Last Thursday night, the PDC Premier League Darts tournament got underway at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland with a fervent crowd and big expectations ahead of what promises to be one of the most intriguing tournaments in many years.
With four new faces, two players returning to the fold after a break away plus four veterans of the tournament competing, it is by far the biggest shakeup to the field since the tournament began and it promised an exciting night of darts to kick things off on Night One.
As usual, the players didn’t disappoint with only one of the five matches not going the full allotment of 12 games.
Night One Results
- Mensur Suljovic 5 – 7 Simon Whitlock
The first match of the night produced the best darts of the night and also the first shock of the tournament as the much fancied Mensur Suljovic ran into the Wizard of Oz, Simon Whitlock, in outstanding form. Suljovic averaged 103.71, the second best average of the night, but ended up on the wrong end of a 7-5 defeat thanks to Whitlock’s superb 106.49 average and fantastic finishing, which included a the highest checkout on the night of 160. Although Suljovic lost the game, he will be pleased with his level of performance and if both players continue to play at this level, both should stand a great chance of making the next phase.
- Gary Anderson 5-7 Michael Smith
This game between two of the heaviest scorers in darts could have been every bit as good as the opening match up, but Gary Anderson, clearly still niggled by his back injury wasn’t at his best and in truth neither was Michael Smith. Anderson’s 82.46 average was poor for the Scot and Smith’s of 89.12 wasn’t that much better, but was enough to get him off to a winning start with a 7-5 victory over the two-time winner of this event.
- Daryl Gurney 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Daryl Gurney will feel he threw away a point in this match after leading Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 and having three darts to win the match. The Irishman, in front of his home crowd, couldn’t hit either double ten or double five to clinch the win and the experienced Dutchman made him pay, rattling off three legs in a row for the second time in the match to clinch a 6-6 draw and a share of the spoils. This was an even contest that ebbed and flowed and where both players hit a very similar average (Gurney 93.23 to van Barneveld’s 93.78).
- Michael van Gerwen 7-2 Rob Cross
Michael van Gerwen continued his superb start to the year with a comprehensive 7-2 win over current World Champion Rob Cross. Cross, making his Premier League debut, didn’t play badly as his 98.85 average attests to, but the different was van Gerwen’s finishing which saw him stretch into a 3-0 lead and then a 6-1 lead. Cross bounced back to win the eight leg to make it 6-2, but van Gerwen made no mistake in the final leg to cling an impressive 7-2 win with a 100.80 average.
- Peter Wright 6-6 Gerwyn Price
Gerwyn Price produced a fantastic comeback from 5-1 down to earn a point on his Premier League debut against World Number 2 Peter Wright. The Welshman began slowly and Wright punished him to take a comprehensive 5-1 lead. Price then began to fight back but Wright took the ninth game to lead 6-3. Price continued to battle back, and Wright missed four darts to win the game, before Price eventually levelled the match to claim a point with an impressive average of 93.51, which was better than Wright’s 92.93.
Current Premier League Darts Table
|Pos||Name||Played||Legs Won||Legs Lost||Points||Leg Diff.|
|1||Michael van Gerwen||1||7||2||2||+5|
|4||Raymond van Barneveld||1||6||6||1||0|
Night One 180’s – 25
Most Individual 180s on Night One – Daryl Gurney (5)
Total Tournament 180’s – 25
Premier League Darts Night Two Preview
The second night of action in the Premier League sees the players head to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales with another five massive games taking place. Remember you can enjoy plenty of top betting on this event with Coral. The full line up for the night is as follows:
- Michael Smith (13/8) v Daryl Gurney (5/4) (3/1 the draw)
Michael Smith followed up his win against Gary Anderson on Thursday with a brilliant performance in the UK Open at the weekend where he defeated Michael van Gerwen 6-1 on his way to winning the tournament. He is still the underdogs with the bookmakers against the freescoring Daryl Gurney but I think of the two players Smith is the man in form and his confidence is booming. That makes him a dangerous prospect and I like his chances of recording another win here.
- Rob Cross (8/15) v Simon Whitlock (7/2) (4/1 the draw)
Rob Cross was punished mercilessly for missed chances by Michael van Gerwen in their Night One clash and he takes on the man who averaged more than the Dutch legend in the same night. Whitlock’s form that night was superb and it needed to be to beat an in-form Suljovic. However Cross is playing at another level at the moment and he won’t let that defeat to van Gerwen last week ruffle him. I expect Whitlock to push him close, but I am backing Cross to win this one.
- Michael van Gerwen (1/3) v Peter Wright (11/2) (5/1 the draw)
Michael van Gerwen strolled to a 7-2 win over Rob Cross last week, but he faces World Number 2 Peter Wright in what should be the match of the night in Cardiff. Wright has the consistency to take advantage if van Gerwen is not at his very best, though I think both players need to step up their game following relatively quiet starts last week. This weill be close and I think that there is a solid chance that the draw is an option here.
- Gerwyn Price (12/5) v Gary Anderson (4/5) (7/2 the draw)
This is a real grudge match between two players that genuinely don’t like each other. In terms of experience and ability, Gary Anderson is your pick. The Scot is a 2x World Champion and has also won this event twice. Price made a solid start with a fightback draw last week against Peter Wright and he takes Anderson on in good form and with Anderson seemingly out of sorts due to his bad back. That may well be a key factor here, but I think Anderson just about nicks this one for me.
- Raymond van Barneveld (11/10) v Mensur Suljovic (15/8) (3/1 the draw)
Two of the best supported foreign based stars finish things off in Cardiff as Mensur Suljovic and Raymond van Barneveld lock horns. The Austrian played very well in his 5-7 loss to Simon Whitlock last week and he’ll hope similar form should be enough to get the win against his vastly experienced opponent. Raymond van Barneveld came back from 6-3 down to snatch a point against Daryl Gurney and he will feel that he is already one point ahead of where he should be following a low-key start in that game. This will be close and Barney is in good form, but I think Suljovic has enough to earn a point from this game so I am backing the draw here.