Premier League Darts 2019 – Night Two Report!

Raymond van Barneveld produced a stirring fightback from 6-2 down to earn his first point of his final Premier League campaign against Gerwyn Price on Night Two at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Thursday evening.

The five-time world champion received an incredible reception from his adoring Scottish fans, whilst Price was met with a chorus of jeers throughout. However, the Welshman made a blistering start and led 4-1 and 6-2, only for Van Barneveld to rally in the latter stages and claim a share of the spoils.

The Dutchman drew first blood on double ten, but a magical 11-darter sandwiched in between 107 and 120 finishes saw ‘The Iceman’ establish a 3-1 lead. Price won his fourth straight leg with a 14-dart hold on tops, but he squandered two darts for a 5-1 advantage, as Van Barneveld followed up a 177 by pinning double 18 to reduce the arrears to 4-2.

Price regained his three-leg buffer with a 13-dart break via tops, before he guaranteed himself a share of the spoils with a clinical 82 outshot. Nevertheless, the Grand Slam champion spurned three match darts across the next two legs, as Barney sank double eight and double four to cut the deficit to 6-4.

Van Barneveld then closed out an emphatic hold on double eight to force a deciding leg in which Price had the darts, but the Welshman faltered. He failed to register a treble with his first nine darts and missed double 12 for a remarkable 144 checkout, as Van Barneveld held his nerve to nail double nine with his last dart in hand to snatch a point.

“From 6-2 you have to be happy with a point, I couldn’t have done it without the crowd – they were amazing as always,” said Van Barneveld. “I feel really proud of myself to get that point, I want to enjoy my last Premier League campaign and I think tonight was the start of that.”

Michael van Gerwen is the only player to have secured back-to-back victories in this year’s competition, as he bids to top the league phase for the seventh year in succession. ‘The Green Machine’ moved to the top of the table with a 7-3 win over World Matchplay finalist Mensur Suljovic, despite averaging 99.82 to Suljovic’s 101.07.

Van Gerwen established an early 3-0 cushion after Suljovic missed his first five darts at a double, but the Austrian capitalised on some uncharacteristic sloppiness from the world number one to reduce the arrears to 3-2.

Van Gerwen responded by reeling off three legs in 13, 12 and 15 darts respectively to ensure a share of the spoils, but ‘The Gentle’ followed up a brilliant visit of 170 by closing out a 12-dart hold to seal his third leg. Despite this, the three-time world champion closed out a convincing win with a 13-darter in leg ten, to maintain his 100% record in this year’s Premier League.

“I wasn’t playing well in practice and I wasn’t at my best tonight but a win is a win and overall I’m happy with my game,” said Van Gerwen. “I did what I had to do at the key moments and now I’m top of the table I want to stay there, but there’s a long way to go.”

2018 world champion Rob Cross posted his second consecutive ton-plus average of the competition to record an impressive 7-4 victory over James Wade. ‘Voltage’ averaged 102.58, landed four maximums and converted 50% of his attempts at double, as ‘The Machine’ lost out despite averaging 100.81, posting three 180’s and also boasting a 50% checkout success rate.

Wade led 3-1 early on, but a classy 115 checkout from Cross in the fifth leg sparked a stunning revival, as he won the next four legs in 13, 11, 12 and 15 darts to lead 6-3. ‘The Machine’ prolonged the contest via D10, but wired double 12 for a 138 skin-saver moments later, as Cross sank double five to triumph inside 15 darts.

“I missed a few darts early, maybe there were a few nerves but I’ve been working hard on my game and it’s paying off,” said Cross. “I lost my smile last year, everything was difficult for me in my first Premier League season, it’s a ruthless competition but this year I’m playing properly and I’m enjoying it.”

Daryl Gurney produced a clinical display of finishing to defeat three-time BDO world champion Glen Durrant and register his first win of the season. ‘Duzza’ was the second of nine contenders competing in the place of the injured Gary Anderson, but his first televised appearance as a PDC player ended in defeat.

The Northern Irishman produced a brace of brilliant 121 finishes en route to establishing a 5-1 cushion, which he extended courtesy of a two-dart 78 combination, after Durrant missed two darts at double 18.

The Teessider won back-to-back legs in 13 and 11 darts respectively to reduce the deficit to 6-3, but his hopes of completing a famous fightback were soon thwarted. ‘Super Chin’ left himself on 50 after 12 darts and nailed double 16 at the first attempt to prevail with a 100.05 average, two maximums and a remarkable 78% checkout success rate.

“I know I can outscore anybody but I’ve been doing a lot of practising on my finishing and I think that showed tonight,” said Gurney. “I really needed the win to get some points on the board because if I’d lost tonight then the pressure would’ve been on me, so now I can look to kick on and do some damage in this competition.”

Elsewhere, Peter Wright claimed his second consecutive draw in this year’s competition after recovering from 4-1 down to earn a point against World Championship runner-up Michael Smith, who landed six maximums in the evening’s opener.

‘Bully Boy’ breezed into a 4-1 lead after averaging 20 points more than ‘Snakebite’, but home favourite Wright then sprung into life, winning four of the next five legs to restore parity at 5-5 after Smith missed six darts to secure a point. Wright then found double 16 to claim a share of the spoils, but Smith held his nerve in the decider to salvage a point via double six.

The Premier League roadshow rolls into Dublin on Thursday February 21, as the world’s top two Van Gerwen and Cross lock horns at the 3Arena. Emerging Irish talent Steve Lennon becomes the latest contender to enter the fray in the 2019 Premier League, and he’ll face Wright on home soil.

Night Two – Thursday February 14
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Peter Wright 6-6 Michael Smith
Rob Cross 7-4 James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney 7-3 Glen Durrant
Mensur Suljovic 3-7 Michael van Gerwen

Night Three – Thursday February 21
3Arena, Dublin

Gerwyn Price v James Wade
Steve Lennon v Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney
Mensur Suljovic v Raymond van Barneveld

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