After the cancellation of the Premier League Darts Night Five event in Exeter due to weather conditions at the time, the rearranged Night Five took place last week at the First Direct Arena in Leeds and it proved to be a very interesting night, with more than a few surprising results and the last 100% record in the event was also on the line in this midway point of the first phase.
Would Michael van Gerwen continue his high level of performance against Simon Whitlock? Would Rob Cross resurgence in form continue against the unbeaten Michael Smith? Would Peter Wright get the better of Mensur Suljovic to kick start his faltering campaign and could Daryl Gurney or Gerwyn Price get their first Premier League wins against Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld respectively?
Here’s how the action turned out last Thursday night in Leeds:
Night Five Results
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Simon Whitlock
The first game of the night pitted second in the table against third, both with six points from four games but although the stats had this down as an even game, the bookies knew that van Gerwen was the hot favourite. So it proved with van Gerwen eventually coming through after a slow start where the players were tied 3-3 before van Gerwen won four of the next five to take the victory and with it move to the top of the Premier League table, albeit with Michael Smith still to play in the final game of the evening.
Gerwyn Price 5-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Welshman Price will once again rue some missed opportunities as the more experienced Raymond van Barneveld produced some fine finishes at key times in order to take down his more inexperienced opponent 7-5. That win was Barney’s first since opening night and moves him away from the bottom two spots while leaving Price bottom of the table with just two points from his four games and the Welshman now faces an uphill battle to survive beyond Judgement Night in this event.
Peter Wright 1-7 Mensur Suljovic
In what was the most astonishing game of the evening Peter Wright failed to turn up against Mensur Suljovic and went down to a humiliating 7-1 defeat to the Austrian. That win has been coming for Suljovic who outside of van Gerwen, boasts the best 3 Dart average and finishing stats in the event. It was also his second win in succession and those four points have moved him into sixth place in the table and given him a great chance to avoid elimination from the event if he can continue playing in this way over the next four weeks.
Gary Anderson 6-6 Daryl Gurney
Double trouble was again the story for Daryl Gurney as he missed two darts to win the game against the newly crowned UK Open Champion Gary Anderson in Newcastle. Leading 6-5, Gurney missed darts at double 12 and double 6 which then allowed Anderson back in to take the 12th and final leg and claim a draw. Indeed, Gurney’s double hitting remains a concern with the Irishman having a tourmament low average of just over 28% of doubles hit. Well below the 40% the top pro’s strive for.
Rob Cross 7-5 Michael Smith
Could Michael Smith regain top spot in the table, or would Rob Cross’s resurgence in form continue in Newcastle? After the first eight legs, it looked like Smith would indeed be heading back to the summit of the table as he led the current World Champion 5-3. However Cross dug in and produced some superb darts with finishes of 112, 121 and a bull finish in the final leg to claim a 7-5 victory, his second in a row, that now moves him up to fourth place in the table. Smith drops to second after van Gerwen’s win in the opening match of the night.
Current Premier League Darts Table
|Pos||Player||Ply||Legs For||Legs Ag||Pts||Leg Agg||3 Dart Avg||Checkout %age|
|1||Michael van Gerwen||5||33||18||8||+15||103.23||42.86%|
|5||Raymond van Barneveld||5||27||30||5||-3||93.54||37.50%|
Night One 180’s – 24
Most Individual 180s on Night One – Rob Cross (5)
Total Tournament 180’s – 130
Premier League Darts Night Six Preview
This week’s action heads a little further south to the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham for another sell-out evening of darts. With just four nights of games to go before Judgement Night in Liverpool, this is the time when players start to feel the pressure of needing to pick up points to make it through to Phase 2 or to get themselves in with a good chance of making the Playoffs.
Michael Smith (21/10) v Peter Wright (10/11) – (10/3 the draw)
This promises to be an interesting match up, Smith won’t want to lose two games in a row and risk blowing his fine start to the tournament, while Peter Wright knows another draw or defeat leaves him at best in mid-table limbo, or at worst, in danger of dropping into the bottom two just a few weeks before Judgement Night. Wright was so out of sorts last week it was embarrassing, but the Scot has come back from bad performances before and I’m backing Wright to start finding the 60 bed and his doubles more often and steal a 7-5 win here.
Simon Whitlock (19/10) v Daryl Gurney (Evens) – (10/3 the draw)
How important hitting doubles in this tournament is, is exemplified in this game. Simon Whitlock has a lower 3-dart average than Daryl Gurney but has hit over 44% of his doubles. Gurney has hit just 28% and that is why Whitlock lies safely in third in the table, with Gurney in the danger zone in ninth. Quite simply, if Gurney could hit doubles more often at crucial times, he’d win more games. But he isn’t doing it and I am backing Whitlock to get the job done here 7-5.
Mensur Suljovic (5/2) v Rob Cross (4/5) – (10/3 the draw)
Along with van Gerwen, these two players are the most in formt players in the Premier League right now and both have won their last two matches (Cross his last three). Both have climbed the table after slow starts and I think as a result this should be a close one. Suljovic is always tough to beat unless you play supremely well and while Cross is in form, I don’t think he is at a van Gerwen level just yet. I think this one has the chance to be very close and I’m backing a 6-6 draw here.
Gerwyn Price (12/1) v Michael van Gerwen (1/8) – (17/2 the draw)
This must be one of the most one-sided matches in Premier League history with the bookies reckoning Gerwyn Price doesn’t have much of a chance against Van Gerwen. I think that is a little unfair on Price who pushed van Gerwen hard several times last season, most notably in the recent World Championship. If van Gerwen isn’t at his best, Price has a chance of a massive upset but the Dutchman has been in solid form of late and I think a van Gerwin win by a 7-3 scoreline is likely.
Raymond van Barneveld (7/2) v Gary Anderson (8/15) – (4/1 the draw)
Two of the most popular players on the circuit clash in the final game of the night and both will feel that they need a win, Anderson perhaps more so than Barney. Anderson snatched a draw last week against Daryl Gurney in a match he probably should have lost and Barney edged out Gerwyn Price. Both will need to up their game this week but for me, I think the Scot is the more consistent player and I’m backing Anderson to take this one 7-4.