Premier League May Events Postponed

May’s planned Unibet Premier League nights in Glasgow, Leeds and London have been rescheduled for later in 2020, with the season also now set to conclude in Sheffield.

Official PDC Logo
Rescheduling has been
the PDC’s method so far.

The Premier League season has been suspended since mid-March following restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the league nights affected having been rearranged during 2020.

It has now been confirmed that the planned events at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, the First Direct Arena in Leeds and at The O2 in London have also now been postponed.

In addition, the planned move of the visit to The FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield to Thursday July 2 has also been amended, with the venue now set to host the Play-Offs on Thursday October 15 as part of the new-look schedule, should no further events be affected.

Details have also been finalised for the rescheduled visit to The SSE Arena in Belfast, which will now host the Premier League on Thursday August 13.

The rescheduled dates are as follows
Thursday May 7 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow – NOW Thursday September 17
Thursday May 14 – First Direct Arena, Leeds – NOW Thursday August 27
Thursday May 21 – The O2, London – NOW Thursday August 20
Thursday July 2 – FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield – NOW Thursday October 15

The announcement means that the visit to Birmingham is now set to see the season resume with Night Seven on Thursday July 30, with The O2 hosting Judgement Night on August 20 as the ninth-placed player in the league table is eliminated.

Tickets purchased for the original league nights will remain valid for the new dates. Should any fans with tickets be unable to attend the new date, they will be entitled to a refund from their point of purchase.

Revised Unibet Premier League Schedule
At April 6 2020
July 30 2020 – Utilita Arena Birmingham
August 13 2020 – The SSE Arena, Belfast
August 20 2020 – The O2, London
August 27 2020 – First Direct Arena, Leeds
September 3 2020 – Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
September 9-10 2020 – Rotterdam Ahoy
September 17 2020 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
September 24 2020 – The Manchester Arena
October 1 2020 – Utilita Arena, Newcastle
October 15 2020 – The FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield


Featured Pic: Premier League 2020 Line Up – L Lustig/PDC

Premier League Takes Treble Blow – Reschedules for later in 2020.

The Unibet Premier League nights planned for Manchester, Berlin and Birmingham during April are the latest events to be postponed.

UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS 2020 MOTORPOINT ARENA, NOTTINGHAM PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIGFALLON SHERROCK GREETS THE CROWD>

With worldwide restrictions continuing, the postponements mean that all five planned Premier League nights in April will now be rearranged, following Monday’s announcement that the visits to Belfast and Sheffield will not take place as initially scheduled.

The visits to Manchester and Berlin have been moved to September, while the visit to Utilita Arena Birmingham will now be in July.

The rescheduled dates are as follows:

Thursday April 16 – The Manchester Arena – NOW Thursday September 24

Thursday April 23 – Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin – NOW Thursday September 3

Thursday April 30 – Arena Birmingham – NOW Thursday July 30

The changes mean that at least eight Unibet Premier League nights will now be rescheduled, with the five April dates following the postponements of the visit to Newcastle and the Rotterdam double-header in March.

At present, the Unibet Premier League is now planned to conclude in Newcastle on Thursday October 1.

Tickets purchased for the original league nights will remain valid for the new dates. Should any fans with tickets be unable to attend the new date, they will be entitled to a refund from their point of purchase.

Revised Unibet Premier League Schedule

At March 24 2020

May 7 2020 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow

May 14 2020 – First Direct Arena, Leeds

May 21 2020 – The O2, London

July 2 2020 – The FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield

July 30 2020 – Utilita Arena Birmingham

September 3 2020 – Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin

September 9-10 2020 – Rotterdam Ahoy

September 24 2020 – The Manchester Arena

October 1 2020 – Utilita Arena, Newcastle

TBC – The SSE Arena, Belfast

Any further announcements in relation to the Unibet Premier League or other PDC tournaments will be made once available through www.pdc.tv/Coronavirus.

Devonshires’ Darts Discussion – The Challengers: A Missed Opportunity?

AS many of you will have seen I recently published a piece on the PDC’s ‘Challengers’ concept. Some of our contributors then added their selections to my own. This week the PDC published their choices for the 2020 slots.

William Hill World Darts Championship Preview
The Power vs Barney in Rotterdam? A Challengers / Legend tie to wet the appetite!
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Following the announcement, of the PDC Premier League Challengers, I wonder if more could have been done or a different path taken? Most selections were as predicted and could easily be accepted. What a missed opportunity for us darts fans to have seen something different in 2020.

The PDC could have reverted to selecting 10 players to play the league season with two relegated. Imagine if along with those ten players two legends were picked for each week to compete against each other!

Imagine Taylor v Barney in Rotterdam,  Beaton v Burnett in Cardiff, Priestley v Deller, Bob Anderson v Lloyd (with or without the horse!), Manley v Baxter the list could go on and on. Surely fans would support the chance to see the legends, after all they have helped the PDC on its journey.

Challenger on both merit and legacy?
PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG STEVE BEATON IN ACTION

Many of the ‘Legends’ style players are also highly skilled in entertaining an audience and, although their desire to win is unbowed, they may well provide a different style in terms of personality and flair. Perhaps next year!

Original Article by Andrew Devonshire – http://www.dartsworld.com/challengers-challenge-pick-who-should-face-the-premier-league-field/


Follow Andrew: @A_Devonshire

2018 Unibet Premier League – Night Three Round-Up

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

World number one Michael van Gerwen brilliantly beat two-time world champion Gary Anderson in a Premier League classic on Night Three in Newcastle as Simon Whitlock and Michael Smith kept their 100% runs going and Rob Cross got off the mark with victory over Peter Wright.

Mensur Suljovic 2-7 Michael Smith

The night’s entertainment kicked off with another highly impressive victory for Michael Smith, who maintained his 100% winning record in the 2018 Premier League and rejoined fellow pacesetter Simon Whitlock at the top of the standings.

Smith got away quickly, earning an early 2-0 lead before the Austrian Suljovic pegged him back to level things at two legs apiece. In a subdued match, both players struggled to find a top gear however it was Smith who did enough to win.

From 2-2 mid-match the St Helens thrower reeled off five straight legs to win, largely thanks to a supreme efficiency on the doubles – hitting seven out of his eleven attempts.

Smith may have only averaged 95 and it may have been only the second time since 2010 that no 180s were thrown in a Premier League match, but ‘Bully Boy’ did enough to carry his superb run on.

Daryl Gurney 6 – 6 Gerwyn Price

Welshman Gerwyn Price produced another determined fightback to get a point out of his contest with Daryl Gurney.

Trailing 5-1, ‘The Iceman’ won five out of six legs, seemingly out of nowhere, to deny Gurney the victory.

In building a 5-1 advantage Northern Irishman Gurney looked good on both his doubles and in his scoring power however Price worked his way back into the game with a succession of impressive checkouts, including a 148 barnstormer.

In leg eleven Price, under real pressure with Gurney waiting on a handy finish, hit a 136 checkout to take the match to the last leg. What had looked impossible shortly before was sealed when Price hit double 12 to share the spoils in a match that was, in the end, relatively even.

Peter Wright 4-7 Rob Cross

World champion Rob Cross finally got his campaign up and running with a much-needed victory over world number two Peter Wright by seven legs to four.

This was a much-improved performance from ‘Voltage’, fresh off of the back of reaching a final and two semi-finals at UK Open Qualifiers at the weekend, who displayed significantly more confidence and bravery in his throwing than at any stage in the tournament to date.

Cross raced into an early 3-0 lead, ensuring ‘Snakebite’ did not get a dart at double until the fourth leg of the match.

Despite losing the next two legs to an improving Wright, Cross always held the lead and, with his 98.46 average and 4 180s, managed to keep the former Premier League runner-up at bay throughout.

Cross missed 15 darts at double in the match however Wright, despite averaging 102 and with 44% on his doubles, failed to capitalise and left Newcastle empty handed as a result.

Following the match there was an encounter between the pair with Wright visibly angered by something ‘Voltage’ had done and refusing to shake his hand.

Gary Anderson 3-7 Michael van Gerwen

In an absolute classic, Michael van Gerwen returned to winning ways after his defeat at the hands of Peter Wright last week by beating Gary Anderson 7-3.

In a match full of high scores and extraordinary checkouts, both players averaged in excess of 110, for only the second time in the history of the Premier League, as the crowd were treated to the best match of this year’s tournament so far, one which was played at a crazy breakneck speed.

After a topsy turvy opening few legs it was leg five that really enthralled all in the Metro Radio Arena. MvG hit seven perfect darts before missing D19 and giving Anderson a sniff. This sniff of a chance, a 170 checkout, was then taken out by ‘The Flying Scotsman’ to the sheer delight of all in attendance.

Unfortunately for Anderson, the 170 would be the last checkout he hit as van Gerwen then ran off four straight legs to win the match. Ultimately, with 25% on the doubles, the Scot missed far too many opportunities to win legs which MvG, with 58% on his doubles, ruthlessly exploited and made Anderson pay for.

Simon Whitlock 7-4 Raymond van Barneveld

Aussie Simon Whitlock continued his superb start to the 2018 Premier League as he regained his lead at the top of the table with a 7-4 victory over an out-of-sorts Raymond van Barneveld.

Having been favourite to finish bottom of the standings with the pre-tournament odds, Whitlock has proved all doubters wrong so far with his performances, beating Barney, Rob Cross and Mensur Suljovic all while looking extremely comfortable back on the Premier League stage.

Against an off-colour RvB it was ‘The Wizard’s’ finishing that proved the difference. While Whitlock took the majority of his chances in the match, hitting seven out of 12 attempts, Barney missed 10 of his 14 doubles attempts.

While not the highest quality affair, it will not bother Whitlock one bit. Another solid performance, doing enough to win, has almost certainly already guaranteed his safety when elimination night comes around and will have the Australian already thinking of reaching Play-Off Night in May.

Unibet Premier League - Night Two Round-Up

2018 Unibet Premier League Darts: Week 2 Review

Unibet Premier League - Night Two Round-Up
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

World number two Peter Wright defeated two time World Champion Michael van Gerwen for the first time in the Premier League in the pick of the matches on night two in Cardiff as Rob Cross’ poor run of form continued with a 7-1 humbling at the hands of ‘The Wizard’ Simon Whitlock.

Elsewhere, ‘Bully Boy’ Michael Smith made it two wins out of two with an impressive win over Daryl Gurney while Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld both registered their first wins of the tournament.

Michael Smith 7-4 Daryl Gurney

In the opening match of the night ‘Bully Boy’ Michael Smith was victorious in a match of good standard against Daryl Gurney by seven legs to four.

Unlike in his one and only Premier League appearance to date in 2016, Smith has started this campaign well through a combination of good scoring and composure on the doubles.

Against Gurney, Smith raced into an early 3-0 lead, hitting a sublime 124 checkout along the way. Before long this advantage evaporated as the Northern Irishman pegged the man from St Helens back with a 13 dart leg alongside two 14 dart legs.

Smith, though, proved too good as he accelerated for the finishing line with his fourth 180 and displayed confidence in his finishing to oust Gurney. 44 per cent on the doubles and a 99.8 average from Smith as he maintained his 100 per cent start to the tourmament.

Rob Cross 1-7 Simon Whitlock

The World Champion delivered a completely out of sorts performance as he was crushed by Simon Whitlock on night two in Cardiff by seven legs to one.

Suffering his sixth straight defeat in all competitions, Cross began the match in shaky fashion and never managed to recover, averaging only a meagre 87 – ‘Voltage’s’ lowest in a TV match ever (excluding double start matches).

‘The Wizard’ may not have been at his best himself, averaging only 93 and hitting 38 per cent of his doubles, however he got the job done and, in doing so, continued to look comfortable again on the Premier League stage.

With leads of 2-0 and 4-1 before winning 7-1, the Australian was never threatened and joins Michael Smith at the top of the table after two impressive weeks.

Michael van Gerwen 5-7 Peter Wright

Unlike in Dublin, the showpiece match of the night lived up to its billing as world number two Peter Wright recorded his first ever premier League victory over reigning champion and world number one Michael van Gerwen.

Reverting back to his usual darts, Wright looked much comfortable and helped deliver an entertaining encounter where both men averaged 101.

The difference was in the finishing as Wright’s 58 per cent (7/12) far eclipsed van Gerwen’s 36 per cent (5/14). The Dutchman, in fact, had non-bullseye double attempts in all of the first seven legs of the match but failed to make most of them count.

Despite starting slowly, van Gerwen grew into the match and began to display his vast array of talents but for continued misses at important doubles which Wright managed to capitalise on. Leading 5-3 Wright piled the pressure on the Dutchman only for him to take out the big fish, with a stunning 170 checkout.

At this point, Wright could have buckled but he stood firm and took out crucial doubles efficiently to eventually end his Premier League hoodoo with van Gerwen, sealing the match by seven legs to five.

Gerwyn Price 3-7 Gary Anderson

Despite partisan home support behind him, Gerwyn Price proved no match for an in-form Gary Anderson who showed no signs of being troubled by the back injuries that have plagued him over recent months.

Even withstanding early Anderson misses at double, which the Welshman capitalised on, ‘The Flying Scotsman’ grew into the game and began to move through the gears, which Price could not keep up with.

Five 180s, a 99 average and 47 per cent on the doubles were the key figures behind Anderson’s dominance, helped by Price’s inability to up his own scoring game.

Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 Mensur Suljovic

The final match of the evening was of a superb standard and was intensely fought with the Dutchman eventually squeezing through the winner by seven legs to five.

Despite trailing 3-1 and 5-2, the Austrian refused to let RvB have it easy, continuing to peg back ‘Barney’ just as it looked like he may break away for the finishing line.

For Suljovic, with an averaged of 102.55 it will be another case of “what if” after ‘The Gentle’ missed vital darts for legs that could have turned the game in his favour. Suljovic, with 103.11, has the highest average in the Premier League after two weeks but is still yet to register his first point after running into top performances from van Barneveld and Whitlock, displaying just how difficult the tournament is.

Nonetheless, it would have been harsh on ‘Barney’ too had he not come out with both points as the veteran Dutch thrower, averaging 100 himself, hit clutch shots when he had to, none more so than the sensational 167 checkout in leg four.

Premier League nine-dart finishes, Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld.

Videos: All 8 Premier League nine-dart finishes

Premier League nine-dart finishes, Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld.
Relive all 8 Premier League nine-dart finishes, after Adrian Lewis’ recent perfect leg v Raymond van Barneveld
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Premier League nine-dart finishes

Adrian Lewis gave fans in Liverpool a real treat in Week 11 of the Premier League Darts, by throwing the sport’s 50th televised nine-dart finish across PDC and BDO tournaments.

It was also the first to be seen live in 2017, while it marked almost exactly a year since Jackpot managed the previous perfect leg in this competition.

Lewis is now level with Dutch giants Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen on the all-time televised 9-darter list with five, but is still someway off Phil Taylor’s 11.

Barney was the victim on this occasion, and for the sixth time in total, and here’s footage of the incredible feat again.


Credit: PDC

Just eight Premier League nine-dart finishes have been thrown since the tournament’s inception in 2005, with Taylor (three times), Lewis, Van Barneveld (twice each) and Simon Whitlock being just four names of 28 total participants to have done so.

Read on to relive them all (in order of when they happened)!

Raymond van Barneveld v Peter Manley (2006)


Credit: PDC

It didn’t take long for Barney to make his mark on the PDC, hitting his and the Premier League’s first nine-darter just months after switching from the BDO.

The popular Dutchman announced himself onto the scene in perfect fashion, and beat three-time World Championship finalist Manley 8-3 along the way.

Barney sent the Bournemouth crowd and legendary commentators Sid Waddell and John Gwynne that day into ecstasy.

Raymond van Barneveld v Terry Jenkins (2010)


Credit: darts13

Van Barneveld was at it again four years later, this time against fellow crowd favourite Jenkins.

The venue was in Aberdeen, Scotland, on this occasion, and once again Barney was the victor (8-6), not letting his emotions get to him.

It was the start of three wins in a row at the end of the campaign for the Dutchman, but it was too little too late as he missed out on a play-off place.

Phil Taylor v James Wade (2010)

Of course Taylor had to get in on the action too, after seeing his old foe achieve a second Premier League 9-darter earlier in the competition in 2010.

And what better way to achieve the feat than to do so in the final?

Well The Power did just that in just the second leg, and there was more magic to come…

Phil Taylor v James Wade (2010)


Credit: CrackingDarts

This time, with the scores level at 7-7 (first to 10) in the same final, Taylor made history – yet again.

The Power became the first person ever to hit two nine-darters in a single match.

He eventually toppled defending champion Wade to claim his fifth PL title, in what was perhaps one of the best ever darts finals and moments in all of sport.

Only Van Gerwen has hit two perfect legs in match since, but the UK Open qualifier was not televised.

Phil Taylor v Kevin Painter (2012)


Credit: Adrian Tschykov

2012 was certainly a great year for televised nine-darters, with seven seen in total – more than any other.

Again in Aberdeen, Taylor was able to throw his third Premier League nine-darter against Painter on his way to an 8-5 triumph.

The Power was trailing 5-4 and a break behind at the time too!

Simon Whitlock v Andy Hamilton (2012)


Credit: PDC

In the same season, The Wizard conjured up a magical nine-darter of his own in the play-off semi-finals.

Like Taylor, Whitlock was a break down at the time, and against an in-form Hamilton, who was runner-up at the PDC Worlds earlier that year.

The 9-dart finish happened in just the second leg, and it trampolined the Australian on his way to winning 8-5.

Whitlock went on to lose in the final to Taylor, however.

Adrian Lewis v James Wade (2016)


Credit: Darts Planet

Poor Wade is the only person to be on the receiving end of a nine-darter in the Premier League multiple times – in fact no player has ever been the victim of a perfect leg more times than The Machine (seven).

It seems his former nickname 009 has come back to haunt him!

Lewis raised the Belfast crowd with his nine-darter to level the scores to 5-5, before then claiming the last two legs.

Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld (2017)


Credit: PDC

And finally, the most recent effort this year, and Lewis again.

On throw at the time, Jackpot’s second Premier League 9-darter was incidentally the 50th ever shown on TV.

The perfect leg broke Barney to lead 3-1 in Liverpool, and he eventually ran out a 7-4 winner to help his play-off chances.

PL Table Week 7

Premier League Week 7 Preview Statistics

Premier League Week 7 Preview StatisticsNight Seven – March 17

The SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis

Anderson

  • Anderson won his third consecutive Premier League match last week when he defeated his protégé Michael Smith 7-3. It was a good performance from Anderson against a very spirited display from Smith. Although Anderson only hit 2x 180’s he had 12 scores of 140 or more and his finishing was excellent.
  • Last week’s win took his record to 7 wins from his last 9 Premier League matches (including play-offs). His only defeats in that spell were against van Gerwen and Taylor and he actually defeated both of those players too during those 9 matches.
  • At the weekend he lost in the semi-final of the opening Players Championship event on Saturday (he lost to Adrian Lewis in that semi-final). On the Sunday he lost in the Last 32 to Steve West.
  • If he wins it will be the first time since 2011 that he has won 4 consecutive Premier League matches. He actually completed the feat twice in 2011 which was also his debut season.

Lewis

  • Lewis moved into 3rd place in the table following his impressive 7-3 win over Peter Wright last week. It was an excellent performance from Lewis as he averaged just short of a 108, he started the match with an 11 dart leg on the Wright throw which set the tone for the whole game as both players threw consistently to a high standard.
  • Last weekend he narrowly lost 6-5 to Peter Wright in the final of the 1st Players Championship event; on his way to the final he registered back to back wins over van Gerwen and Anderson. On the Sunday in the 2nd tournament he was beaten by the eventual winner Stephen Bunting 6-5 in the Last 16, having led that match 5-0.
  • He scored 5x 180’s in the match against Wright last week having failed to hit one the week before. Altogether he has hit 4 or more 180’s in 4 of his last 5 Premier League matches.

Head to Head

Anderson leads their head to head win record 22-17 (they have also drawn 3 times). Their highest profile recent meeting was in the World Championship final at the start of this year when Anderson took the title. Lewis won their most recent match which came only days ago in a Players Championship event away from the TV. Anderson has come out on top in each of their last 3 Premier League encounters, which included a 7-1 win last year.

Verdict

This match was originally scheduled to be played in Week 1, but with Anderson not fit to play through illness the fixtures were switched and he is playing twice this week. Lewis certainly won’t benefit from the change as he was supposed to be playing Michael Smith but is now up against Gary Anderson in front of the Scottish crowd which hasn’t shown Lewis the greatest of respect and order in the past, so the crowd will be very much against Jackpot.

The bookies have Lewis as the underdog here although it has to be said he has been in the better form throughout 2016, part of this may be due to the ‘home advantage’ for Anderson. I do think Lewis to win with Anderson winning at least 4 legs looks decent value at odds of 4/1, though I wouldn’t stake big. I also think Lewis more than 3.5 180’s looks a possible bet.

James Wade v Robert Thornton

Wade

  • Wade came through a tight match against van Barneveld last week, just getting over the line 7-5. It was his second win in a row and moved him into 4th place in the league table. His superior finishing was essentially the difference, hitting 7 out of 12 compared to 5 from 16 from van Barneveld.
  • It wasn’t a successful weekend for Wade at the opening two Players Championship tournaments, on Saturday he lost in the Last 32 to van Barneveld and on Sunday he suffered a Last 64 exit to Mick McGowan.
  • He is aiming to win 3 consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since 2013 when his 3 victims were van Gerwen, Anderson and Lewis. He is also looking to register 3 consecutive 100+ averages in the Premier League for the first time since 2013.
  • Two more checkouts of 100+ last week took his total of 3 figure checkouts in this year’s Premier League to 10 and a total of 7 across his last 3 matches.
  • In 5 of his last 7 Premier League matches he has had a total of 3 180’s or more.

Thornton

  • Thornton suffered his second 7-0 defeat of the Premier League season when he was comfortably defeated by Phil Taylor last week. He only managed 3 attempts at a double in the whole match and his match average was 88.38.
  • His poor 2016 continued at the weekend when he lost in the 1st round of Players Championship One to Andy Jenkins, he did fare a little better a day later in the second tournament winning 2 games before losing 6-5 to eventual winner Stephen Bunting.
  • He has now won just 2 of his last 24 matches in the Premier League and is without a win in his last 10 matches played on TV.
  • Thornton has averaged below 90 in 4 of his 5 Premier League matches in 2016.

Head to Head

Wade has won 12 of their 19 previous meetings, including 4 out of the last 5 they have played. The last time they faced each other was last September at a Euro Tour event with Wade the victor. In the Premier League they have met twice, both matches were in 2013 and Wade came out on top 7-1 and 7-4.

Verdict

Wade has looked very good in his last two Premier League matches, easing any worries about getting sucked into an elimination battle and his sights are firmly on competing for a play-off place. Thornton has been struggling for a while and losing 7-0 again last week will have done his confidence no good.  He still has a chance of avoiding elimination but his performances will have to vastly improve to make that a reality.

I expect Wade to win this match, his scoring and finishing is too consistent to give Thornton chances he needs. In terms of betting I think Wade to win whilst having the highest checkout and most 180’s is tempting at odds of 7/2, Wade to win and have the most 180’s (11/5) and another bet of Wade to have more than 2.5x 180’s in the match.

 

Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor

van Gerwen

  • Michael van Gerwen made it 5 wins in a row last week with a 7-2 win over Dave Chisnall. It was another mightily impressive performance where MVG averaged 113.47 giving Chisnall little chance.
  • Last weekend was a rare weekend without a tournament win for van Gerwen. In the two Players Championship events he lost to Adrian Lewis in the quarter-finals on Saturday and lost to Stephen Bunting in the final on Sunday. Notably he did hit a 9 dart finish on Sunday and also had a remarkable 150 finish comprised of 3 bull finishes.
  • His average of 113.47 last week made it 4 averages of over 110 in his last 5 Premier League matches.
  • Should he win this match the run of 6 wins in a row would be his best ever sequence in the Premier League.
  • In total he has won 58.3% of his legs in the 2016 Premier League in 12 darts or less, with only 3 winning legs in 16 darts or more.

Taylor

  • Taylor also made it 5 Premier League wins in row last week when he defeated Robert Thornton without dropping a leg. Although his opponent struggled, take nothing away from another very good performance from Taylor.
  • Last weekend he ran into van Gerwen in the Last 16 of the Players Championship event on Saturday and lost 6-2. The previous evening he had played in two Euro Tour qualifying events and was defeated by Ross Smith in the first one before exacting his revenge and qualifying for the second one. In the second Players Championship on Sunday he lost 6-5 to Matt Clark in an early round.
  • He is looking to win 6 Premier League matches in a row for the first time since 2012.
  • He has averaged over 100 in each of his last 5 PL matches and has done so in 9 of his last 10 PL matches going back to last season.

Head to Head

Taylor leads their head to head record 27-19, but more significantly van Gerwen has won 8 of their last 9 meetings, including their most recent meeting last weekend as mentioned above. This will actually be their 7th meeting in 2016. MVG has an excellent record against Taylor in the Premier League, having won 4 and lost 1 (they have also shared a draw). MVG won both times they met in last year’s Premier League.

Verdict

This is a very enticing meeting between the top two players in the league, but there is far more than just league points at stake there is a whole lot of pride. MVG wanting to prove he is by the far the best and Taylor wanting to show he still has what it takes to get one over on van Gerwen. The form they have both been showing in the Premier League over the past few weeks suggests we are in for a cracking match.

I think van Gerwen will come out on top in this match and believe backing him to win with Taylor to win at least 4 legs is a good option.

Raymond van Barneveld v Dave Chisnall

van Barneveld

  • Raymond van Barneveld suffered his 3rd successive Premier League defeat when he lost a tight match 7-5 to James Wade last week. Missed doubles proved very costly for Barney as he lost 4 legs in which he had the first dart at a double and his overall double success rate of just 5 hits from 16 attempts tells the tale.
  • Barney got some revenge over Wade at the weekend when he defeated him in the first Players Championship tournament on Saturday before losing 6-5 to Gary Anderson in the next round (Last 16). In Sunday’s tournament he suffered an early defeat to Wes Newton.
  • The last time van Barneveld lost more than 3 games in a row in the Premier League was back in 2010 when he lost 5 in a row.

Chisnall

  • Chisnall is without a win in 5 Premier League matches and has lost each of his last 3 following the 7-2 defeat against van Gerwen last week. MVG gave a very high standard performance against Chisnall averaging over a 113, but Chizzy himself didn’t play to quite the level he is capable of and only averaged 93 with just the 2 legs where he had attempts at a double.
  • The two opening Players Championship tournaments played last weekend weren’t very fruitful for Chisnall. He suffered a first round exit to Mark Barilli on Saturday and the next day he lost in the Last 32 to Jyhan Artut.
  • His average of 93.03 against MVG last week was his lowest for 15 matches in the Premier League.
  • Last week for the second match in succession he was on the receiving end of 3 checkouts of 100 or more against him with Wade also hitting three 3 figure checkouts in Week 5.

Head to Head

RVB leads their head to head win record 8-4 (they have also drawn once), and has won their last two encounters, they last met in September 2015 when Barney came out on top 6-4 in a ProTour event. In the Premier League van Barneveld has won 2, Chisnall has won 1 and they drew the other game,  all of their 4 previous PL meetings have gone to the 12th leg,

Verdict

This is a big game for both players as they are currently both on a run of 3 defeats in a row that leaves them too close to the bottom two places for comfort. Defeat for either would pile a lot of pressure on going into the next two matches where elimination awaits the players who are sitting in 9th and 10th place after week nine. I do think they have had performances and matches where they could have picked up more points but you have to take your chances in the Premier League.

All of their previous meetings in the Premier League have gone to the deciding leg and I think this is again worth looking at if having a bet on the match. My selection is over 11.5 legs.

Gary Anderson v Peter Wright

Anderson

  • Anderson will be competing in his second match of the evening having already faced Adrian Lewis in the opening game. The bullet points below for Anderson are the same as for his preview against Lewis.
  • Anderson won his third consecutive Premier League match last week when he defeated his protégé Michael Smith 7-3. It was a good performance from Anderson against a very spirited display from Smith. Although Anderson only hit 2x 180’s he had 12 scores of 140 or more and his finishing was excellent.
  • Last week’s win took his record to 7 wins from his last 9 Premier League matches (including play-offs). His only defeats in that spell were against van Gerwen and Taylor and he actually defeated both of those players too during those 9 matches.
  • At the weekend he lost in the semi-final of the opening Players Championship event on Saturday (he lost to Adrian Lewis in that semi-final). On the Sunday he lost in the Last 32 to Steve West.

Wright

  • Last week Wright lost for the second week in a row when he went down to a 7-3 defeat against Adrian Lewis. It certainly wasn’t a poor performance from Wright who averaged 106.79; having averaged 108.98 the week before in his defeat against MVG there is no need for panic.
  • Wright tasted success last weekend on the ProTour, he won the opening Players Championship event on Saturday beating Lewis 6-5 in the final. On the Sunday he went all the way to the semi-finals before losing 6-5 to eventual winner Stephen Bunting.
  • The averages in Wright’s last two Premier League matches are his highest two averages recorded in the Premier League.

Head to Head

Anderson has a 15-11 lead on wins from their previous encounters. They haven’t actually met since February 2015 which is quite surprising. Anderson has won each of their last 3 meetings on TV which includes a 7-1 win in last year’s Premier League.

Verdict

This match is a little tougher to read due to Anderson playing a fixture earlier in the evening, and it is unknown if that will be a benefit or work against him, whatever the case, he is in for a tough match against Peter Wright. Although Wright has been beaten in his last two Premier League matches as mentioned above, his performances haven’t been bad, he reached the final of the UK Open recently as well as having some good results away from the TV stage last weekend.

I have no big preference on who will win this match; but hopefully it will be a quality match between two quality players.

 

Michael Smith

How have Premier League players fared on debut?

On Thursday night, Michael Smith will become the 28th player to feature in the Premier League after impressing during 2015, but history suggests that the St Helens thrower has a sizeable task on his hands if he wants to establish himself in the tournament.

Six of the current crop have featured in every edition of the event since making their debut, while Adrian Lewis and James Wade have only missed one year since making their debut in 2007 and 2008 respectively. It also took a major tournament win for Robert Thornton to regain his place in the competition.

It highlights the difficultly in not only retaining your place among the sport’s elite, but being able to make a sustained impact on a weekly basis while you travel up and down the country. The sums of money on offer and the regular exposure on television make it all worth it, but regardless of experience or current form, longevity in the competition is not guaranteed.

Michael Smith

As many as 11 of the previous 27 participants have made two appearances or less, with seven currently being limited to just one year. Some will have ambitions of making a return in the near future, but below, Darts World takes a look at the contrasting fortunes of each player who have made their debut in the tournament since 2010, with the competition evolving to accommodate two extra throwers from 2013 onwards.

Simon Whitlock

After his run to the PDC World Championship final, Simon Whitlock was granted his debut in 2010, but everything did not go according to plan for the Australian thrower in his first fixture. An 8-3 defeat and an 84 average against Phil Taylor left ‘The Wizard’ with it all to do, but despite remaining inconsistent throughout the 14 weeks, Whitlock finished in second place in the standings, before losing out to James Wade in the semi-finals.

Whitlock would go on to become an ever-present for the next four years, with an appearance in the final in 2012 his best performance, but after finishing bottom of the table in 2014, he has slipped off the radar.

Gary Anderson

Like Whitlock a year earlier, Gary Anderson would benefit from reaching the World Championship final but his Premier League debut would lead to his first televised triumph in the PDC. The Scot recorded eight wins during the league format to secure third place, but on finals night, he was superb in beating both Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis to continue what had been a rich vein of form on television.Gary Anderson

The following two years saw Anderson bow out before the playoffs, but after a narrow semi-final defeat to Michael van Gerwen in 2014, he returned a year later to beat the world number one 11-7 in the final.

Mark Webster

After back-to-back appearances in the World Championship semi-finals, Mark Webster was handed a wildcard for the 2011 campaign, and he suggested in the opening four weeks that he could become a mainstay in the competition, with an average of 110.19 being registered in an 8-2 demolition of Lewis. However, the Welsh left-hander would fail to win any of his remaining 10 matches as he finished with the worst record in the history of the tournament.

Webster would perform well for the remainder of 2011, reaching final of the Players Championship Finals at the end of the year. However, a first-round exit at the Worlds was the catalyst for a fall down the rankings, and it was only during the second half of 2015 that we witnessed the former BDO world champion show signs of a resurgence.

Andy Hamilton

After his surprise appearance in the 2012 World Championship final, Andy Hamilton would be provided with a wildcard for the next staging of the Premier League and he capitalised on the most closely-fought tournament ever by reaching the semi-finals with just four wins from 14 contests. He would lose in the last four to Whitlock, but his performances were enough to secure inclusion for the following year.

However, the 2013 event would represent his second and final appearance. The Stoke-on-Trent thrower won six times in 16 games but it was only enough to finish in seventh position.

Kevin Painter

Kevin Painter had slipped down the PDC Order of Merit during 2011 but his surprise success at the Players Championship Finals earned him a wildcard in 2012. ‘The Artist’ was always in contention for a playoff position, but an 8-1 drubbing against Hamilton was the difference between his opponent finishing third and Painter finishing seventh, and he has not featured in the event since his debut.

Michael van Gerwen

Michael van Gerwen

His victory at the World Grand Prix secured Michael van Gerwen’s debut in the Premier League in 2013 and the Dutchman has not looked back since. Eleven wins from 16 group fixtures was followed by victories over Van Barneveld and Taylor in the playoffs as he claimed his second PDC Major, but while continuing to dominate the league phase, he has not added a second crown to his trophy cabinet.

Making the final on each of his three appearances in the tournament is an achievement in itself, but only finishing as runner-up to Van Barneveld and Anderson in each of the last two years will only motivate Van Gerwen ahead of this year’s competition.

Robert Thornton

While Van Gerwen was taking centre stage, Robert Thornton was doing his best to keep pace with the rapid youngster. The Scot would suffer just two defeats in nine during the first stage, but five defeats in seven outings would see him miss out on the playoffs by just two points.

The following year, the former UK Open champion would scrape through to the last eight, but he would only win twice in 16 matches in 2014 – a run of results that would see him miss out on a wildcard 12 months later.

Wes Newton

The third debutant of 2013 – Wes Newton – found the tournament considerably tougher than Van Gerwen and Thornton. The Fleetwood thrower would lose six of his opening nine games, which would see him end the tournament in ninth place.

An otherwise consistent year would see Newton earn a second Premier League appearance, but again, he would finish in ninth place, claiming just two more wins – against Van Barneveld and Lewis – in another disappointing campaign.

Peter Wright

After his surprise run to the World Championship final, many questioned whether Peter Wright could maintain his consistency during the 2014 Premier League season, but ‘Snakebite’ would make an instant impression. Seven matches without defeat further enhanced his growing reputation and although he eventually missed out on the playoffs, his performances between February and May of that year sent a message to his rivals that he had the ability to gatecrash the upper echolons of the PDC Order of Merit.

Wright would fail to replicate his results in the tournament in 2015, but ahead of his third appearance this year, his ranking position and entertainment value should make him a guaranteed pick for the next few years.

Dave Chisnall

Dave Chisnall

Dave Chisnall would win just three of his 16 matches during the 2014 event but his results did not tell the whole story. The former Lakeside runner-up failed to emerge victorious in four fixtures where he averaged over 100, while he hit the most 180s during the league phase.

However, his place in the 2015 edition was under threat until he reached the final of the Grand Slam of Darts, and he capitalised on that run to match Van Gerwen during the league format. Chisnall would head the standings after week five, and although he eventually finished in second spot, he would again hit the most 180s over 16 matches. The St Helens thrower would miss three match darts against Gary Anderson in the semi-finals, but Chisnall is now an obvious choice for a wildcard each year.

Stephen Bunting

An excellent first 12 months with the PDC resulted in Bunting being given a wildcard for the 2015 event, but the Liverpudlian failed to fully recover from a slow start. He would reach the last eight of the group phase, but he was too far behind to realistically threaten for a playoff place and he would end his debut campaign with just three wins from 16 matches.

Kim Huybrechts

Kim Huybrechts would join Bunting in making his bow in 2015 but despite a number of impressive performances, which included an average of over 107 against Chisnall, the Belgian would finish bottom of the standings with just four points from nine matches