Peter Wright recorded the second highest televised average in history to join Phil Taylor at the top of the Premier League table, whilst Dave Chisnall eased his relegation fears as he defeated both Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade, as he doubled up in the absence of an injured Michael van Gerwen on a dramatic night at Exeter’s Westpoint Arena.
However, the story of the evening saw Peter Wright dispatch Adrian Lewis 7-2 with a sensational display. Snakebite averaged an incredible 119.50; landing five maximums and converting an astonishing 70% of his double attempts. Lewis averaged a mightily impressive 109.15 but was helpless in the face of Wright’s unrelenting brilliance.
The contest started in incredible fashion, with four maximums being hit in the opening leg! Lewis had the advantage of throw and kicked off proceedings with seven perfect darts, but he missed two darts at tops to hold and was punished; Wright followed up back-to-back maximums of his own by pinning D16 for a 12-dart break.
Lewis responded in kind however; hitting his third maximum and dispatching an 81 kill on D13 for a 12-darter of his own. Despite this, Wright fired straight back with his third maximum, before registering the third consecutive break of throw with a 14-darter on tops.
Snakebite then followed up a majestic visit of 177 with a clinical 92 checkout for the first hold of throw in the contest. ‘Jackpot’ delivered a sensational riposte by following up back-to-back maximums with a 61 checkout to round off a brilliant 11-darter. Wright wasn’t to be outdone and restored his two-leg lead with an 11-dart leg of his own.
Lewis was producing his best performance of the year by some considerable distance, but it wasn’t enough. Wright converted a spectacular 125 checkout on tops for yet another 12-darter and a double-break, before landing his fifth maximum and taking out 81 for an effortless 11-dart leg to guarantee himself a point.
Wright was on course to register the highest average in televised history, surpassing Michael van Gerwen’s 123.40 against Michael Smith in last year’s Premier League. He fell just short of Van Gerwen’s record, but still wrapped up a magnificent 7-2 victory with a 14-darter on tops to continue his imperious form.
Dave Chisnall secured maximum points from his double-header in Exeter. ‘Chizzy’ produced his best performance of the competition thus far to dismantle Raymond van Barneveld 7-2. The St Helen’s star averaged 101.13, landed six maximums and boasted a 64% checkout success rate, as Barney was punished for a 14% checkout success rate.
Chizzy punished an indifferent start from Barney to establish a commanding 3-0 advantage, before the Dutchman opened his account with a two-dart 64 kill. Chisnall regained his three-leg cushion after firing in two maximums in the fifth leg, before Barney eventually pegged D4 to reduce the arrears to 4-2.
Van Barneveld spurned two darts at double to break in the seventh leg and this ultimately proved decisive. Chisnall pinned D10 for a 5-2 lead, before guaranteeing himself a point after converting a 96 checkout to complete a sublime 11-darter.
‘The Yellow Peril’ then kicked off the ninth leg with six perfect darts, but he missed the eighth dart of the combination at T19. Van Barneveld left himself on 41 after just nine darts as he attempted to stay alive, but it was to no avail; Chisnall sank tops for his second successive 11-darter to round off a brilliant performance.
In the evening’s final match, James Wade spurned eight darts to seal a point as Chisnall rounded-off a dream night in Devon. Wade led 5-4 and appeared destined to preserve his unbeaten record, but ‘The Machine’ disintegrated as Chisnall triumphed with a 92.58 average, four maximums and a 35% checkout success rate.
Wade kicked off proceedings with an assured 96 checkout, but Chisnall levelled with an impressive 76 kill, before pegging D8 for a 14-dart break of throw. ‘Chizzy’ was throwing with real confidence and dispatched a clean two-dart 70 combination for his third successive leg, but Wade stopped the rot by sinking D5 with his last dart at double.
The St Helen’s star converted a 70 finish for the second time in the contest to restore his two-leg lead, before Wade capitalised on a mid-game slump from Chisnall, to wrestle back the initiative.
The pair exchanged maximums in the seventh leg as Wade posted a 15-darter to reduce the arrears to 4-3. ‘The Machine’ then pounced on a string of mediocre visits from Chisnall to level the contest with an accomplished 62 outshot, before exploiting four missed doubles from ‘Chizzy’ to hit D9 and seal his third leg on the spin.
Nevertheless, Wade showed real uncharacteristic frailties on the doubles in the latter stages of the tussle. The eight-time major winner squandered five darts at double for a guaranteed point and Chisnall gratefully capitalised; finding D8 to restore parity at five apiece.
The left-hander spurned further darts at double to seal a point in the eleventh leg, as Chisnall pinned D16 with his solitary attempt at double to clinch at least a share of the spoils. The St Helen’s star then missed three match darts in the decider, but Wade wired tops for a 160 outshot as Chisnall returned to hit D5 to secure his second win of the night.
Phil Taylor preserved his unbeaten start to the season to remain top of the table, after recovering from 6-4 down to clinch a point against Gary Anderson in an enthralling tussle. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ landed an incredible eight maximums and averaged 105.31, but Taylor averaged 103.98 and registered 16 140’s to salvage a share of the spoils.
The opening two legs went against throw, before Anderson hit tops for a 13-darter having missed the same target for a 160 checkout in the preceding visit. However, the Scot missed two darts at double for his third straight leg and Taylor pounced; levelling via tops, before converting a fine 81 kill for a sublime 11-dart break of throw.
Nevertheless, ‘The Power’ was punished for profligacy moments later. Anderson crashed in his third maximum and Taylor spurned three darts to hold, as the world number two levelled up proceedings by hitting D10.
Taylor came agonisingly close to securing the third successive break of throw after wiring D13 for a 12-darter. However, he was ruthlessly punished for this error, as ‘The Flying Scotsman’ followed up his fourth maximum with a clinical 76 finish on tops, before coolly dispatching an 86 outshot for a 12-darter to establish a two-leg cushion.
The two-time world champion appeared in total command, but he squandered four darts at double for a 6-3 lead to hand Taylor a lifeline. The Stoke-on-Trent ace duly obliged by pinning D16 to stop the rot, but Anderson recovered superbly by following up his sixth 180 with a clinical 83 kill for an 11-dart leg and a guaranteed share of the spoils.
The world number two had the advantage of throw but missed one match dart at tops for a 116 checkout, before Taylor held his nerve to sink D5 with his last dart in hand to force a decider. Anderson registered two maximums in the final leg to take his maximum count to eight, but ‘The Power’ was undeterred and hit D16 to salvage a deserved point.
Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts shared the spoils in a topsy-turvy tussle, as Klaasen squandered four match darts to prevail 7-4. The contest was locked at 3-3 before ‘The Hurricane’ missed five clear darts to break Klaasen.
This appeared to be the decisive moment as ‘The Cobra’ reeled off three legs in succession to seal at least a point. Nevertheless, Huybrechts continued to battle and after the Dutchman missed four match darts at D14 and D7 respectively in the eleventh leg, the Belgian fired in a stunning 12-darter in the decider to keep his survival hopes alive.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Betway Premier League
Night Five – Thursday March 2
Westpoint Arena, Exeter
Dave Chisnall 7-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Jelle Klaasen 6-6 Kim Huybrechts
Gary Anderson 6-6 Phil Taylor
Adrian Lewis 2-7 Peter Wright
James Wade 5-7 Dave Chisnall
|After Night Five||P||W||D||L||+/-||LWAT||Pts|
|Michael van Gerwen||4||2||2||0||+7||9||6|
|Raymond van Barneveld||5||1||2||2||-6||7||4|