Dominant Van Gerwen whitewashes Wright to prevail in Exeter

Michael van Gerwen returned to winning ways in sensational style on Night Four of the Premier League, whitewashing world champion Peter Wright 6-0 to prevail in Thursday’s showpiece.

Following an underwhelming start to his Premier League campaign, the five-time winner underlined his credentials with a series of dominant displays in Exeter, relinquishing just three legs in scooping the £10,000 winner’s bonus.

Both Van Gerwen and Wright posted successive ton-plus averages to set up a blockbuster showdown in the Night Four finale, although the Scot was blown away by the three-time world champion, who averaged 99.1, crashed in four maximums and converted 75% of his attempts at double.

The world No 3 seized the early initiative with a 14-dart hold, before doubling his cushion with a majestic 134 checkout culminating on double seven. Van Gerwen extended his cushion with a 15-dart hold, before punishing an error from Wright to storm 4-0 ahead.

Wright was afforded a solitary dart at double across the opening four legs, and after Van Gerwen followed up a fourth 180 with a 13-darter for a 5-0 lead, he completed the whitewash via tops, after the Scot had missed a dart at bull to open his account.

“I think it was a really important win tonight, I’ve been waiting for this for quite a long time,” said Van Gerwen, who moves up to second in the table after pocketing a valuable five points.

“I didn’t perform 100 per cent in the previous Premier League nights, but tonight I played some good darts.

“I think I deserved to win tonight and there’s more to come, hopefully I can kick on for the rest of the tournament. I’ve been trying to develop my game and improve; winning tonight gives me confidence.”

Van Gerwen was irrepressible from the outset, opening proceedings against reigning champion Jonny Clayton, who occupied top spot heading into Thursday’s action in the South-West.

‘The Ferret’ had won six of his last seven tussles against Van Gerwen, including their most recent clash on Night Two – with the Welshman defying a 106 average from MvG to prevail from 4-1 adrift. Nevertheless, he was swept aside by an imperious ‘Green Machine’, who averaged 102.36 to close out a 6-1 success.

This set up a semi-final showdown against World Championship runner-up Michael Smith, who registered his first victory of this year’s event, courtesy of an absorbing 6-5 win over Masters champion Joe Cullen.

‘Bully Boy’ fired in four maximums and landed a 12-darter in the decider to account for ‘The Rockstar’, yet Van Gerwen was in merciless mood. The 32-year-old drew first blood inside 11 darts which set the tone for another emphatic display, featuring a 104.37 average, four 180s and 75% on the outer ring.

Wright was bidding to become the first player to claim multiple victories in this year’s revamped format, although the Scot has usurped Clayton at the summit following his exploits at the Westpoint.

‘Snakebite’ is embroiled in an intriguing battle for the world No 1 spot with the current incumbent Gerwyn Price, and he avenged his defeat to ‘The Iceman’ at last weekend’s International Open with a 6-2 success in the quarter-finals.

Price – who landed two nine-darters on a historic evening in Belfast on Night Three – opened up an early 2-1 cushion, only for Wright to reel off five consecutive legs to triumph with a 101.06 average.

The two-time world champion then saw off Night Three finalist James Wade by the same 6-2 scoreline, having succumbed to ‘The Machine’ at the same stage in Belfast.

Wade produced an exhibition of deadly doubling to inflict a third consecutive quarter-final defeat on Gary Anderson earlier in the evening, yet he couldn’t replicate that performance against Anderson’s World Cup partner, with Wright wrapping up victory with a sublime 10-darter and a 103.46 average.

The Premier League roadshow heads to the Brighton Centre on Thursday March 10 for Night Five of the league phase, as Wright meets Clayton in a repeat of the Night One final.

The night’s other quarter-finals see Van Gerwen take on fifth-place Wade, Cullen meets Price, while Anderson and Smith collide in a basement battle in next week’s curtain-raiser.

Image Credit: Steven Paston/PDC

2022 Cazoo Premier League
Night 4 – Westpoint Exeter
Thursday March 3
Quarter-Finals

Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith 6-5 Joe Cullen
Peter Wright 6-2 Gerwyn Price
James Wade 6-4 Gary Anderson

Semi-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Michael Smith
Peter Wright 6-2 James Wade

Final
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Peter Wright

Night 5 – The Brighton Centre
Thursday March 10
Quarter-Finals

Gary Anderson v Michael Smith
Peter Wright v Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Joe Cullen v Gerwyn Price

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