Sherrock stars to deny Durrant in Nottingham

Fallon Sherrock stole the headlines on Night Two of the Premier League as she avoided defeat against three-time BDO world champion Glen Durrant, whilst defending champion Michael van Gerwen thrashed Daryl Gurney to secure top spot on a dramatic night in Nottingham.

Sherrock caused a global sensation at the Alexandra Palace in December by becoming the first woman to register victory at the PDC World Championship – wins over Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic parachuted her to darting super-stardom.

The 25-year-old became the first female to feature in the Premier League as she appeared in front of a capacity crowd at the Motorpoint Arena and she produced another stellar display against Durrant, falling agonisingly short of becoming the first ‘challenger’ to triumph since the format’s inception.

There was unprecedented media interest for Thursday’s action in Nottingham, with journalists from around the globe coming to witness the remarkable Sherrock story, including reporters from L’Equipe and Bloomberg.

The Milton Keynes ace once again coped magnificently under intense scrutiny and reaffirmed that her Alexandra Palace exploits were no fluke – coming through a field of over 200 players to qualify for the UK Open less than a fortnight ago is further evidence of that.

Elsewhere, world champion Peter Wright remains winless in this year’s event after being forced to settle for a point against Gary Anderson, whilst Rob Cross registered his first win in a hard-fought contest against Nathan Aspinall.

There was also disappointment for Michael Smith, who surrendered a 6-2 buffer against Gerwyn Price, as the Welshman came back off the canvas to maintain his unbeaten record heading into next week’s clash against Daryl Gurney in Cardiff, with ‘Super Chin’ currently sat rock-bottom.

Glen Durrant 6-6 Fallon Sherrock

Sherrock created further history by securing a share of the spoils against the three-time world champion, who recovered from 6-4 behind to avoid becoming the first Premier League player to lose to a ‘challenger’.

Durrant was full of praise for the ‘terrific’ Nottingham crowd although he silenced them early on with a comfortable hold via double 16. However, the 8,000 capacity crowd were only temporarily subdued, as Sherrock sank a 14-dart leveller via tops to send the Motorpoint Arena wild.

Sherrock responded to another convincing hold of throw from Durrant in similarly emphatic fashion, nailing double eight with her last dart in hand, fresh from firing in a mesmerising 168-set up shot. Despite this, the first crucial juncture came in legs six, with ‘Duzza’ leading 3-2.

The Teessider has built a reputation for being one of the most proficient finishers in world darts which was further evidenced in his opening week win over Michael Smith, yet on this occasion he squandered five darts for a 4-2 advantage and Sherrock exploited this reprieve to level via double nine.

This seemed to ignite the 25-year-old and she closed out a majestic 12-dart break with an effortless 92 checkout to hit the front in leg seven, before extending her buffer to 5-3 courtesy of more missed opportunities from the three-time world champion.

Durrant stopped the rot with a tidy 14-darter to reduce the arrears to 5-4, only for his double trouble to resurface in leg ten. The Teessider frittered away three darts to restore parity at five apiece and the unflappable Sherrock sank 46 in two darts to ensure she would not be beaten.

Sherrock was on the cusp of causing another sensation on top of her already remarkable World Championship heroics, but Durrant salvaged a point in impressive fashion by virtue of back-to-back 15-dart legs, featuring a nerveless 70 kill in the decider with Fallon poised on 48 for victory.

Gary Anderson 6-6 Peter Wright

The World Cup partners could not be separated in an entertaining clash featuring ten maximums. Wright was hampered by an ankle problem and struggled in the latter stages, but he produced a fine last-leg under real pressure to register his first point of this year’s competition.

Anderson dominated the scoring stakes in the early stages, although a vital 78 checkout from Wright saw him hold throw in leg two. ‘Snakebite’ then found his range to some tune, posting maximums in legs four and five – securing the initiative with 11 and 14-dart legs respectively.

The world champion overcame some double-trouble to register his third straight leg and open up a 4-2 cushion, although Anderson reeled off three legs of his own as the pendulum continued to swing – combination finishes of 70 and 64 coming to the aid of ‘The Flying Scotsman’.

Anderson spurned two at double for a 6-4 advantage in leg ten, although he made no mistake in the next leg to pile the pressure on his compatriot. Wright was up to the task however, defying a maximum from Anderson to salvage a point with a brilliant 101 kill for a 12-dart hold in the decider.

Daryl Gurney 1-7 Michael van Gerwen

Van Gerwen is the only player to boast a 100% record after recording a comprehensive 7-1 win over Gurney, who is yet to open his account in 2020. Gurney did the league double over MvG last term but there was no repeat on this occasion, with Van Gerwen averaging over 105 en route to victory.

The world No 1 outlined his intentions from the outset, closing out a 13-dart break in the opening leg, before punishing profligacy from the Northern Irishman to double his lead with a trademark ton-plus checkout.

The five-time Premier League champion maintained his charge with a 14-dart break followed by more ruthless finishing and the world No 7 was starring down the barrel of a second Premier League whitewash as Van Gerwen moved 6-0 ahead courtesy of a clinical 72 outshot.

Gurney’s performance did not merit a whitewash defeat and last year’s semi-finalist avoided that particular indignity by pinning double six, although this merely delayed the inevitable as Van Gerwen claimed the next leg to storm clear at the Premier League summit.

Rob Cross 7-5 Nathan Aspinall

Cross secured his first win of this year’s competition with a battling 7-5 success over Aspinall, in a repeat of last year’s UK Open showpiece. ‘Voltage’ appeared below par for large periods, but last year’s finalist converted two classy ton-plus checkouts at key moments to down ‘The Asp’.

The pair kicked off proceedings by trading 18-dart holds, before exchanging 13-dart breaks. Cross regained the initiative in a high-quality fifth leg, posting a sublime 171 set-up shot and sinking double 18, after Aspinall missed double 16 for a 108 finish.

Aspinall delivered a stinging riposte, landing his first maximum and converting a classy 84 kill for a 12-dart hold, which was swiftly followed by a 14-dart break of throw. Nevertheless, yet again the Stockport star failed to cement the break in the following leg.

The 2018 world champion squared matters with a clinical 116 kill and in the latter stages, he held his nerve expertly. He pegged a clutch double 16 from a seemingly impossible angle to seal a point in the penultimate leg, before mopping up a fine 112 combination to move into the top four.

Gerwyn Price 6-6 Michael Smith

Price produced an improbable comeback from 6-2 down to salvage a point against Smith in a high-octane affair. Smith was threatening a world-record average after six legs, but the Welshman survived multiple match darts and reeled off four legs on the spin to maintain his unbeaten record.

‘Bully Boy’ unleashed a blistering barrage of scoring in the early stages, firing in four maximums in the opening three legs. ‘The Iceman’ drew first blood, before Smith took out 67, landed a sumptuous 10-darter and conjured up a magical 140 checkout to lead 3-1.

The 2018 finalist landed his second 10-darter to restore his cushion in leg six, before capitalising on missed opportunities from the Welshman to guarantee himself a share of the spoils. However, having fought back from 6-4 down to salvage a point against Cross last week, Price repeated the feat.

The Grand Slam champion sensed some fallibility in the Smith armoury and after ‘Bully Boy’ frittered away two match darts in leg ten, Price sparked into life and fought back valiantly to register his second straight draw of this year’s competition, averaging 98 to Smith’s 102.

Photo Credits: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2020 Unibet Premier League Night Two
Thursday February 13

Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Rob Cross 7-5 Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price 6-6 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson 6-6 Peter Wright
Glen Durrant 6-6 Fallon Sherrock
Daryl Gurney 1-7 Michael van Gerwen

Night Three
Thursday February 20

Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Peter Wright v Rob Cross
Jonny Clayton v Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall
Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price
Glen Durrant v Gary Anderson

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