Premier League Darts: Night Six Report!

Michael van Gerwen defeated Gerwyn Price for the second time in five days in a Premier League classic at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on Thursday evening, as Glen Durrant retained top spot with a battling victory over a struggling Daryl Gurney, who remains winless in this year’s competition.

The Coronavirus outbreak has caused chaos across the sporting calendar and the PDC announced on Thursday that the Rotterdam double-header scheduled for a fortnight’s time would be postponed due to the pandemic, although we were treated to a thrilling night on Merseyside.

Van Gerwen and Price’s showdown was billed as the headline act and they delivered to some tune, although in similar style to their Minehead meeting the Dutchman produced the goods when it mattered in a highly-charged affair to move up to second in the table.

Elsewhere, world champion Peter Wright ended Michael Smith’s run of three straight wins in the evening’s curtain-raiser, Gary Anderson and Nathan Aspinall played out an explosive stalemate, whilst Rob Cross was also held by hometown favourite Stephen Bunting.

Gerwyn Price 5-7 Michael van Gerwen

In a repeat of Sunday’s UK Open showpiece, Van Gerwen again triumphed in a captivating tussle, which featured the solitary break of throw in the penultimate leg. The pair traded 11 maximums in a clash littered with quality, but MvG’s 106 average and six maximums proved decisive.

Van Gerwen dominates the pair’s head-to-head record although it’s fast developing into one of the most intriguing rivalries within the sport, yet despite Price’s best efforts, he relinquished another lead against the defending champion as he slipped to a second successive league defeat.

Both men were dominant on their own throw in the early exchanges, although with Van Gerwen poised to complete the first break of throw in leg seven, ‘The Iceman’ conjured up an inspired 157 checkout to hold, only for the Dutchman to deliver a delightful 123 finish for a 12-dart riposte.

‘The Green Machine’ then squandered three clear darts at double to break in leg nine as Price edged back ahead, although Van Gerwen produced a nerveless two-dart 78 combination to level with the Welshman sat on tops, before firing in legs of 12 and 13 darts in the closing stages to prevail.

The pair exchanged words midway through the match after MvG nearly took a dart in the head from Price, who was eager to get to the oche after the Dutchman retrieved his darts, and the Welshman also appeared to rebuff Van Gerwen’s fist bump following a dramatic conclusion.

Gary Anderson 6-6 Nathan Aspinall

Photo Credit: Taylor Lanning

Anderson and Aspinall shared the spoils in an exhilarating affair as ‘The Asp’ produced a blistering barrage of scoring in the second-half of the contest to recover from 5-1 down – averaging 107.64 and crashing in EIGHT maximums to deny Anderson his third win of the campaign.

Aspinall defeated Anderson in a World Championship epic at Alexandra Palace in December, but he endured a nightmare start against the two-time Premier League champion, frittering away six clear darts at double for an immediate break.

The Stockport star opened his account with a delightful 11-darter but Anderson responded, following up legs of 13, 14 and 16 darts with a clinical 87 combination to open up a four-leg buffer. Nevertheless, with ‘The Flying Scotsman’ closing in on victory, Aspinall had other ideas.

The former UK Open champion roared back with legs of 13, 11, 14 and 11 darts to restore parity at five apiece, only for Anderson to land a classy 95 kill for 6-5 with Aspinall sat on tops. However, the 28-year-old wasn’t to be denied, posting his eighth maximum and taking out 88 to salvage a point.

Michael Smith 4-7 Peter Wright

Wright made it back-to-back Premier League wins with a 7-4 success against Smith, who was targeting a fourth straight victory. Wright – who averaged 110 in defeating Aspinall last week, stormed out of the blocks before defying a late rally from ‘Bully Boy’ to claim a precious two points.

The pair fired in a maximum apiece as the opening two legs were shared, only for Wright to reel off four straight legs in 14, 13, 15 and 16 darts. The Scot nearly raised the roof with a 156 kill which would have stretched his lead to 6-1, although Smith stopped the rot with a 13-dart hold.

This only provided temporary respite for the St Helen’s star as ‘Snakebite’ guaranteed himself a point via tops, and despite Smith capitalising on four missed match darts from Wright to cut the deficit to 6-4, the world champ sealed the deal with a majestic 10-darter to prevail with a 100 average.

Daryl Gurney 5-7 Glen Durrant

Durrant’s dream debut season continued as he defied a late rally from Gurney to maintain top spot in the table. The Teessider averaged 95 and converted 64% of his attempts at double which confirms his Premier League safety, as Gurney edges closer to elimination.

‘Super Chin’ showed signs of a resurgence with a run to the UK Open semi-finals and he made a blistering start against the league leader, drawing first blood with a 144 checkout. However, Durrant soon stamped authority on proceedings with a run of four straight legs.

It was a topsy-turvy affair which saw seven of the 12 legs go against throw and whilst Gurney displayed impressive resolve to force a decider from 6-3 adrift, Durrant kept his cool to triumph inside 14 darts, having produced clinical combination finishes of 80, 127 and 88 earlier in the contest.

Rob Cross 6-6 Stephen Bunting

Cross recovered from 4-1 down to prevent a ‘challenger’ sealing victory for the second consecutive week, although he squandered a match dart in a nervy decider against ‘The Bullet’ – who was returning to the Premier League stage for the first time since his debut in 2015.

There was a relatively subdued atmosphere at the M&S Bank Arena but Bunting made a bright start to forge into a 4-1 lead. Cross wasted five darts at double in an error-strewn opener and Bunting pounced, before closing out 15 and 13-dart holds to establish control.

Nevertheless, the former BDO world champion suddenly began to struggle and Cross wrestled the initiative – a 119 checkout in leg nine making it four legs on the spin. Bunting stopped the rot to level, before salvaging a share of the spoils in the decider after ‘Voltage’ was unable to pin double 18.

Photo Credits: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2020 Unibet Premier League Night Six
Thursday March 12
Liverpool, M&S Bank Arena

Michael Smith 4-7 Peter Wright
Daryl Gurney 5-7 Glen Durrant
Gerwyn Price 5-7 Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross 6-6 Stephen Bunting
Gary Anderson 6-6 Nathan Aspinall

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