Glen Durrant’s elimination from the Premier League was confirmed on Tuesday evening, after he was beaten 7-4 by Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa in Night Seven’s opener.
The defending Premier League champion has endured a nightmare campaign and despite displaying glimpses of a revival against ‘The Special One’, he was still condemned to a seventh consecutive league defeat.
The three-time BDO world champion made an encouraging start to proceedings, firing in just his fourth maximum of the season en route to claiming the opening leg on throw, before a 105 combination in leg three – just his second ton-plus finish of the campaign – helped him establish a 2-1 cushion.
However, De Sousa seized command with a sublime 11-darter in leg seven to move 4-3 ahead, and although Durrant registered his best legs tally of the tournament to date, the Portuguese debutant sealed a precious two points with another 11-darter to complete a 7-4 success.
‘The Special One’ found himself languishing in ninth position following the opening five nights of action, despite boasting the second highest tournament average. However, three consecutive victories over Dimitri Van den Bergh, James Wade and Durrant have catapulted the 46-year-old up to fifth in the table, as he becomes the first man to register three straight wins in this year’s edition.
“It’s a good two points for me because I want to be through but I feel sad,” admitted an emotional De Sousa. “I’m not happy because he’s a good friend and it’s hard to see a person like Glen suffer so much.
“I hope he comes back soon because we love him and we love his darts. I feel emotion because I know what he can do. I think I can play a little bit better but I had to do my job tonight.”
Although Durrant narrowly missed out on registering his first 90+ average of this year’s Premier League, there were positives to take for the Teessider, who could yet play a critical role in the elimination battle, as he faces Peter Wright and Rob Cross in his final two fixtures, with the pair occupying 8th and 9th in the table respectively.
“It’s devastating for me and it’s been a nightmare seven games. I’ve been working so hard because I know there’s something wrong with my game, and my target now is the World Matchplay,” said Durrant to Oche Magazine. “I want to finish strongly in the last two games and take something from this season but it’s been so disappointing for me.”
Elsewhere on Night Seven, Dimitri Van den Bergh consolidated top spot with a 7-4 win against Cross – just his second win in nine attempts against the 2018 world champion. Cross averaged 99.95 and fired in five 180’s in an impressive display, but it wasn’t enough to topple the indomitable Belgian, who has made a stunning start on his Premier League debut.
James Wade moved out of the elimination zone at the expense of Cross with a majestic 7-4 win over Peter Wright, to leave the world No 3 precariously placed ahead of Judgement Night. ‘The Machine’ lived up to his name at the Marshall Arena, averaging 105.76 and converting 64% of his attempts at double to register his third win of the season.
Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson shared the spoils in the evening’s finale, as the two darting juggernauts locked horns for the 66th time in competitive action, while Jonny Clayton survived two match darts to salvage a point against Nathan Aspinall in another high-quality affair, to leave ‘The Asp’ in second spot – one point adrift of table-topper Van den Bergh.
Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Unibet Premier League
Night Seven – Tuesday April 20
Glen Durrant 4-7 Jose de Sousa
Rob Cross 4-7 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Nathan Aspinall 6-6 Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright 4-7 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 6-6 Gary Anderson
Night Eight – Wednesday April 21
Rob Cross v Nathan Aspinall
Gary Anderson v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael van Gerwen v Jose de Sousa
James Wade v Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright v Glen Durrant