Michael van Gerwen cut Phil Taylor’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to just two points after claiming maximum points from his double-header at the Bournemouth International Centre. Van Gerwen defeated Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis to confirm his qualification for finals night at the O2 Arena next month.
Van Gerwen kicked off the evening with a comprehensive victory against Peter Wright to inflict Snakebite’s second successive 7-2 loss. MvG averaged 103.38 and boasted 53% on the doubles, and despite Wright averaging 98, the Scot was unable to trouble the merciless Dutchman.
Van Gerwen faced Adrian Lewis in the evening’s final match and the world number one came through a scrappy tussle against Jackpot. Van Gerwen averaged a meagre 96.82 by his exceptionally high standards, but it was still enough to claim victory. Michael broke throw in the opening leg and then extended his advantage with a fine 124 checkout.
Lewis showed impressive resilience to reduce the arrears to 4-3, and he forced a last-leg decider after MvG squandered four darts to close out a 7-4 victory. Nevertheless, Jackpot was unable to salvage anything from the contest, as Van Gerwen secured his second win of the evening with a convincing 14-darter on his throw.
It was a damaging night for Lewis in his play-off chase, after he was also beaten by five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld earlier in the evening. Lewis was under-par and only posted an average of 90, whilst van Barneveld dominated the encounter and could have won in more emphatic style.
However, Barney took out sumptuous finishes of 141 and 110 en route to his fifth victory of the 2016 campaign, in a match which saw just the solitary break of throw. Lewis still sits in third position and crucially retains control of his own destiny, but just one point now separates Gary Anderson, Lewis and James Wade.
Anderson and Wade played out an enthralling draw in the stand-out match of the evening, to keep both players firmly in the play-off picture. Anderson averaged 103.07 and recorded five maximums in the final six legs, but Wade showed tremendous character to fightback from 6-3 down and salvage a precious point against the world champion.
Wade himself averaged 99.71 and hit an impressive 46% of his doubles, as he remains just one point behind both Anderson and Lewis in fifth position. The Machine’s clutch-doubling was impressive, as he converted finishes of 78, 64 and 71 to frustrate the ‘Flying Scotsman’.
Elsewhere, Phil Taylor remains top of the table after he eased to a 7-2 win against Robert Thornton in an underwhelming clash. Taylor averaged a mere 89.91 compared to Thornton’s 93.61, but ‘The Thorn’ was punished for an abject checkout percentage of 28%, as Taylor extended his unbeaten league run to 12 matches.
Betway Premier League
Night 12 – April 21
Bournemouth International Centre
Michael van Gerwen 7-2 Peter Wright
Raymond van Barneveld 7-4 Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson 6-6 James Wade
Phil Taylor 7-2 Robert Thornton
Adrian Lewis 5-7 Michael van Gerwen
Best of 12 legs