After seven match nights, the Premier League Darts reaches the final crucial two weeks of the season with just one night coming up at the SSE Arena in Belfast ahead of Judgement Night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
So far, we know for sure that three players are safely through into Phase 2 of the tournament, Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Rob Cross. Raymond van Barneveld is almost certainly through too, with an unlikely series of results the only possible way that the Dutchman would not make it through. Furthermore, both Simon Whitlock and Gary Anderson both look handily placed to make the second phase.
That leaves four players likely to be scrapping it out over the next two weeks to avoid dropping into the elimination spots at the foot of the table and it promises to be a gripping fortnight as the final rounds of Phase 1 are played out.
Let’s begin first though with a review of how Night Seven panned out at the packed SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
Night Seven Results
Daryl Gurney 7-3 Mensur Suljovic
Both these players had four points heading into this game and both desperately needed the win but it was Superchin Daryl Gurney who produced the better quality finishing against Mensur Suljovic to earn the vital win that takes him to six points. The Irishman was well matched by Suljovic in terms of scoring but produced the more clinical finishing to earn a fully deserved 7-3 win and to put himself in with a great chance of making Phase 2.
Michael van Gerwen 7-2 Michael Smith
The battle of the two top seeds in the Premier League ended in something of a damp squib as Michael van Gerwen took control of the match after losing the first two legs to Michael Smith, who had the temerity to suggest that an upset may be on the cards. Well, after rattling off seven legs in a row with an average of 101.56, van Gerwen quashed those thoughts mercilessly to leave himself at the top of the rankings, a feat he believes is one of the most difficult to accomplish in the world of darts.
Gary Anderson 7-4 Simon Whitlock
Gary Anderson coped with the fervent support of a home Scottish crowd to defeat Simon Whitlock 7-4 in a fine game. Whitlock, to be fair, didn’t play particlularly poorly and actually hit the best three dart average of the night with 104.13, but he ran into Gary Anderson who matched him punch for punch and delivered a couple of telling blows winning games against the leg with crucial checkouts after a barrage of six 180s over the 11 legs. Both players are now level on seven points and should be firm favourites to go through to Phase 2.
Peter Wright 1-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright’s woes continued as the Scotsman couldn’t delight his home crowd, going down to yet another 7-1 defeat, his third in successive weeks in the Premier League, this time to the almost apologetic Raymond van Barnebeld. Once Again Wright’s average toiled in the 80s while Barney averaged just under 100 to complete an emphatic victory that puts him almost certain of reaching the second phase. Wright has some big problems to address over the final two weeks with this defeat dropping him into the bottom two of the table.
Rob Cross 7-1 Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross produced another very accomplished performance in seeing off Gerwyn Price with an outstanding display of power scoring and finishing. His emphatic victory rounded off a night of big wins for five players as the shell-shocked Price failed to match Cross’ scoring power and in particular his check out percentage. That win leaves Price rock bottom of the table, while Cross, who started off bottom after two weeks of games, has now qualified for Phase 2 and now lies in third place in the league table after five wins in a row.
Current Premier League Darts Table
|Pos||Player||Ply||Legs For||Legs Ag||Pts||Leg Agg||3 Dart Avg||Checkout %age|
|1||Michael van Gerwen||7||47||23||12||+24||103.09||45.63%|
|4||Raymond van Barneveld||7||40||37||8||+3||94.11||38.83%|
Night One 180’s – 22
Most Individual 180s on Night One – Gary Anderson (6)
Total Tournament 180’s – 174
Premier League Darts Night Eight Preview
The penultimate night of Phase 1 takes us across the Irish Sea to the beautiful city of Belfast and to the SSE Arena for the eighth set of games in the Premier League. There are a number of crucial games tonight at the bottom and top of the table and for some, it is their last chance to try and rescue their Premier League season. Here’s the latest betting on each of the five matches on Thursday and who we think will land each game.
Mensur Suljovic (7/2) v Gary Anderson (8/15) (4/1 the draw)
That defeat last week to Daryl Gurney has really hit Mensur Suljovic’s hopes of qualifying as he faces Gary Anderson this week and then Michael van Gerwen on Judgement Night in an attempt to stay in the tournament. In truth, as much as I like the gentle Mensur, he isn’t quite in the league of Anderson and van Gerwen. Gary’s back is still niggly but Anderson should have more than enough to secure a win and a place in phase 2 here.
Michael Smith (8/11) v Gerwyn Price (13/5) (7/2 the draw)
Of all the games on the night, I have the feeling that this may be the closest. That may sound strange as it is the second ranked player against the bottom ranked player who is without a win, but in terms of performance Smith and Price have played similarly in the tournament, it is just Smith has hit key doubles and leg wins at crucial times when Price hasn’t. I think this will be a cracking encounter and I think it will go all the way and I’m going to predict a win for Smith, but a narrow one.
Raymond van Barneveld (6/1) v Michael van Gerwen (3/10) (5/1 the draw)
If there is one player that Michael van Gerwen can be said to struggle against at times and who can match him for brilliance, it is Barney. In several tournaments now, van Gerwen’s compatriot has been his nemesis but I think with the pressure off tonight, that will suit van Gerwen more than van Barneveld and as such, I think what you will see is a game where Barney starts well, but van Gerwen comes through to dominate and take a relatively comfortable win.
Daryl Gurney (7/2) v Rob Cross (4/7) (7/2 the draw)
Daryl Gurney should take great confidence from his win last week over Mensur Suljovic but he is going to have to play another level higher yet again if he is to beat the in-form Rob Cross. After a slow start the current World Champion has breezed through the last five games winning them all and I would strongly fancy him to finish second in the table after the first phase as I think he will win both his remaining games, starting with a solid win for Cross over Gurney here, even in front of those fantastic Irish fans.
Simon Whitlock (11/5) v Peter Wright (5/6) (7/2 the draw)
For me this is the toughest game of the night. Not so much for Simon Whitlock who is in a strong position in the table, but for a Peter Wright who is struggling desperately for form and extremely low in terms of confidence and moods. At his best, Wright would be a huge favourite here and I am staggered that he still is, given he has lost his last three matches 7-1. Unless he gets back to his best form, I can’t see him winning a game especially when he has looked so defeated over the past few weeks. I’m backing Whitlock to snatch the win here.