Michael van Gerwen delighted a 10,000 partisan Dutch crowd by beating Phil Taylor and securing top spot in the Premier League table in Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena on Thursday evening. Van Gerwen edged out ‘The Power’ 7-5 in a thrilling contest to ensure he tops the league phase for the fourth year in succession.
MvG posted two maximums in the opening leg, but it was Taylor who clinched the spoils, after ‘The Green Machine’ spurned five darts at double. However, the world number one responded magnificently, converting checkouts of 90 and 80 to claim a crucial break of throw.
Despite this, the 16-time world champion secured an instant break back after Van Gerwen squandered two darts at tops, with Taylor taking out 41 in two darts. The next four legs all went with throw, with the encounter tantalizingly poised at four apiece. MvG was dominating the averages, but Taylor was displaying tremendous resilience.
Taylor fired in a timely 140 as he aimed to hold throw once more, but Van Gerwen raised the roof with a spectacular 164 checkout on the bullseye. The Dutch star then needed just one more leg to guarantee top spot, but he was made to sweat for a little longer, as Taylor took out D10 to level up proceedings, after Michael had missed a dart at tops.
Taylor then began goading the crowd and slowing down proceedings, but this tactic didn’t have the desired affect, after the 27-year-old Boxtel ace pinned D4 to complete a 64 checkout, assuring himself of top spot.
Michael then began the final leg with visits of 174 and 180 to set up a nine-dart possibility, although the fairytale finish did not come to fruition on this occasion. The Stoke-on-Trent star fired in a fine maximum of his own to leave 82 after 9 darts, but he wasn’t afforded an opportunity, as MvG nailed D16 for a 12-darter to seal a magnificent win.
Van Gerwen will face Adrian Lewis in the semi-finals at the O2 Arena next week, after Lewis sealed fourth spot by virtue of a comprehensive 7-2 victory against world champion Gary Anderson. The first four legs of the contest were shared, before ‘Jackpot’ reeled off five successive legs to claim an emphatic triumph.
Anderson averaged 97.21 to Lewis’ 93.22, but ‘The Flying Scotsman’ was ultimately punished for hitting just two doubles from nine attempts. Anderson will now face his old rival Phil Taylor in next week’s semi-final, as he bids to defend his title and win a third Premier League crown in the process.
Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld fought back from 6-4 down to claim a point against Peter Wright, to end Snakebite’s top-four hopes. Van Barneveld received an extraordinary reception from the Rotterdam crowd and despite some sloppy scoring, he produced finishes of 101 and 120 to hold throw for 2-2.
Wright led 4-3, before missing seven darts at double for a 5-3 advantage. Barney profited on his opponent’s profligacy, converting D15 to restore parity at 4-4. Yet, the Scot fired in a 13-darter to regain the initiative, before securing the first break of throw in the contest by virtue of a clinical 64 checkout.
However, with Wright on the cusp of victory, Van Barneveld showed tremendous resilience and converted his third ton-plus checkout of the contest, completing a 121 checkout on the bullseye for a 12-darter, reducing the arrears to 6-5.
Wright produced a fine scoring leg in the decider, but he then spurned two match darts at D19 and D8 respectively. The five-time world champion returned to the oche and held his nerve on D8 to claim a share of the spoils, to the delight of the 10,000 strong Barney-Army.
In the evening’s opening match, James Wade eased past Robert Thornton 7-3 in a scrappy tussle. Neither man averaged above 90, but Wade finished superbly and completed finishes of 160, 80, 97 and 85 en route to his seventh victory of the season.
Betway Premier League
Night 15 – May 12
Robert Thornton 3-7 James Wade
Peter Wright 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis 7-2 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 5-7 Michael van Gerwen
Best of 12 legs
|Final League Table||P||W||D||L||+/-||LWAT||Pts|
|Michael van Gerwen (Q)||16||11||4||1||+42||39||26|
|Phil Taylor (Q)||16||11||2||3||+35||36||24|
|Gary Anderson (Q)||16||8||4||4||+11||30||20|
|Adrian Lewis (Q)||16||9||1||6||+10||32||19|
|Raymond van Barneveld||16||5||2||9||-8||25||12|
|Dave Chisnall (E)||9||1||1||7||-14||17||3|
|Michael Smith (E)||9||1||1||7||-26||15||3|