Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen opened up their 2016 Premier League accounts with fantastic victories on night two at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena. Taylor averaged 111.20 en route to trouncing James Wade 7-1, whilst van Gerwen defeated world champion Gary Anderson in a repeat of last year’s Premier League final, with MvG averaging 111.88.
The match of the night was contested between Anderson and van Gerwen. Gary was ruled out of the opening week of this year’s Premier League due to a viral infection, but he showed no signs of ill effects against the Dutchman, averaging 106.23 and hitting 75% on the doubles, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the inspired ‘Green Machine’.
Anderson kicked off proceedings with a commanding hold of throw, converting 51 in two-darts for a 14-darter, but van Gerwen held in 13 darts, before breaking the Scot in 14 darts. MvG claimed his third consecutive leg with a superb 105 checkout, but Anderson responded by pinning D20 for an excellent 13-dart hold.
Michael regained his two-leg cushion with a clinical two-dart 70 kill, but Gary reduced the arrears to 4-3 with another 13-darter, this time on D16. However, the world number one was in relentless mood. He posted his fourth maximum and took out 47 for an 11-darter, before guaranteeing a point in the ninth leg, converting a fine 85 checkout for a 12-darter.
Anderson continued to plug away, but van Gerwen won his third straight leg to seal victory, doing so with an accomplished 14-darter by virtue of a 72 checkout. It was an extremely high-quality contest, with no leg exceeding 15 darts. This was a vital win for Michael, particularly after his shock defeat to Wade in Leeds on the opening night.
Despite this, Phil Taylor also sent out an emphatic message to the rest of the field, as he also averaged 111 to claim his first points of the season. After losing 7-2 to Raymond van Barneveld last week, questions were posed about Taylor’s ability to still compete with the best, but he answered these critics in typically ominous fashion.
‘The Power’ raced into a 2-0 advantage after posting 14 and 15-darters respectively, but Wade opened his account with a fine 78 checkout for a 14-dart hold. ‘The Machine’ then appeared poised to restore parity in the fourth leg, posting scores of 180, 140 and 140 to leave 41 after just 9 darts thrown.
Nevertheless, Taylor delivered a killer blow, taking out a magnificent 122 checkout to deny Wade a chance to level up proceedings. This visibly crushed James, and Taylor extended his lead to 4-1, having posted his first maximum of the contest. The 16-time world champion was motoring, and he moved 5-1 ahead courtesy of a classy 127 checkout in just 12-darts.
The comprehensive scoreline didn’t reflect Wade’s impressive performance. The eight-time major winner averaged 102 and did very little wrong, but Taylor was in imperious form. The 55-year-old broke Wade once more in the seventh leg thanks to his second maximum and an 11-darter, before sealing the win with a regulation 65 checkout.
Taylor performed extremely well at last weekend’s UK Open qualifiers and he certainly transferred this form to Newcastle on Thursday. Phil is unquestionably becoming more comfortable with his new darting set-up and on the basis of that performance, the six-time Premier League champion will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Elsewhere, Adrian Lewis finished the evening on top of the table after beating his Target stable-mate Dave Chisnall 7-4 in an entertaining contest. Chisnall averaged 98 and posted four maximums, but early susceptibility on the doubles proved costly for ‘Chizzy’.
Lewis romped to a 7-1 win over Michael Smith in Leeds last week and at one stage, Jackpot appeared destined to replicate this feat, as he stormed into a 6-1 lead against ‘The Yellow Peril’. Lewis has been in tremendous form throughout the last few months and he was throwing superbly, until he became slightly complacent in the latter stages of the contest.
Chisnall reduced the deficit to 6-2 after producing an excellent 110 finish on the bullseye, before a bizarre tenth leg ensued. Lewis missed five match darts, but after Chisnall failed to capitalise, Lewis was handed another opportunity, until he somehow bust his score, by hitting S18 with a score of just 5 remaining.
Chisnall eventually took advantage by pinning D20, before he secured his third leg in succession through a clinical 98 checkout, and suddenly Lewis’ lead was only 6-4 and he’d become embroiled in a battle. Yet, an unlikely comeback didn’t come to fruition on this occasion, as the two-time World Champion produced a superb 12-darter to seal victory.
Michael Smith’s miserable start to his debut Premier League campaign continued, as ‘Bully-Boy’ was beaten 7-4 by James Wade in the opening match of the evening. Wade was forced to play twice after Robert Thornton was ruled out with a chest infection, and he took advantage of Smith’s profligacy to secure his second win of this year’s campaign.
Smith made a purposeful start to the contest, averaging 107 as he went 3-2 ahead with a valuable break of throw. However, the sixth leg proved decisive. Smith missed EIGHT darts for a 4-2 advantage, before Wade eventually converted D5 to restore parity, and the St Helen’s star failed to recover from this setback.
The next two legs were shared, before the left-hander Wade won the final three legs of the contest to claim a 7-4 victory. Smith’s average of 91.74 illustrated just how significantly his game declined in the closing stages, and he faces a must-win clash against his fellow St Helen’s star Dave Chisnall in Dublin next week.
Finally, Peter Wright maintained his 100% record in this year’s Premier League as he claimed a rather fortuitous 7-5 victory over Raymond van Barneveld in an extremely puzzling match.
Wright opted to change his equipment following last week’s victory over Michael Smith, but Peter didn’t appear comfortable whatsoever, and his longer points were significantly affecting his grouping.
Van Barneveld was the better player throughout the contest, but he spurned a number of great opportunities, which included missing three clear darts at double for a 5-2 lead. Wright broke Barney’s throw in the eleventh leg with an impressive 75 checkout to lead for the very first time, before securing an unlikely win with a 13-darter in the deciding leg.
Betway Premier League
Night Two – February 11
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
James Wade 7-4 Michael Smith
Raymond van Barneveld 5-7 Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis 7-4 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 3-7 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 1-7 Phil Taylor
|Following Night Two||P||W||D||L||+/-||Pts|
|Raymond van Barneveld||2||1||0||1||+3||2|
|Michael van Gerwen||2||1||0||1||+1||2|