Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and James Wade remain joint top of the Premier League table after four of the five matches were drawn at the Brighton Centre on Thursday evening, as Jelle Klaasen was the solitary player to secure victory as he moved off the foot of the table.
Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis shared the spoils in one of the most entertaining tussles of the season so far. Van Gerwen averaged 104.67, landed four maximums and converted 38% of his double attempts, whilst Lewis produced his best performance of the year so far; averaging 101.2 to get his campaign back on track.
‘The Green Machine’ kicked off proceedings with a majestic 11-darter, before Lewis assumed control. ‘Jackpot’ levelled on D4 after MvG missed four darts to extend his lead, before following up a fabulous visit of 174 with a 13-dart leg to break.
MvG was plagued by missed doubles once again in the fourth leg, as Lewis followed up a magnificent 177 by pinning D12 for another 13-darter to record his third leg in succession. Van Gerwen stopped the rot with a classy 116 checkout, but Lewis was undeterred and re-established his two-leg cushion after nailing a spectacular 170 checkout on the bull.
The world champion responded in typically emphatic fashion. He began the seventh leg with six perfect darts and registered an 11-darter to reduce the arrears to 4-3, before sinking D18 with his last dart in hand to level proceedings at four apiece.
‘Mighty Mike’ appeared poised to seize control but Lewis fired back once more. The two-time world champion left 24 after just nine darts, before hitting D3 with his sixth attempt at double to secure the lead at 5-4. Nevertheless, the pendulum swung again moments later as Van Gerwen completed a 13-darter on tops to break and restore parity at 5-5.
Van Gerwen had trailed for much of the contest, but crashed in his fourth maximum and rounded-off a 14-dart hold on tops to maintain his unbeaten record. The world number one almost secured victory in sensational style after wiring the bull for a 170 outshot of his own, but Lewis returned to peg D12 and seal a point from this absorbing showdown.
Raymond van Barneveld battled back from 6-4 behind to secure a point in a high-quality contest against the in-form Peter Wright. Van Barneveld averaged 103.40, landed four maximums and converted 38% of his double attempts, whilst Wright averaged 95.87, registered three maximums and finished with a 30% checkout success rate.
The five-time world champion was sporting glasses on the oche for the first time in nearly two years, and kicked off proceedings with a 177 en route to a 14-darter. However, Wright suddenly sparked into action. ‘Snakebite’ landed his first maximum before rounding-off a 13-darter on tops, before producing a fine scoring leg against throw.
The Scot left 36 after just nine darts, but missed three clear darts at D18. Van Barneveld capitalised; hitting the same target for a 14-dart hold. However, Wright responded by holding via D2, after Barney had missed the bullseye for a 124 outshot in the preceding visit.
Both players missed crucial doubles in the fifth leg, before Van Barneveld held his nerve to convert D3. Wright continued to fightback however; landing a regulation 60 checkout to level at three apiece.
Van Barneveld had been the most prolific maximum hitter in the opening three weeks of competition and crashed in his first 180 en route to a 13-dart hold in the seventh leg. The legendary Dutchman then had another chance to break throw, but agonisingly wired the bull for a 122 kill as Wright pegged D8 for the eighth consecutive hold of throw.
However, the run of legs going with throw came to a halt moments later. Wright posted his third maximum and found D5 for a 13-dart break, before guaranteeing himself a point with an accomplished 14-dart hold via D18. Van Barneveld was at the point of no return, but showed impressive resolve to fight back.
The Dutchman landed back-to-back maximums before rounding-off a 13-darter on D8 to force a twelfth and deciding leg. Wright had the advantage of throw, but struggled in the scoring department, and Barney pounced. Van Barneveld effortlessly dispatched a 140 finish on D10 for a 12-dart leg to clinch a well-deserved share of the spoils.
Gary Anderson fought back from 5-1 down to seal an unlikely point in a real topsy-turvy affair against James Wade. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ was punished for key missed doubles early on in the contest, but fought back valiantly to claim a share of the spoils with a 96.8 average compared to Wade’s 89.81.
The world number two started strongly; hitting his first 180 en route to a 14-dart hold via D3. However, Wade responded confidently and produced successive 14-dart legs to claim the early initiative.
Anderson landed his third maximum as he attempted to get back on track, but was unable to take out 80, as Wade nervelessly dispatched a 100 finish for his third leg on the spin. The Scot was punished for further profligacy in the fifth leg and ‘The Machine’ pounced in typically ruthless fashion; taking out a quality 110 checkout for a double-break.
Wade’s timing was impeccable and he followed up a stunning visit of 171 by pinning D8 for his fifth leg in succession. The result appeared to be a foregone conclusion, but Anderson refused to relent and launched a valiant fightback.
The two-time world champion halted Wade’s momentum with an 88 kill, before converting a 121 outshot on the bull to break. Anderson then registered a 13-darter on tops for his third straight leg, before Wade crumbled in the tenth leg. The left-hander missed nine clear darts at double for a point, as Anderson eventually pinned D3 to level the tie.
Wade was shell-shocked and Anderson capitalised. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ completed a 15-dart hold on tops for his fifth straight leg to guarantee himself a point; heaping the pressure on Wade. ‘The Machine’ endured more double-trouble in the final leg, but regained his composure to sink D9 and salvage a point to maintain his unbeaten run.
Phil Taylor also maintained his unbeaten start to the season after coming 6-4 behind to salvage a point in a fiery affair with Kim Huybrechts. ‘The Hurricane’ took out a string of fine finishes and irritated ‘The Power’ with his over-zealous celebrations, but he spurned two match darts as Taylor capitalised to clinch a draw with a 96.44 average.
The Belgian made a fine start to the contest after landing a 110 finish on D16 to break. He then extended his cushion on D9 moments later after Taylor spurned four clear darts at double. ‘The Power’ opened his account in the third leg via D6, but Huybrechts converted a crucial 87 kill via D5 to restore his two-leg cushion.
The next three legs all went with throw, before Taylor posted a brilliant visit of 177 as he appeared poised to level up proceedings at four apiece. Nevertheless, Huybrechts took out a magnificent 140 finish (T18, T18, D16) to move 5-3 ahead and leave the Stoke star stunned.
Taylor continued to battle and hit D6 for the second time in the contest to hold throw, but Huybrechts dispatched an impressive two-dart 87 combination to guarantee himself a point.
The Belgian had converted a number of crucial finishes and almost produced another stunning outshot to seal victory; wiring D8 for a match-winning 136 kill. Taylor pegged D16 to stay alive, before a dramatic final leg ensued. Huybrechts missed two further match darts at D20 and D10 respectively, as ‘The Power’ sank D8 to snatch a point.
Jelle Klaasen secured his first points of the season with a convincing 7-3 victory over Dave Chisnall in the night’s opening match. ‘The Cobra’ was in confident mood in Brighton; averaging 98.9, crashing in four maximums and converting 47% of his attempts at double to condemn Chisnall to his third defeat of the campaign.
Chisnall clinched the opening leg of the contest via D19, only for Klaasen to fire in his second maximum and take out 85 for a 12-dart hold to level. ‘The Cobra’ then broke Chisnall with a clinical 72 checkout, but the St Helen’s star responded in kind; registering a classy 86 kill on D8 for a 12-dart break back.
The fifth leg was a real error-strewn affair. ‘Chizzy’ spurned a multitude of opportunities to hold and Klaasen sank D10 for the third consecutive break of throw. The Dutchman then registered his third maximum en route to a 14-dart hold to extend his lead, before firing in a magical 152 checkout for his third successive leg.
‘The Cobra’ was full of confidence and followed up his fourth maximum with an impressive 85 finish to guarantee himself his first point of the season. Chisnall hit tops to stay alive, but this simply proved to be a consolation leg, as Klaasen converted a 72 kill on D16 to round off a convincing triumph.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Betway Premier League
Night Four – Thursday February 23
The Brighton Centre
Dave Chisnall 3-7 Jelle Klaasen
Michael van Gerwen 6-6 Adrian Lewis
Gary Anderson 6-6 James Wade
Phil Taylor 6-6 Kim Huybrechts
Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Peter Wright
Best of 12 legs
|During Night Four||P||W||D||L||+/-||LWAT||Pts|
|Michael van Gerwen||4||2||2||0||+7||9||6|
|Raymond van Barneveld||4||1||2||1||-1||7||4|