Gary Anderson produced a classy display to deny Michael Smith and claim the spoils on Night Six of the Premier League in Nottingham, as the tournament returned to the Motorpoint Arena on Thursday.
The two-time winner had not registered victory since his opening night triumph over Michael van Gerwen, but he returned to winning ways in emphatic style to reignite his campaign.
The 51-year-old followed up an edgy deciding-leg win over Jonny Clayton with impressive victories over world No 1 Peter Wright and Smith to secure the £10,000 winner’s prize, becoming the fifth different winner from six nights in 2022.
The Scot survived a missed match dart at the bullseye to defeat Clayton in a gruelling quarter-final tussle, before producing a vintage display to topple his World Cup partner Wright in the semi-finals, averaging 101.88 and converting 67% of his attempts at double.
Anderson made a blistering start to Thursday’s showpiece, drawing first blood with a ten-dart break, only for ‘Bully Boy’ to respond with a 105 checkout en route to establishing a 2-1 cushion.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ restored parity at two apiece, before legs of 12 and 13 darts were followed by a clinical 74 finish as he moved 5-2 up, only for Smith to rally.
The World Championship runner-up landed a 13-darter in leg eight to preserve his hopes, before converting a 68 kill on tops to reduce the arrears to 5-4, yet Anderson was undeterred, posting a stunning 177 and eventually nailing double four to seal the deal with a 104.24 average.
This represented retribution for Anderson, who succumbed 6-1 to his former protege in last week’s quarter-final, as ‘Bully Boy’ was forced to settle for a second consecutive runners-up spot.
The world No 5 produced a sublime display to demolish James Wade 6-1 in a high-quality quarter-final clash, defying six 180s from ‘The Machine’ to prevail with a 102.92 average and 55% on the outer ring.
Smith secured his spot in Thursday’s finale with a remarkable comeback victory over Price, reeling off six successive legs from 4-0 adrift to register his second consecutive televised win over the Welshman.
‘The Iceman’ was left frustrated on his return to competitive action following a hand injury, although earlier in the evening, the world No 2 curtailed Van Gerwen’s bid to win a third consecutive night, courtesy of a 6-4 success in the last eight.
Elsewhere, Joe Cullen slipped to the foot of the table after losing out to Wright by the same scoreline. The world champion was significantly below-par, but capitalised on an erratic display from ‘The Rockstar’ to close the gap on Van Gerwen at the summit.
Image Credit: Taylor Lanning/PDC
Cazoo Premier League
Night 6 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Thursday March 17
Michael Smith 6-1 James Wade
Michael van Gerwen 4-6 Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Joe Cullen 4-6 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson 6-3 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 4-6 Gary Anderson