Phil Taylor secured his Premier League play-off spot with a fine comeback victory over Adrian Lewis, as Michael van Gerwen defied a partisan Scottish crowd to defeat Gary Anderson and seal top spot in the table, as the league phase concluded on a dramatic night of darts at the GE Oil & Gas Arena in Aberdeen on Thursday.
Peter Wright thumped Raymond van Barneveld 7-1 earlier in the night, which meant that Van Gerwen had to overcome Anderson to secure top spot for the fourth year in succession. Nevertheless, MvG was up to the task; prevailing in a high-quality contest to seal the £25,000 League Winner’s bonus with a 103.56 average.
Van Gerwen kicked off proceedings with a 13-darter via D18, but Anderson levelled moments later with an assured 14-dart hold on tops. Nevertheless, ‘The Green Machine’ regained the lead after converting a two-dart 92 kill for a fabulous 11-darter, before silencing the crowd with a clinical 124 outshot on the bullseye for a crucial break.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ secured an instant break back after Van Gerwen squandered three darts at double, but the Dutchman restored his two-leg cushion on D8 moments later. Nevertheless, the topsy-turvy affair continued in the seventh leg, as Anderson punished further missed doubles from MvG to take out 86 via D8 and reduce the arrears to 4-3.
Van Gerwen was receiving a rough ride from the partisan crowd but he responded superbly; firing in an 86 checkout of his own for an 11-dart break, before guaranteeing himself a point by pegging D5. Anderson took out a spectacular 145 finish to stay alive, but the world number one confirmed victory and top spot with a 15-dart hold on tops.
The Dutchman will face Anderson again in the semi-finals at the O2 Arena next week and he’s relishing the prospect. “It was really tough this year. Peter was in my shadow all the way through and fair play to him but I came here for two points and I got them, so I’m really glad.
“I think my scoring was good but I still missed too many chances in my opinion – but I did the job I needed to tonight. It was really important for me and I’m happy with this win so I can look forward to next week at The O2. It’s the top four darts players in the world and I can’t wait. It’s always a good game against Gary and I feel good,” MvG added.
Peter Wright will head to the play-offs full of confidence next week, after recording a comprehensive 7-1 victory over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld. The legendary Dutchman landed three maximums and averaged 94.74, but could only convert one of his seven attempts at doubles as Wright prevailed with a 97.27 average.
Snakebite drew first blood with a comfortable hold via D10, before doubling his lead moments later after following up his second maximum with a 14-darter via D12. Wright then dispatched a fine 80 checkout (S1, T13, D20) for a commanding 3-0 advantage, before Van Barneveld opened his account with a comfortable hold on D10.
Nevertheless, Wright was in uncompromising mood; landing his third maximum en route to claiming a three-leg lead, before capitalising on five missed doubles from Barney to secure a 5-1 lead. Van Barneveld attempted to fight back and landed maximums in the remaining two legs; but it was to no avail.
Wright guaranteed himself at least a share of the spoils with a 15-dart hold on D16 after Van Barneveld had posted a maximum to leave tops after 12 darts. The 50-year-old then began the eighth leg with his third 180, but Wright rounded-off a clinical display with a classy 116 checkout on tops, to the delight of the raucousAberdeen crowd.
Phil Taylor secured qualification for finals night at the O2 Arena after reeling off four consecutive legs to stun his fellow Stoke star Adrian Lewis. ‘Jackpot’ missed D12 for a nine-darter in the third leg of the contest, but Taylor won five of the remaining six legs to triumph 7-5 with a 99.09 average.
The opening two legs were shared, before Lewis wired D12 for what would have been his second nine-darter of the Premier League season. However, the two-time world champion returned to sink D12 for a 10-darter, only to see Taylor level up proceedings with a brilliant 110 checkout via D15.
Lewis regained the initiative with the third successive break of throw after Taylor missed two darts at tops, before the 31-year-old crashed in a majestic 122 checkout on the bull for a 4-2 advantage. Taylor produced a 14-dart hold to reduce the deficit to 4-3, but Lewis regained his two-leg lead after piling in a wonderful 114 finish on D20.
‘Jackpot’ appeared in control, but Taylor rolled back the years with a vintage fightback. The 16-time world champion followed up a 177 with an 86 finish for an 11-darter, before levelling up proceedings via D2. Taylor then found D16 to guarantee himself a point, before hitting the same target to clinch victory, after Lewis missed the bull for a 170 kill.
Dave Chisnall produced a stirring fightback from 6-2 down to salvage a point against James Wade, but it wasn’t enough for the St Helen’s star to secure a play-off place. Wade produced some clinical finishing to establish a commanding cushion, but Chisnall won the remaining four legs to seal a point, after landing seven 180’s and averaging 98.68.
Chisnall had to defeat Wade to keep his top four hopes alive, but ‘The Machine’ registered a clinical 71 kill for a 3-1 lead in a pivotal fourth leg. Wade then landed his fourth maximum to establish a 6-2 cushion, before ‘Chizzy’ produced some sensational darts to extend his unbeaten Premier League run to seven matches.
The St Helen’s star prolonged the contest by winning the ninth leg, before reducing the arrears to 6-4 with the aid of a nerveless 129 finish. Chisnall then forced a deciding-leg after firing in a fine 13-darter, before registering successive maximums in a dramatic final leg, to salvage a point by virtue of a spectacular 11-dart leg.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Betway Premier League
Thursday May 11, GE Oil & Gas Arena, Aberdeen
Dave Chisnall 6-6 James Wade
Phil Taylor 7-5 Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright 7-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Gary Anderson
Thursday May 18, The O2, London
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
Best of 19 legs
Final League Table
|Michael van Gerwen (Q)||16||10||4||2||+32||24|
|Peter Wright (Q)||16||10||3||3||+30||23|
|Phil Taylor (Q)||16||8||3||5||+7||19|
|Gary Anderson (Q)||16||7||4||5||+12||18|
|Raymond van Barneveld||16||6||2||8||-10||14|
|Jelle Klaasen (E)||9||1||1||7||-16||3|
|Kim Huybrechts (E)||9||0||3||6||-23||3|