Peter Wright and Rob Cross were involved in an acrimonious contest during a dramatic night of Premier League action at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena on Thursday evening.
Cross registered the first victory of his Premier League career against Snakebite in a topsy-turvy tussle, averaging 98.46, landing four maximums and converting 32% of his attempts at double. Snakebite averaged 102.32 and boasted a 45% checkout success rate, but he was unable to replicate last week’s magnificent win over Michael van Gerwen.
The pair exchanged a very cursory handshake after Cross inflicted Wright’s first defeat of the campaign, but when both men returned to the table to collect their darts, the Scot reacted angrily and refused to shake the world champion’s hand, to the bemusement of fans and Cross himself.
When questioned about the apparent incident, ‘Voltage’ appeared as mystified as anyone. In his post-match interview on Sky Sports, he said: “I’ll talk to Peter after the game but I won’t speculate now. We’ll see what comes out of it.”
The former electrician also spoke to talkSPORT2 later in the evening, where he added: “I feel I’ve done nothing wrong…I didn’t see that incident with Peter coming. He’s accused me of stomping.”
Whilst Cross opened his Premier League account by defeating the world number two, the match of the evening saw world number one Michael van Gerwen return to winning ways with a 7-3 victory over Gary Anderson in a Premier League classic.
‘The Green Machine’ averaged 110.62, fired in seven maximums and converted 58% of his attempts at double, as Anderson lost out despite averaging 110.79, posting four maximums and two 177’s. This was also just the second match in Premier League history where both players had averaged over 110.
Van Gerwen opened up an early 2-0 lead, but Anderson replied with a clinical 78 kill, before levelling inside 11 darts courtesy of a two-dart 82 finish. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ then clinched a breathtaking fifth leg with a stunning 170 outshot, after Van Gerwen had crashed in seven perfect darts earlier in the leg.
However, ‘Mighty Mike’ restored parity at three apiece with a fine 97 finish for a 12-dart hold, in a leg containing three maximums, before effortlessly dispatching a two-dart 64 outshot to regain the lead. Both men continued their relentless scoring, but Anderson missed seven darts at double across the next three legs as MvG ran out a 7-3 victor.
Elsewhere, Simon Whitlock remains top of the table after defeating Raymond van Barneveld 7-4 to make it three wins from three on his Premier League return. ‘The Wizard’ established an early 3-0 advantage and produced some timely finishes, punishing the five-time world champion’s 29% conversion rate to triumph.
Michael Smith also maintained his 100% record in this year’s competition with a comprehensive 7-2 win over Mensur Suljovic. The opening four legs were shared before Smith ran riot; reeling off five straight legs including finishes of 116 and 91, to leave ‘The Gentle’ cut adrift at the bottom of the table without a point to his name.
Finally, Gerwyn Price fought back brilliantly from 5-1 behind to salvage a point against Daryl Gurney in a battle of the Premier League debutants. ‘Super-Chin’ moved 3-0 ahead early on, before the Welshman registered his first leg on D10. Gurney then fired in back-to-back 14-darters to stretch his lead to 5-1, but he was unable to close out victory.
Price followed up a two-dart 80 combination with a majestic 148 finish to reduce the arrears to 5-3, but the pair then exchanged breaks as Gurney led 6-4. Nevertheless, with the Northern Irishman sat on 62 for victory, Price piled in a nerveless 136 outshot to stay alive, before completing a tidy 15-dart hold in the decider to claim a share of the spoils.