After the excitement last week of the start of the second phase in Sheffield, this week the action heads to the Ahoy in Rotterdam for not just one night but two night’s of Premier League Darts action, starting on Wednesday 18th April with five matches and then another five games the following day.
This is to make up for the lost week five of Premier League Darts in Exeter when poor weather caused the cancellation of the night and facilitated adding another date to the calendar to ensure that the event could go ahead as planned. That extra date takes place this week.
Let’s begin though as we always do by taking a look back at how Night Ten, the opening night of Phase 2 of the tournament, turned out.
Night Ten Results
Raymond van Barneveld 3-7 Daryl Gurney
Apart from a 158 finish early in this clash, Raymond van Barneveld once again looked worryingly out of sorts against the in-form Irishman Daryl Gurney. The Dutchman’s average of 94.16 was below his best but he ran into Gurney who posted another big average of 102.76 and Barney could not match that scoring power. Gurney has now not lost a Premier League Darts game since Night Four (when van Gerwen beat him) and he is the in-form player in the event at the moment.
Gary Anderson 7-2 Peter Wright
The form book once again told the story here as Peter Wright, still struggling to fight his way back to his best recorded an impreoved 96.22 average, but lost out to a fine display from fellow Scot Gary Anderson who posted a 104.26 average to take the game 7-2. Anderson made a quick start, racing into a 5-0 lead before Peter Wright struck back with a couple of legs but by then the game had got away from him and Anderson took a comfortable victory, only his fourth of the campaign so far.
Simon Whitlock 1-7 Michael van Gerwen
Simon Whitlock ran into the juggernaut Michael van Gerwen and was licking his wounds after coming up against four 180s and a 102.37 average as van Gerwen punished every mistake the Australian made. A 121 and a 106 finish were crucial in van Gerwen establishing his dominance in the game after losing the opening match, he then rattled off seven in a row to clinch a superb win and head into the double-header in his home country four points clear at the top of the table.
Michael Smith 5-7 Rob Cross
The best match of the night came in the penultimate game with Rob Cross putting in one of the best displays in the Premier League this season to defeat Michael Smith 7-5. That result ensured Smith fell four points behind van Gerwen and allowed Cross to move level on points with the St.Helens player. The game started evenly with it being locked at 2-2 before Cross moved into a 6-3 lead. However Smith then won two legs in a row to force a deciding leg which Cross secured to grab a crucial victory.
Raymond van Barneveld 2-7 Peter Wright
A poor night went from bad to worse for Raymond van Barneveld as he was soundly beaten by Peter Wright in a battle of the bottom two in the second phase of the event. Wright had not won in the Premier League since week two but ran into Barney in even worse form than he was in the opening game of the night. Wright took advantage of Barney’s struggles to hit a fantastic, bull, bull, double 16 checkout in the fifth leg to open up a big lead and secure a vital two points and grab a morale boosting win.
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||10||68||30||18||+38||103.51||45.03%|
|7||Raymond van Barneveld||11||47||65||8||-18||93.96||35.61%|
Night One 180’s – 25
Most Individual 180s on Night One – Daryl Gurney (5)
Total Tournament 180’s – 271
Premier League Darts Night 11A Preview – Wednesday 18th April
Due to the fact that there are double the amount of matches in this week’s Premier League, we are going to shorten the length of our tips a little to ensure that we can cover all ten matches being played across both nights of action at the Ahoy Rotterdam. It is a crucial couple of nights for some players, with some massive games set to be played that could well have a significant impact on which four players reach the playoffs in the final week of the tournament in May.
Michael Smith (12/5) v Gary Anderson (4/5) (10/3 the draw)
Second takes on fourth in the Premier League in the opening match on Wednesday and what a match it promises to be. Smith’s form of late hasn’t been as strong as earlier in the event, while Gary Anderson just seems to be hitting his stride. Being three points behind, the Scot knows a defeat here will make it very tough for him to reel Smith in and could well dent his playoff hopes. This will be close but I am going for an Anderson win here by a 7-4 scoreline.
Rob Cross (4/5) v Daryl Gurney (12/5) (10/3 the draw)
The two most in-form players in the Premier League meet once again just a few weeks after Daryl Gurney inflicted defeat on Rob Cross in Belfast. Since then Cross has bounced back to winning ways but Gurney has been tough to beat, and has won three of his last four games and is unbeaten in the Premier League since Week Four. This could be the best game of the night and it may well go down to a decided and as such, I’m backing Cross to edge this one 7-5.
Raymond van Barneveld (6/5) v Simon Whitlock (13/8) (3/1 the draw)
This is a massive game for both these players. A win for van Barneveld and suddenly the top four is an option again. A win for Whitlock could move him into the top four depending on other results. Barney will also have the advantage of home support here and I think that will inspire him after a number of poor performing weeks. That said, Whitlock is playing well and he will not be a pushover and as a result, I think this has potential to be a 6-6 draw.
Peter Wright (5/1) v Michael van Gerwen (1/3) (5/1 the draw)
Peter Wright hot his first win since Week 2 of the Premier League last week against Raymond van Barneveld and if he can upset the odds and beat Michael van Gerwen again this week, it will be the second time he has done so in this tournament. In front of his home fans though, I think van Gerwen will be out for revenge and in truth, I think Mighty Mike will win this one relatively comfortably 7-3.
Rob Cross (7/5) v Gary Anderson (7/5) (3/1 the draw)
This is another massive clash for both of these players as they seek to claim a playoff spot. Depending on how each has performed earlier in the night this could be a chance to strengthen their position in the playoff positions, or an attempt to get back into them. Cross is the most in form but Anderson seems to be hitting his stride nicely now but I think two games in a night may be a lot for the Scotsman’s notoriously fickle back to put up with. As such I reckon Cross edges a close one 7-5.
Premier League Darts Night 11B Preview – Thursday 19th April
Simon Whitlock (21/10) v Michael Smith (10/11 the draw)
The top two for the first few weeks of the Premier League clash again in Ahoy in very different circumstances with Smith now well behind van Gerwen in the table and Whitlock trying to challenge for a place in the playoffs. Smith won the match between the two earlier on and I think he has the game to do the same again here, though I think it will be close. Smith to win here 7-5.
Daryl Gurney (12/5) v Gary Anderson (4/5) (10/3 the draw)
This could well be a pivotal clash for a place in the Premier League depending on how results went on the first night of action at the Ahoy, but regardless it pits two in-form players against each other. Gurney’s been tough to beat in the Premier League and he drew with Anderson in phase 1, a match he should have won. Anderson though is playing marginally better now and while I think either could win this, I think a 6-6 draw is the most likely outcome.
Rob Cross (4/5) v Peter Wright (12/5) (10/3 the draw)
After two tough games last night Rob Cross now faces Peter Wright, ranked second in the world, but Wright is still struggling for form and has not been at his best in the Premier League this season. Cross, after a slow start, has really found his feet and I think he will have far too much for Snakebite here. I’m backing Cross to win this 7-3.
Michael van Gerwen (1/4) v Raymond van Barneveld (7/1) (11/2 the draw)
This one should be a classic as the two Dutch darting legends go head to head. Van Gerwen is the massive favourite but no player has the hex over him moreso than Raymond van Barneveld. The problem is that Barney’s form is so poor at the moment and Michael van Gerwen is playing so well that you cannot see the prospect of an upset here. I’d love Barney to stun the crowd and win this one, but I think this will be an easy win for Michael van Gerwen here by a 7-2 scoreline.
Daryl Gurney (10/11) v Simon Whitlock (21/10) (10/3 the draw)
The final game of the night is between the two players most likely to be pitching in for a place in the playoiffs in the final fourth position spot. Whitlock started the tournament in great form, Gurney though has found his form of late and is looking very strong at the moment. I think this has the hallmarks of being a real battle and I cannot separate the two. I’m backing the draw here.