The 2019 Unibet Premier League heads to Glasgow’s SSE Hydro for Night Two on Thursday evening, as three-time BDO world champion Glen Durrant makes his highly-anticipated Premier League debut.
Darts’ ultimate roadshow sees nine of the world’s top players compete across 17 nights of action from February to May, while Durrant becomes the second of nine contenders to make their Premier League bows, following on from Chris Dobey’s electrifying performance on the opening night in Newcastle.
Durrant, who secured his much-coveted Tour Card in January, reached the final of Players Championship 2 in just his second PDC event on Sunday, and now he’ll make his first televised appearance as a PDC professional against Players Championship Finals winner Daryl Gurney on Scottish soil.
“I’m on cloud nine at the moment and I’m going to enjoy every second of the experience,” said Durrant, who is still currently working full-time as a housing manager, until he leaves his post after 30 years in March.
“When I walk out on Thursday it will be up there with one of the best moments of my darts career and I want to give a great account of myself. If I don’t enjoy it then I shouldn’t be playing darts!
“Watching Chris Dobey’s walk-on in Newcastle last week was an unbelievable, spine-tingling moment and it would mean the world to me if the crowd got behind me on Thursday.
“Daryl will give me an incredible tough game, he walloped me with a 114 average at an exhibition recently, but for me it’s a real bonus to be playing in the Premier League and I’m going to grasp it with both hands.”
Elsewhere, Michael van Gerwen continues his bid for a fourth consecutive Premier League crown when he takes on World Matchplay finalist Mensur Suljovic in the evening’s finale. Suljovic was held to a 6-6 draw by contender Chris Dobey last week, while Van Gerwen secured a narrow 7-5 victory over Michael Smith, in a repeat of the recent World Championship final.
“I was really glad I managed to win that last leg against Michael, a draw wouldn’t have been good enough for me,” said the Dutchman. “Even without Gary Anderson this is going to be a very tough season and I’m totally focused on playing to my best level and winning as many games as I can so I can top the table for a seventh year in a row.”
Elsewhere in Glasgow, Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price takes on five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld. Price suffered elimination twelve months ago without registering a solitary victory, but he claimed the first win of his Premier League career last week with an impressive 7-4 win over Gurney.
Van Barneveld’s 14th and final Premier League campaign kicked off with a 7-4 reverse against James Wade last week, but the doyen of Dutch darts will be hoping to bounce back on the Clyde; having won 10 of his previous 12 encounters in Glasgow. Nevertheless, Price is in confident mood ahead of their clash.
“Last year was a daunting experience for me, so it was great to get off to a winning start on Night One,” said Price. “I was proud of the way I handled the crowd and everything that’s been going on over the last few months and now my aim is to keep the winning feeling going and make this a much more enjoyable season.”
Last year’s Premier League finalist Michael Smith will be hoping to register his first points of the season when he faces world number three Peter Wright in the evening’s curtain-raiser. ‘Bully Boy’ recorded consecutive 7-1 wins over the Scot in last year’s competition, but ‘Snakebite’ has recorded two victories against Smith within the last fortnight.
Finally, nine-time major winner James Wade will be bidding to make it two wins from two when he locks horns with stablemate and 2018 world champion Rob Cross. Wade defeated Van Barneveld 7-4 in Newcastle, whilst Cross averaged 103.57 as he shared the spoils with Wright. The full schedule for Night Two in Glasgow can be viewed below.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Night Two – Thursday February 14
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Peter Wright v Michael Smith
Rob Cross v James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld v Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant
Mensur Suljovic v Michael van Gerwen