World Champion Gary Anderson enjoyed double-delight on home soil, securing two victories against Adrian Lewis and Peter Wright respectively to climb up to 3rd in the league on Thursday evening at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow.
Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld rolled back the years with a brilliant win against Dave Chisnall, whilst Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor shared the spoils. In the evening’s other contest, James Wade silenced the natives with a professional 7-4 triumph against home-favourite Robert Thornton.
However, the plaudits will go to Gary Anderson, who clinched victory in his opening game of the night in a repeat of this year’s World Championship final against Adrian Lewis. Anderson averaged a shade under a ton to secure a hard-fought 7-4 victory against an under-par Jackpot.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ held throw routinely in the opening leg, before doubling his lead with a clinical 87 finish on D18, after Lewis had earlier spurned five darts to level up proceedings.
Anderson squandered chances for 5-1 and 6-2 leads, before missing three clear darts for a 7-3 triumph. However, Jackpot was unable to seriously pressurise Anderson’s throw, and the Scot, roared on by his partisan home support, closed out victory convincingly in the eleventh leg.
Anderson returned to take on Peter Wright in the final match of the evening, and he condemned Snakebite to a third consecutive defeat by winning the final two legs to prevail 7-5 in a pulsating all-Scottish clash.
Wright broke Anderson’s throw in the opening leg after the world champion wired the bullseye for a 127 finish, but Gary levelled up proceedings in the following leg, after Snakebite squandered four darts at double. Anderson delivered a crushing blow with 101 checkout to move 2-1 ahead, but Wright was unperturbed and pegged straight back.
It was a topsy-turvy contest and both men were displaying moments of genius, as well as moments of distinct mediocrity. However, Anderson edged ahead once more in the fifth leg, hitting two D20s to complete an exhibition-style 80 finish, which followed a tremendous 168 set-up shot.
However Wright bounced back superbly, reeling off two successive legs with respective 60 checkouts and suddenly, Snakebite had the advantage. Despite this, another significant momentum shift ensued in the eighth leg, as Anderson delivered a timely maximum and produced a brilliant 81 finish for an 11-dart break back.
The ninth leg was tightly contested, but after Wright failed to take out 64, Ando held his nerve to convert D20 and move to the cusp of securing a point. The reigning Premier League champion had the opportunity to guarantee a point in the next leg, but he uncharacteristically his chance, and Wright pounced by pinning D8.
Nevertheless, Anderson remained unflappable and ensured he would depart Glasgow without tasting defeat, after cleaning up 100 with two D20s to move 6-5 ahead. Anderson hit another maximum to steal the darts, but he then missed three clear darts at D20 and allowed Wright a guilt-edged chance to convert D4 and salvage a point.
However, Snakebite surprisingly lost his composure, missing three darts at D4. The world champion didn’t require a second invitation and he returned to the oche to take out D5 and secure a pivotal victory in the race for a play-off place. It was a dream night on Scottish soil for Anderson, who has now won five consecutive Premier League matches.
The performance of the night was delivered by Raymond van Barneveld, who continued his remarkable Glasgow record with a fantastic 7-4 victory against Dave Chisnall. Van Barneveld has now tasted victory on eight occasions in Glasgow, which is more than any other player in Premier League history.
The five-time champion averaged 104.90 and produced three stunning ton-plus finishes to return to winning ways and ease any potential relegation concerns. Van Barneveld took out finishes of 76, 121, 152 and 161 to seal his third win of the season.
However, Chisnall’s woes continue. Dave didn’t perform badly and was averaging over 100 for long periods, but inconsistency is plaguing his game at present, and he has only secured 1 point in the last 6 weeks of league action, which is undoubtedly a major concern.
Elsewhere, Phil Taylor defied a hostile Scottish crowd to produce an inspired comeback from 5-1 down to secure a point against van Gerwen.
‘The Green Machine’ averaged 107.35 and hit four maximums, but Taylor averaged 103.12 and posted 60% on his doubles, as he capitalised on three missed match darts from MvG to extend his unbeaten league run to six games.
Van Gerwen produced a really poor opening leg on throw although he was handed a major reprieve as Taylor fluffed his lines. ‘The Power’ missed a big number trying to set up D16, before later missing four darts for a break, enabling MvG to seize the initiative with a two-dart 92 checkout.
Taylor responded strongly by restoring parity with a 114 finish, before the Dutchman regained his lead by pinning D20 for a 13-dart hold. Taylor’s scoring power dwindled considerably in the fourth and van Gerwen punished, posting his first maximum of the contest and hitting D20 to establish a two-leg cushion.
‘The Green Machine’ won his third straight-leg with a commanding hold on D20, before piling on the pain for Taylor by pinning D9 for a double-break. The 16-time world champion seemed on the verge of falling 6-1 behind, but the world number one failed to convert 74 and Taylor took advantage, nailing 84 on the bullseye for one break back.
This prompted a fine fightback from the 55-year-old, who reduced the arrears to 5-3 with a clinical 62 finish, and suddenly the Dutchman was perturbed. MvG left 42 after just 12 darts, but he wasn’t afforded an opportunity to seal a point, as Taylor produced a nerveless 120 finish to move to within a leg of Michael.
Taylor seemed destined to win his fourth leg in succession and level up the contest at 5-5, leaving 64 after just 12 darts. However, Van Gerwen produced an incredible 170 checkout to send the Hydro into raptures, and this appeared to be the defining blow.
Yet, there was to be another twist. Van Gerwen uncharacteristically missed three darts at D18 for a 7-4 win and Taylor stepped in to post D4 and send the contest into a deciding leg. MvG posted a timely maximum to leave 46 after 9 darts in the decider, but Taylor defied the boos from the crowd to complete a fantastic 81 checkout on D13 to snatch a point.
Finally, Robert Thornton’s search for a first league victory continues. Thornton averaged 101 in his best performance of the season so far, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Wade from sealing his third straight win. ‘The Thorn’ started tremendously well and threw seven perfect darts in leg four, with his eighth dart at T19 letting him down.
The first six legs were shared and Robert was averaging over 111. Nevertheless, the turning point came in the eighth leg, as Wade punished a mediocre leg from the Scot to grab a crucial break. The World-Grand Prix champion stayed adrift with a brilliant 95 finish on the bull, but Wade closed out a 7-4 victory with a clinical 13-darter on his throw.