Raymond van Barneveld produced a brilliant performance to end Michael van Gerwen’s extraordinary 44-match televised unbeaten run and move up to third in the Premier League table, as Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts were eliminated on a dramatic night of action at the Manchester Arena on Thursday evening.
Van Gerwen had broken Phil Taylor’s record of 43 televised unbeaten matches by defeating James Wade earlier in the evening, but Van Barneveld produced a magnificent display to defeat his fellow countryman. Barney averaged 101.20 and landed five maximums, having missed double twelve for a spectacular nine-darter earlier in the match.
The five-time world champion drew first blood in a scrappy opener on D10, before registering a crucial 15-dart break of throw on D8. Van Gerwen had started slowly and Van Barneveld took full advantage; coming agonisingly close to a nine-darter in the third leg.
Barney kicked off the leg with successive maximums and hit the requisite T20 and T19, before missing the ninth and decisive dart at D12. It would have been poetic, given that Van Barneveld’s nine-darter against Peter Manley in Bournemouth came exactly eleven years ago today.
RvB returned to post D6 and establish a commanding 3-0 cushion, but this sparked an inspired fightback from ‘The Green Machine’. He fired in a superb 11-darter to open his account, before pinning D10 with his last dart in hand for a pivotal break.
Van Gerwen was beginning to motor and levelled up proceedings at three apiece with a brilliant 108 finish. The world number one then converted a stunning two-dart 90 finish for another 11-darter and his fourth straight leg. Nevertheless, Van Barneveld demonstrated his immense resolve to respond.
MvG uncharacteristically missed a big number which denied him his fifth straight leg, and Barney capitalised to stop the rot and level at four apiece. This galvanised Van Barneveld, as he regained the lead with a classy 13-dart hold, before he followed up his fifth maximum by completing a 15-darter on D14 to seal a point.
The Den Haag ace almost completed the triumph with a spectacular 131 finish, but wired a match-dart at D16. Van Gerwen subsequently returned to post a 13-darter to force a decider, but Barney wasn’t to be denied. The 49-year-old showed nerves of steel to convert a clinical 70 kill on D8 to inflict Van Gerwen’s first televised defeat for six months!
Van Gerwen had kicked off the evening with an impressive victory over James Wade. ‘The Green Machine’ crashed in an incredible eight maximums en route to a 7-4 victory, averaging 104.20 and converting 30% of his attempts at double.
The world number one secured the opening leg on D6, before spurning four darts at double to break moments later. The pair registered their first maximums in the third leg as Van Gerwen regained the lead with a sublime 11-darter, until Wade levelled with a clinical 13-darter via D12.
‘The Green Machine’ responded by following up a visit of 171 with a 14-dart hold, but he afforded Wade another let-off in the sixth leg, missing a further two darts to break. However, Van Gerwen restored his lead with another 14-darter for the seventh consecutive hold, before Wade hit D10 for the third time in the contest to restore parity at four apiece.
Nevertheless, with the match on a knife-edge, Van Gerwen produced a barrage of scoring to seize control. The world champion landed back-to-back maximums before pegging D1 to hold in a nervy ninth leg, before landing the decisive blow moments later.
‘Mighty Mike’ began the leg with six perfect darts, before pinning D8 for a 12-darter to guarantee himself a point. Wade fired in his second maximum as he attempted to stay alive, but the eight-time major winner missed the bull for a 121 kill, which enabled Van Gerwen to convert a tremendous 120 checkout on D10 to seal victory.
Gary Anderson returned to winning ways to condemn Kim Huybrechts to elimination. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ averaged 101.86, landed two maximums and produced three ton-plus checkouts to record a comprehensive 7-2 triumph. However, Kim showed tremendous character to simply be up on the oche given his current family problems.
Both men kicked off the contest with maximums, but Anderson drew first blood after converting a classy 81 kill to complete a 12-dart break of throw. Huybrechts dispatched a nerveless 62 outshot to respond, but the two-time world champion fired in a spectacular 130 checkout (T20, T20, D5) for the third successive break of throw.
The Scot then sealed the first hold of throw with tops, before squandering five clear darts at double as ‘The Hurricane’ gratefully reduced the arrears to 3-2. Anderson was plagued by further double-trouble in the following leg, but wasn’t punished on this occasion; restoring his two-leg lead via D5 after Huybrechts failed to take out 76.
This ultimately proved to be the turning-point in the contest. Anderson produced magnificent 104 and 132 finishes in successive legs to guarantee himself a share of the spoils, before pegging D10 to prevail in emphatic style.
Jelle Klaasen joined his stablemate Huybrechts in suffering elimination, after losing out to Adrian Lewis, who secured his third successive league victory. ‘The Cobra’ was visibly affected by the tendonitis issue in his wrist and could only average 81.25, but Lewis struggled for large periods and prevailed 7-5 with a modest 84.39 average.
‘Jackpot’ coasted into an early 2-0 lead, before Klaasen levelled with confident 73 and 46 finishes. However, Lewis sank D5 to edge back ahead, before completing a regulation 58 finish to establish a 4-2 lead. Klaasen reduced the arrears to 4-3 via D16, before the two-time world champion restored his two-leg advantage with a 16-dart hold.
Lewis appeared in cruise control with Klaasen visibly struggling, but the Dutchman showed real tenacity to fight back. He hit back with an impressive 14-dart hold, before dispatching a brilliant two-dart 88 finish to restore parity at five apiece.
‘The Cobra’ needed to win just one of the final two legs to preserve his survival hopes, but he was ultimately denied. ‘Jackpot’ broke Klaasen’s throw with an effortless 13-darter, before overcoming double-trouble in the final leg to prevail with his eighth attempt at double.
Phil Taylor clinched a massive win in his push for a play-off place after defeating Peter Wright in a topsy-turvy affair. ‘The Power’ averaged 98.75, landed five maximums and converted 50% of his attempts at double to bounce back from successive league defeats, as Snakebite was punished for a miserly 29% checkout success rate.
For the second week in succession, Taylor punished a lacklustre start from his opponent to establish an early cushion. The 16-time world champion dispatched clinical 64 and 112 finishes to lead 2-0, before Wright landed his first maximum and produced a two-dart 98 finish to open his account with a sublime 11-darter.
Taylor responded by hitting his first maximum and pinning D10 for a 14-dart hold, before Snakebite found tops to remain in contention with a scrappy hold. However, the UK Open champion then capitalised on two missed doubles from ‘The Power’ to level up proceedings at three apiece with his second 11-darter of the match.
Wright appeared poised to secure his third leg on the spin to lead for the first time, but he was plagued by double-trouble at a crucial moment. He squandered three clear darts at D16, which enabled Taylor to convert a two-dart 61 outshot to regain the initiative.
Both players missed opportunities in a tense eighth leg, but Taylor nailed D8 to restore his two-leg lead. Wright was growingly increasingly frustrated and his profligacy continued. He spurned a further five darts at double, as Taylor guaranteed himself a share of the spoils with an assured two-dart 64 checkout.
Nevertheless, Snakebite produced a stunning 156 checkout out of nowhere to prolong the contest, before forcing a deciding-leg with a classy 13-dart leg. The world number three landed his fifth maximum as he battled to salvage an unlikely point, but Taylor followed up his fifth 180 with a nerveless 62 kill to complete a crucial victory.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Betway Premier League
Night Eight – Thursday March 23
The Manchester Arena
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 James Wade
Kim Huybrechts 2-7 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 5-7 Phil Taylor
Jelle Klaasen 5-7 Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 Michael van Gerwen
|After Night Eight||P||W||D||L||+/-||LWAT||Pts|
|Michael van Gerwen||8||5||2||1||+13||17||12|
|Raymond van Barneveld||8||4||2||2||+3||15||10|