross led 4-3 with Anderson throwing first but Cross took out 75 to go 5-3 up and managed to hold onto his throw in two more legs to secure a closely fought battle against the Scot and to put himself in with a great chance of progressing into the playoffs.
Mensur Suljovic 4-7 Michael van Gerwen
Mensur Suljovic needed at least a point against the current Premier League leader Michael van Gerwen in order to put any pressure at all on Peter Wright but despite a valiant effort, Suljovic fell just short as van Gerwen put in another commanding performance, hitting an incredible 10 180’s and an average of over 107 to claim a 7-4 victory. The defeat for Suljovic condemned him to elimination from the Premier League and ensured that Peter Wright would progress regardless of how the Scot performed in the final game of the night.
Daryl Gurney 6-6 Peter Wright
In an emotional match, Peter Wright produced a fantastic 12 dart leg in the final leg of the match to secure himself a point against Daryl Gurney, who has flown in to Liverpool from Derry after attending the birth of his son earlier in the day. Gurney produced the better darts on the night including five 180s and a 121 checkout, but Wright hung on, despite being clearly affected by the news of Eric Bristow’s passing to claim a point with a fabulous final leg, which included him hitting six perfect darts on his way to earning a share of the spoils.
Current Premier League Darts Table (players in italics are eliminated)
|Pos||Player||Ply||Legs For||Legs Ag||Pts||Leg Agg||3 Dart Avg||Checkout %age|
|1||Michael van Gerwen||9||61||29||16||+32||103.62||44.53%|
|7||Raymond van Barneveld||9||42||51||8||-9||94.54||35.59%|
Night One 180’s – 36
Most Individual 180s on Night One – Michael van Gerwen (10)
Total Tournament 180’s – 246
Premier League Darts Night Ten Preview
Night Ten of the Premier League takes place at the FLYDA Arena in Sheffield and features some interesting matches in the opening night of the second phase of the tournament. Both Raymond van Barneveld and Peter Wright will be in action twice on the night and will meet each other in the final game of the evening. Outlined below are the five matches scheduled for Sheffield together with the latest match betting on each of the games and my tips for who I think will take the win in each of the games.
Raymond van Barneveld (13/8) v Daryl Gurney (6/5) – Draw (3-1)
With Judgement Night out of the way, the focus for these players is to now qualify for the playoffs by finishing inside the top four and both these players need a win here to give themselves a chance of qualifying. Barney’s form took a battering last week at the hands of Michael Smith where he was beaten 7-0 while Gurney experienced another draw (his fifth) against Peter Wright. This should be a close contest but I think Superchin is the man in form and I am backing Gurney to come away with a narrow win 7-5 here.
Gary Anderson (4/5) v Peter Wright (12/5) – Draw (10/3)
The two Scotsmen clash again just a short time after playing each other in the first phase but this time around Peter Wright is in a little better form having secured two draws in his last two games to halt a dramatic slide of form. Anderson went down 7-5 to Rob Cross in a narrow one last week and he needs a win to get back into contention at the top of the table. Wright though is a tough competitor and while I cannot see this ending in another draw, I do think it will be close, but I am backing Anderson to come through in a 7-5 victory.
Simon Whitlock (9/1) v Michael van Gerwen (1/6) – Draw (15/2)
Simon Whitlock drew the short straw on the first night of the second phase as he now faces an in-form Michael van Gerwen who is blowing opponents away at the moment. The Dutchman played some incredible darts to beat Mensur Suljovic last week and with Whitlock winning, albeing in far less imposing fashion, it is little wonder that the Dutch ace is such short odds with the bookies. If van Gerwen gets off to a fast start or Whitlock struggles on the doubles, this could be a blow-out, but I think the Aussie will acquit himself well, though I am still backing van Gerwen to win 7-3.
Michael Smith (12/5) v Rob Cross (4/5) – Draw (10/3)
This could well be the most entertaining and closest contest of the night. Smith and Cross have, along with van Gerwen, been the most in form players in the tournament this year, Cross recovering from a slow start to finish third in the table in phase 1, with Smith second and the St Helens thrower whitewashed Raymond van Barneveld 7-0 last week. That will put him in confident mood against Cross, but I think Cross just has the edge in terms of scoring power and most critically, hitting those doubles. This will be another close one but I am backing Cross to win 7-5.
Raymond van Barneveld (7/4) v Peter Wright (11/10) – Draw (10/3)
Barney and Snakebite will be out for a second time in Sheffield as they round things off on tne night with an intriguing four-pointer for both players. In truth, depending on how their first game of the night has gone, if neither player has won their opener then this becomes a must-win game for them. In terms of form, there’s little to pick between the players and in truth my gut instinct tells me that this could be another close one, hence I am backing the draw here at 10/3.