It was another night of exciting action in Cardiff last Thursday with two returning stars cementing excellent starts to the new PDC Premier League Darts season, while the four new boys into the tournament continued to struggle.
Following the drama of the first night of action, there was plenty to look out for in Week Two. Would Gary Anderson’s back, which troubled him so much in his opening night’s match with Michael Smith, be healed enough for this week’s games? Would Michael van Gerwen continues his dominance over Peter Wright in televised matches? Would Rob Cross start to find his best form after a torrid start to 2018?
Here’s how the evening panned out:
Night Two Results
Michael Smith 7-4 Daryl Gurney
Daryl Gurney produced the higher average of these two young talented darts players, but it was the more clinical finishing of Michael Smith, especially on his favourite double 20, that saw the St.Helens player record his second win of the tournament in as many games. It was a game which ebbed and flowed with Smith talking an early lead in the match before Gurney struck back to level matters. However at key times, the Irishman missed key doubles, which Smith capitalised on to claim what looks on paper a relatively easy victory but which was actually a very hard-fought one.
Rob Cross 1-7 Simon Whitlock
Rob Cross suffered his fifth defeat in a row in 2018 as the World Champion’s miserable start to his inaugural Premier League campaign continued. After picking up just two legs against an in form Michael van Gerwen last week, Cross was miles away from his best against Simon Whitlock, who didn’t need to hit the heights he did in his first week match with Mensur Suljovic to claim a relatively straightforward 7-1 win which will confirm the Wizard of Oz as the frontrunner in the league table after two weeks of action.
Michael van Gerwen 5-7 Peter Wright
After many attempts, Peter Wright has finally got the better of Michael van Gerwen in a televised major. The Scotsman didn’t begin the game particularly well, but uncharacteristic mistakes by van Gerwen, coupled with some outstanding finishing by Wright saw the game ebb and flow. The match, a rematch of last year’s final, which saw Wright have six darts to win the tournament only to miss them all and allow van Gerwen to win. This time Wright led 6-4 before van Gerwen claimed a leg back, but only for Wright to hit a 13-dart leg to complete a memorable win.
Gary Anderson 7-3 Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson’s back as much as his darts have been the focal point for many fans so far in the Premier League and it was good to see the Scot looking back to his best and looking fully fit with this timely victory over Gerwyn Price. Having visted an Osteopath on Monday and Tuesday, Anderson declared himself fit to play and he came back from losing 2-1 to establish a 4-2 lead and then never looked like losing the match, winning with a nice double 5 to claim a solid victory in front of Price’s home fans.
Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 Mensur Suljovic
Statistics can often be misleading in darts and it is strange that the player with the highest three-dart average after two weeks of Premier League darts, is in the bottom two of the tournament without a point or a win to his name. That’s because for the second week in a row Mensur Suljovic posted a 102+ average, but went down to a 7-5 defeat, this time to Raymond van Barneveld. The highlight of the Dutchman’s performance was a superb 167 checkout which handed him a crucial 3-1 lead and despite a Suljovic fight back Barney held on to claim the three points.
Current Premier League Darts Table
|Pos||Player||Ply||Legs For||Legs Ag||Pts||Leg Agg||3 Dart Avg||Checkout %age|
|3||Raymond van Barneveld||2||13||11||3||+2||97.09||37.14%|
|5||Michael van Gerwen||2||12||9||2||+3||100.96||46.15%|
Night One 180’s – 28
Most Individual 180s on Night One – Gary Anderson (5)
Total Tournament 180’s – 53
Premier League Darts Night Three Preview
This week the players clash at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in what promises to be another night of top quality darts. Rob Cross found some form at the UK Open Qualifiers at the weekend and he will be hoping to put his poor start behind him in what promises to be an intriguing selection of games on Night Three.
Mensur Suljovic (7/5) v Michael Smith (7/5) (3/1 the draw)
Mensur Suljovic can count himself somewhat unlucky not to have posted at least one win in the past two weeks. The Austrian has hit the highest three dart average in the tournament by some distance but has run into two players in excellent form and who hit doubles at the crucial times. Smith will be confident after two opening wins and a solid show in the UK Open qualifying and I think this will be a close one but I am backing Mensur Suljovic to snatch a narrow win here to get himself up and running in the event.
Daryl Gurney (5/6) v Gerwyn Price (12/5) (10/3 the draw)
Both debutants have struggled a little so far in the Premier League picking up one point out of the six possible, but of the two Gurney has been the more consistent scorer, but statistics show that Price has enjoyed more success on the doubles. That has been Gurney’s main problem thus far and I think the Irishman will have been working hard on that in the run up to this game. This will likely be another one to go to a deciding leg but I am backing Gurney just to pinch this one 7-5.
Peter Wright (13/10) v Rob Cross (8/5) (10/3 the draw)
After a miserable start to the year, Rob Cross found some form at the UK Open qualifiers in Wigan over the weekend and he will come into this game with Peter Wright in a much better state of mind than he was in when trounced by Simon Whitlock last weekend. His problem though is Wright will also be brimming with confidence after his win over van Gerwen last week. This is a tough one to call and in the end, I would not be surprised to see this one end up as a 6-6 draw.
Gary Anderson (7/2) v Michael van Gerwen (8/15) (7/2 the draw)
Gary Anderson’s back issue has troubled him for a while now and van Gerwen, who will be like a wounded animal following his surprise loss to Peter Wright last week, is not the player to let the Scot off lightly. If Anderson’s back is fine, then this could be one of the best matches of the entire Premier League, but at the moment, I think Anderson is just finding his way back to best form. That’s not going to be good enough against van Gerwen who I think will win this one by a 7-4 scoreline.
Simon Whitlock (12/5) v Raymond van Barneveld (5/6) (10/3 the draw)
Simon Whitlock will be thrilled to bits with his superb start to the Premier League this year and to be fair, with four points in the bag, Raymond van Barneveld, normally a slow-starter in this tournament, will be equally thrilled. Of the two, I think van Barneveld is the more consistent player but the stats show Whitlock has posted a higher average and has an incredible double hit rate of over 50%. The Wizard of Oz will find that hard to maintain and while I think this will be close I am backing Barney for a 7-4 win here.