Phil Taylor maintained his unbeaten start to his final Premier League campaign with an impressive triumph over his great rival Raymond van Barneveld, as Michael van Gerwen and James Wade kept pace at the top of the table on a cracking night of action at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on Thursday.
Taylor defeated his old adversary Van Barneveld in their 78th and potentially final meeting. ‘The Power’ prevailed 7-4 in an entertaining tussle with a 96.79 average, as Barney suffered his first defeat of the season despite averaging 97.32, landing three maximums and converting 50% of his double attempts.
Taylor kicked off proceedings with a commanding 14-dart hold, before Barney levelled the contest with a two-dart 60 kill. The third leg was an error-strewn affair. The 16-time world champion missed six darts at double but Barney couldn’t capitalise as Taylor eventually sank D1 to hold.
Van Barneveld responded majestically however. The Dutch legend began the leg with six perfect darts and although he was unable to record the perfect leg, he pinned D16 for a stunning 10-dart hold. The Stoke ace regained the lead with a clinical 76 kill, but Barney restored parity at three apiece after hitting D8 for the sixth successive hold of throw.
The five-time world champion left 81 after just nine darts as he attempted to secure the first break of throw in leg seven, but he wired the bull and was ruthlessly punished as Taylor landed a classy two-dart 85 combination to regain the lead.
This deflated the Dutchman and Taylor duly pounced. He converted a nerveless 63 outshot on D12 to break for the first time, before guaranteeing himself a point with a tremendous 120 checkout.
Taylor had the opportunity to seal victory in the tenth leg, but he spurned two match darts at D16 as Van Barneveld conjured up a brilliant 107 finish to keep his hopes alive. However, after RvB missed the bullseye for a spectacular 161 finish moments later, Taylor did find D16 to clinch victory and remain joint top of the Premier League tree.
Defending champion Michael van Gerwen continued his strong start to his title defence with a hard-fought 7-4 victory over a spirited Jelle Klaasen. Van Gerwen averaged 102.78, crashed in four maximums and converted 35% of his double attempts as Klaasen still awaits his first points of the 2017 season.
‘The Green Machine’ made a blistering start to the tussle; holding throw inside 14 darts, before extending his cushion with a sublime 11-darter via D8. Nevertheless, Klaasen suddenly exploded into life to turn the contest on its head.
‘The Cobra’ dispatched an unorthodox 94 kill which culminated with successive D19s, before overcoming double-trouble to level on D8 having posted his first maximum earlier in the leg. Klaasen was motoring and left tops after just nine darts; subsequently cleaning up D10 for an 11-darter to register his third leg on the spin.
‘Mighty Mike’ was rattled, but the world number one nailed D8 with his last dart in hand to stop the rot. He then restored his lead on D4 after Klaasen missed D18 for an exhibition-style 129 outshot. However, the former Lakeside world champion continued to toil and sank D10 to restore parity at four apiece.
Van Gerwen wasn’t performing at his brilliant best, but he still produced the goods when necessary. He fired in successive 15-darters to confirm at least a share of the spoils, before sealing the triumph in style; converting a 94 kill on tops to round-off a sensational 12-darter.
Peter Wright produced an incredible display of finishing to edge out his fellow Scot Gary Anderson in a magnificent tussle. Wright averaged 109.48 and landed four ton-plus finishes to prevail, as Anderson left Leeds empty-handed despite averaging 106.59, hitting six maximums and missing just two darts at double.
Wright spurned three darts at double to break throw in the opening leg as Anderson gratefully held throw with a 76 checkout. However, Snakebite responded superbly to this setback; taking out 116 and 121 finishes in successive legs for consecutive 12-darters.
Wright then took out 116 for the second time in the contest to register a third straight 12-dart leg, leaving Anderson shell-shocked. The two-time world champion responded with a 15-dart hold, but Snakebite’s majestic finishing continued, as he restored his two-leg cushion with a 120 outshot; his fourth ton-plus checkout.
Anderson continued to battle valiantly. He recorded two maximums en route to a 14-dart hold, but he was unable to make inroads against throw. Wright held once again after posting three successive 140’s and dispatching a nerveless 81 kill on the bull, with Anderson not afforded a dart at double despite opening the leg with six perfect darts.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ was scoring far more prolifically and landed his fifth maximum to round-off an 11-darter to reduce the arrears to 5-4. Nevertheless, Wright crashed in his second 180 and pegged D8 with his last dart in hand to guarantee himself a point.
The two-time world champion refused to relent and followed up his sixth maximum by powering in a classy 110 checkout to stay alive. However, it was to no avail. Snakebite maintained his composure and sank D10 to complete a 14-darter and condemn his compatriot to his first defeat of this year’s campaign.
James Wade produced a blistering burst of brilliance to maintain his unbeaten start to the Premier League season.’The Machine’ trailed 4-3 at one stage, but reeled off four legs in succession to triumph with a 98.21 average, two maximums and a 54% checkout success rate.
The contest began in tentative fashion, with the opening four legs all going with throw. Lewis was averaging a miserly 75 at this stage, but then secured a 13-dart hold which sparked the match into life.
‘Jackpot’ registered his first maximum to threaten a break of throw, but Wade powered in a crucial 121 checkout on the bullseye to level proceedings. Lewis then followed up his second maximum with a two-dart 71 kill for a seventh successive hold of throw, before ‘The Machine’ produced an astonishing sequence of legs to seize control.
The Aldershot ace took out 94 with consummate ease, before recording successive 11-dart legs to complete a sequence of three straight legs inside 34 darts. Lewis was unable to respond and wired the bull for an 86 finish which would have prolonged matters, as Wade secured his second victory of the campaign via his trusted tops.
Dave Chisnall secured his first points of the 2017 campaign with an impressive victory over Kim Huybrechts in the evening’s final match. ‘Chizzy’ averaged 102.20, landed five maximums and converted 38% of his double attempts to round off an accomplished display, to leave Huybrechts in the elimination places after week three.
‘The Hurricane’ made the perfect start to the contest by converting an 83 checkout to break throw. However, Chisnall conjured up a fine two-dart 78 combination to break straight back after the pair exchanged maximums earlier in the leg.
This galvanised the St Helen’s star, as he crashed in his second maximum to complete an 11-dart hold of throw. Nevertheless, the Belgian delivered a timely riposte; powering in a crucial 110 finish on tops to level the tie.
The fifth leg was a dramatic affair. Chisnall missed the bull for a spectacular 170 checkout before enduring a spate of double-trouble. Despite this, he found D2 with his last dart in hand for a precious hold, before registering a clinical 68 checkout on tops to establish a two-leg cushion.
Chisnall made it three legs in succession by virtue of hitting D4, but he squandered three clear darts at double for a guaranteed point moments later, as Huybrechts held his nerve to take out 66 and remain in contention. This didn’t perturb the world number seven however.
Chisnall conjured up a stunning 141 finish to open his Premier League account, and whilst Huybrechts pegged a 64 finish to prolong the contest, the St Helen’s star sealed victory with a 14-darter on D8; having wired the bull for a 170 outshot in the preceding visit.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Betway Premier League
Night Three – Thursday February 16
First Direct Arena, Leeds
Gary Anderson 5-7 Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis 4-7 James Wade
Phil Taylor 7-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Jelle Klaasen
Dave Chisnall 7-4 Kim Huybrechts
|After Night Three||P||W||D||L||+/-||LWAT||Pts|
|Michael van Gerwen||3||2||1||0||+7||7||5|
|Raymond van Barneveld||3||1||1||1||-1||6||3|
* Michael van Gerwen is above Phil Taylor on tournament average (105.32 to 94.77)