Thankfully, the weather played ball last week in Nottingham and Night Six of the PDC Premier League Darts passed without a climate-based hitch. There were plenty of storms on the horizon though for some players, while other appear to have come through the fog and into the sunnier skies produced by better and more consistent form.
As usual, there was a real mix of results, a couple of really heavy defeats and two legends battled to a thoroughly entertaining draw in what was the usual exciting night of darts. Would Michael van Gerwen cement his place at the top of the table, would Michael Smith bounce back after his first loss last week to Rob Cross? Could Cross continue his good form and rack up his fourth win in four weeks against Mensur Suljovic?
All would be revealed on Thursday night.
Night Six Results
Michael Smith 7-1 Peter Wright
If Peter Wright’s performance last week against Mensur Suljovic was well below par for the World Number 2, then tonight’s performance against Bully Boy Michael Smith was arguably one his worst ever in a televised event. Indeed, his three dart average of 82.91 was his lowest since December 2010 in a televised tournament. Smith started well and raced to a 2-0 lead before Wright pulled one back and in the fourth leg, Wright missed four darts at double to level the game, allowing Smith to step in and claim the win. After that Smith bulldozed his way past Wright, who complained of a sore shoulder after the game, to claim a 7-1 win and leave Wright reeling after two successive losses by that score.
Daryl Gurney 6-6 Simon Whitlock
I predicted this would be a tight one last week and it duly was, producing a cracking game that was always evenly matched and which both players will feel they could have won. Gurney raced into a 3-1 lead before Whitlock pegged him back to 3-3 and after that the players traded legs until the game was level at 5-5. Whitlock then nicked the 11th game to guarantee himself a point, but Gurney finally took out double eight, after six misses at a double to claim what is his fourth draw in six Premier League games so far. However, the Irishman now needs to start turning these draws into wins.
Mensur Suljovic 2-7 Rob Cross
This promised to be a close affair with both these players in great form heading into the event but in the end it was a dominant performance from the current World Champion that saw him take a comprehensive victory. Cross scored heavily throughout the game, averaging 106 and checking out an incredible 78% of his doubles. Suljovic, who didn’t play that badly himself, was left once again rueing the fact that he seems to have run into another Premier League competitor who hits top form against him, just as Michael van Gerwen did earlier in the tournament.
Gerwyn Price 3-7 Michael van Gerwen
A missed double 12 in the fourth leg proved crucial in this game and allowed Michael van Gerwen to run out a comfortable 7-3 winner in the end. After the first three legs, Price held a 2-1 lead over the Dutchman, but in the fourth leg, he missed a single dart at double 12 to make it 3-1. From then on van Gerwen stepped up through the gears to win six of the next seven legs and claim a thumping 7-3 victory that ensures that he remains top of the Premier League table on leg difference for another week at least.
Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Gary Anderson
These two darting superstars produced a match that ebbed and flowed to round things off nicely in Nottingham. Barney began slightly the better of the two but found himself 3-2 down after five legs after Anderson recovered to take the lead. However that only spurred on Barney who levelled the match and then took the next two legs to lead 6-3 and assure himself of a point. Once again Anderson rose to the challenge, as he has done in this event already this season and rattled off the final three legs, albeit with the help of Barney missing five darts to win the match in leg 11, to claim a point in an enthralling and exciting encounter.
Current Premier League Darts Table
|Pos||Player||Ply||Legs For||Legs Ag||Pts||Leg Agg||3 Dart Avg||Checkout %age|
|1||Michael van Gerwen||6||40||21||10||+19||103.33||44.94%|
|5||Raymond van Barneveld||6||33||36||6||-3||93.45||36.67%|
Night One 180’s – 22
Most Individual 180s on Night One – Daryl Gurney & Raymond van Barneveld (4)
Total Tournament 180’s – 152
Premier League Darts Night Six Preview
We head north this week to the SSE Hydro in Glasgow for Night Seven of the PDC Premier League and it is now approaching crunch time, with Judgement Night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Night Nine now fast approaching. The five players in the bottom half of the draw will now be anxiously hoping they can start to pick up wins, while those at the top will have more of an eye on positioning themselves for a genuine tilt at reaching the playoffs a few weeks after. Here’s what is in store for darts fans in Glasgow on Thursday night.
Daryl Gurney (6/4) v Mensur Suljovic (11/8) (3/1 the draw)
This is a game that both players will have likely earmarked as a must win match if they are to secure a place beyond Judgement Night in this tournament. Gurney’s four points in this event have all come from drawn games and the Irishman is yet to win a game, his doubling being a key concern. Mensur Suljovic has been unfortunate, running into van Gerwen and Cross on nights when they hit superhuman levels of performance, as his 3-dart average and doubling percentage indicate. I think this will be close but I think Mensur’s better form and crucially, his doubles, will be the difference here.
Michael van Gerwen (1/4) v Michael Smith (13/2) (11/2 the draw)
In terms of the Premier League, this is the game of the night as the top two, separated just by one leg of darts in van Gerwen’s favour, clash. However, the stats show that van Gerwen is playing at a much higher level than Smith, who just appears to be grinding out results without having to play at his very best. I feel that will change tonight as unless Smith can up his average to over 100, I can’t see him giving van Gerwen too many problems. I’m backing a 7-4 win for van Gerwen here.
Gary Anderson (4/9) v Simon Whitlock (9/2) (4/1 the draw)
Gary Anderson has drawn both of his last two games but his record against Simon Whitlock isn’t too bad and with home crowd cheering the likeable Scot on, it is going to be a hostile crowd that Whitlock faces in this game. The amiable Aussie won’t be too fazed by that, but Anderson will know that after two draws, if he wants to start inching his way up the table, he’ll need both points here. I’m backing Anderson to get a narrow win in what should be a cracking match.
Peter Wright (6/4) v Raymond van Barneveld (11/8) (3/1 the draw)
It’s incredible to think that just a few weeks ago, Peter Wright inflicted a defeat on Michael van Gerwen in the Premier league to jump above him in the table. Since then though, the Scotsman’s form has deserted him and he has suffered back to back 7-1 thumpings at the hands of Mensur Suljovic and Michael Smith. In contrast, Barney secured a point for his third point in two weeks in a 6-6 draw with Gary Anderson and he’s now the favourite here. However, Wright is too good a player to let this type of form continue and in front of his home fans, I think this is where he starts his fightback. I’m backing Wright to get back to winning ways here.
Rob Cross (2/5) v Gerwyn Price (9/2) (9/2 the draw)
Arguably the most in-form player in the tournament takes on the most out of form player in the tournament in the final game of the night as World Champion Rob Cross seeks to make it five wins in a row over Welshman Gerwyn Price. Price made comments on Twitter this week about not caring whether he wins or loses and perhaps needing a break from the game. That’s not really the attitude he needs heading into a game against an in form Cross who averaged 106 last week and hit 78% of his checkouts. I can’t see Cross being quite as dominant as that here, but I am backing the Englishman to come through with a solid win here.