Power And Glory – Taylor’s Unique Moment 10 Years On.

PHIL TAYLOR believes that his historic two nine-darters in the Premier League final can be repeated.The Power produced that epic night at Wembley Arena 10 years ago this weekend against James Wade in an epic 10-8 final win.It was without doubt one of the greatest nights in darts history and The Power reckons it can be done again.

The Power said:

“Course it can be done again, maybe even three nine-darters”

“The way things are now with the coronavirus and everything, I don’t know what’s going to happen to sport in the future, any sport, whether it’s football, golf, snooker. Whether we’ll ever get the atmospheres like we had before, I don’t know.

WHYTE AND MACKAY PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS PLAY-OFFS WEMBLEY ARENA,WEMBLEY 24/5/10 PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG FINAL RHIL TAYLOR V JAMES WADE PHIL TAYLOR WINS

“It depends on the fans and the atmosphere. It’s like if you play football behind closed doors, it just doesn’t seem the same. “Could it happen? 100 percent. Peter Wright could do it, Gerwyn Price could do it, the way he’s been practicing. Gary Anderson definitely could and Michael. Adrian Lewis could, it all depends on the day and how they feel.“Now they’ve had a rest, you will see the best darts coming out now.”It was a bizarre 24 hours after the original staging of the final was postponed due to a power cut. But a day later it went ahead and there was not cutting the darting Power. He added:

“To be honest with you, you could have done eight nine-darters it wouldn’t have made a scrap of difference. It still would have been 10-8.“

It was one of those games. I remember coming off for a break and telling Rod Harrington there could be two nine-darters in this game. “I wasn’t saying that I was going to hit them, maybe get one each. We were both practicing and playing that well and both full of confidence. “The crowd, I wouldn’t say 50/50, I’ve played in good atmospheres but the atmosphere was probably the best I’ve ever played in.“It’s a massive feat. It sets a record really.

All the players want to break records. Michael (Van Gerwen) loves competing against my records, which he should do. “I was the same with Eric (Bristow) and John (Lowe). It was a talking point. I didn’t realise really what I’d done.

“I wish now I’d got the third one. But on the day you’re just happy to win the leg.”

Taylor believes it was a game-changing night for the sport due to Stephen Fry being alongside Sid Waddell and Dave Lanning in the commentary box. Phil said: “It was unbelievable. Sid and Dave were like Morecambe and Wise, they were brilliant. I’ve never known two commentators like it. “Dave was so knowledgeable and Sid was so funny. I know you’ve got the new commentators now Rod Studd and Wayne Mardle who are very good. But I think Sid and Dave will never be replaced. “They were the ultimate for me. That was my era anyway. So I love them two. 

“It created a new audience. Stephen is massive on his social media and I kept in touch with Stephen after that, we text each other. He just loves the darts, he admires anyone who is good at whatever they do. “He knows what you have to put into it.

‘Are you OK Stephen, I’m like a pig in Chardonnay’

One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard was ‘Are you OK Stephen, I’m like a pig in Chardonnay’. I’d never heard that before and I thought it was brilliant.“For his first live darts match and the first time in a commentary box at the best game ever on TV, I think, is an extra bonus.”


MVG Wins, Durrant Stays Top.

Michael van Gerwen bounced back to winning ways in the Unibet Premier League with a spectacular 7-5 defeat of Gerwyn Price in Liverpool on Thursday, as Glen Durrant retained top spot in the league table.

Reigning Premier League champion Van Gerwen was defeated by Michael Smith in Exeter a week ago, but responded by winning the UK Open over the weekend, before seeing off Price 7-5.

Van Gerwen defeated the Welshman 11-9 in the UK Open final, and again came through a tight contest as a break of throw in the game’s 11th leg at the M&S Bank Arena proved the difference.

The pair traded legs like prize boxers, with Van Gerwen’s early 11-darter followed by an exchange of 80 checkouts before Price produced a superb 157 finish – with the Dutchman waiting on 36 – to lead 4-3.

Van Gerwen responded with a rare 123 finish of outer bull, treble 20 and double 19 as he levelled, before taking out 78 and 81 in successive legs as he moved ahead for the first time at 6-5 with a 12-darter.

The world number one then showed his class in the deciding leg, scoring 177 and 180 in a 13-darter to claim the victory, ending the game with an average of 106.27 – his highest of the season to date.

“My confidence is right back up there after winning the UK Open at the weekend and tonight was another good performance from myself,” said Van Gerwen.

“I’m over the moon with how I played. Gerwyn played great, he threw everything he had at me and I had all the answers.

“The 157 really hurt me, and you know he can do that in the right moments. You always have to keep believing in yourself and that’s why I won this game.

“This was the total package for a lovely game. The crowd was involved, the darts were great, there was some phenomenal finishing and I think it was a good game to watch.”

Durrant, meanwhile, remains top of the Premier League table after claiming his fourth win in six matches by seeing off Daryl Gurney 7-5.

Three-time Lakeside Champion Durrant is enjoying a memorable debut season in the Premier League, and showed his quality to deny UK Open semi-finalist Gurney his first victory of the season.1 of 10Previous

Michael Smith

Peter Wright 7-4 Michael Smith

Peter Wright

Peter Wright 7-4 Michael Smith

Daryl Gurney

Glen Durrant 7-5 Daryl Gurney

Glen Durrant

Glen Durrant 7-5 Daryl Gurney

Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price

Michael van Gerwen 7-5 Gerwyn Price

Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price

Michael van Gerwen 7-5 Gerwyn Price

Stephen Bunting

Rob Cross 6-6 Stephen Bunting

Stephen Bunting, Rob Cross

Rob Cross 6-6 Stephen Bunting

Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson 6-6 Nathan Aspinall

Nathan Aspinall, Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson 6-6 Nathan AspinallNext

Northern Ireland’s Gurney opened the contest with a 144 checkout, but Durrant followed a 13-darter with finishes of 80 and 127, on the bull, as he moved 4-1 up.

Checkouts of 68 and 88 secured Durrant at least a point at 6-3, with Gurney hitting back strongly to take the tie into a deciding leg, only for the Middlesbrough man to deny him a dart at 24 by finishing tops to secure the win.

“I knew if I won tonight then it was me pretty much through to the next phase of the competition, so that’s a big result for me,” said Durrant.

“It wasn’t easy – it was a real battle against Daryl, who is fighting to get off the foot of the table. My scoring game is a bit frustrating at the moment so I’ve still got a bit of work to do.

“But if you’d said after six games I’d be top of the table I’d have ripped your hand off for it, so I’m a happy man right now.”

Peter Wright moved level with Michael Smith and onto seven points in the Unibet Premier League table by defeating the St Helens ace 7-4 in their Liverpool contest.

Smith kicked off the game with a 14-darter, but Wright landed two in reply and a 13-darter on his way to a 5-1 lead.

A 13-darter from the World Champion secured him at least a point as Smith took three of the next four to threaten a fightback, but Wright sealed victory in style with a ten-dart finish.

“I made hard work of it,” admitted Wright. “Michael’s been playing some fantastic darts – he’s a quality player and when he started coming back at me I said to myself ‘no, you’re not getting a draw off me.’.

“I knew I had to come here and get some points so it’s good to get two points. It’s tight in the table and I think it’s the best Premier League that we’ve had in a long time, everyone’s playing fantastic darts and it’s very difficult.”

Wright had lost to Gurney in the last 16 of the UK Open on Saturday, and added: “I’m happy to get the two points and bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment.

“I really thought I was going to win the UK Open but that’s gone now and I’ve put that behind me with this result.”

Rob Cross eased his elimination fears with a draw against Stephen Bunting, the St Helens ace who returned to the Premier League stage as a Challenger.

Bunting made a superb start as two breaks of throw, including a 13-darter, moved him into a 4-1 advantage.

Cross took the next three to level and finished 119 to move ahead, before a third-dart double 16 secured a point at 6-5, only for a missed double 18 to allow Bunting in to share the spoils.

Bunting said: “Rob is a difficult player to play and I’ve never beaten him yet, but in the future I will get him.

“I’m disappointed with the performance to be honest, I’ve been playing better than that. Being back up on that stage is going to take time to get used to, but I need to get used to it because it’s where I want to be.

“Hopefully I can be back in the Premier League full-time in the future.”

Cross now sits three points clear of Gurney with three games remaining before the bottom-placed player is eliminated.

Gary Anderson jumped above Cross and Price onto six points as he drew with Nathan Aspinall, who hit back from 5-1 down to claim a point in another fast-paced thriller.

Aspinall recovered from six missed doubles in the opening leg with an 11-darter to level, only for Anderson to pull away by winning the next four without reply.

Aspinall responded superbly with legs of 13, 11, 14 and 11 darts as he hit back to five-all, only for a 95 finish from Anderson to secure him at least a point at 6-5.

The two-time Premier League winner also opened the deciding leg with a 177, but Aspinall responded with his eighth 180 of the game before finishing 88 for a 12-darter to claim his first draw of the season.

Aspinall ended the game with the second-highest average of the season so far of 107.64, and admitted: “I’m happy that I came back and got the point. I missed so many darts in the first leg and I got it back to five all.

“He broke my heart with the 95, it was a great shot, because I was in control for those four legs. I was so focused and I played some phenomenal darts.

“Gary was one of my idols growing up and every time I play him it’s an honour. I didn’t beat him this time but I nicked a point off him, so I’ll take that.”

The Unibet Premier League continues on Thursday March 19 with Night Seven at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle, where local star Chris Dobey appears as a Challenger against Gurney in one of five matches.

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

Durrant Tops Premier League Table

Glenn Durrant has returned to the top of the table, after the latest rubber of matches in the Unibet Premier League, with Micheal Smith closing in behind him. Both players are tied on seven points but Duzza leads on leg difference. The top four places are rounded out by MVG and Nathan Aspinall.

League Table

Following Night FivePWDL+/-LWATPts
Glen Durrant5311+9117
Michael Smith5311+7107
Michael van Gerwen5302+6116
Nathan Aspinall5302+296
Gerwyn Price5131+295
Gary Anderson5212-185
Peter Wright5212-275
Rob Cross5122-2124
Daryl Gurney5023-1062

Daryl Gurney looks in serious trouble, and may well be the first to be eliminated, while Price. Anderson and Wright need to string a few wins together in order to avoid being eliminated.

ENDS

Premier League Night Five – Humphries Makes History as Smith Squashes MVG

Luke Humphries created history as the first Challenger to win in the Unibet Premier League in Exeter on Thursday as Peter Wright reignited his season and Michael Smith defeated Michael van Gerwen.

Humphries became the first guest player to claim victory in the Premier league.
(PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG) LUKE HUMPHRIES-YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR

World Youth Champion Humphries claimed a 7-5 win over Gary Anderson to celebrate his one-off appearance in this year’s event with a memorable victory on Night Five at Westpoint Exeter.

The Newbury ace had drawn with Gerwyn Price when he played in Exeter last year – ironically after Anderson’s withdrawal with a back problem created the concept which gave him a big-stage opportunity.

This time he held his nerve in a dramatic conclusion to a tight contest as he denied Anderson, who missed six darts in the deciding leg to claim a draw from the match.

Anderson came from two legs down to lead 3-2 early on, and the Scot traded 14-darters with Humphries as he established a 5-4 advantage over the youngster.

Humphries finished 100 with two double tops to level in leg ten, before capitalising on three misses from his opponent to break and move 6-5 up, and landed double one to edge the win in a thrilling ending to the game.

“It feels really good,” said Humphries. “It’s a little bit bittersweet because I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but it was exciting for the fans to watch and sometimes you have to win the scrappy games.

“The final leg was the most nervous I’ve ever been. I knew I had the chance to be the first Challenger to win, and luckily Gary missed a few doubles there at the end and I got the double one.

“I felt like I had a point to prove tonight and I’m just happy to walk off the winner. I believe I can get into the Premier League one day but it’s going to take time.”

UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS 2020 WESTPOINT ARENA, EXETER, PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG PETER WRIGHT V NATHAN ASPINALL PETER WRIGHT IN ACTION

Wright posted the highest average so far in the 2020 season of 110.00 in his brilliant 7-3 win over Nathan Aspinall.

The World Champion bounced back from last week’s 7-1 loss to Gerwyn Price in Dublin in style with a relentless display to claim his second victory of the season in style.

Aspinall played his part, but was never able to pull back level after Wright opened up a 3-1 advantage before pulling clear from 4-3 to complete the win.

“This was a lot better than last week and I got the win, which was what mattered the most,” said Wright. “I’m really happy with the performance but I still feel there’s more to come.

“I knew it was going to be a tough game because of how well Nathan’s been playing. He had a nine-darter against me the last time we played so I was very nervous tonight.

“I still missed too many doubles and need to brush up on that.”

World number one Van Gerwen, meanwhile, suffered his second defeat of the season as Smith produced a memorable performance in a 7-4 victory to claim a third successive win.

UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS 2020 WESTPOINT ARENA, EXETER, PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG MICHAEL VAN GERWEN V MICHAEL SMITH MICHAEL SMITH IN ACTION

Smith had defeated the Dutchman in last weekend’s Belgian Darts Championship, and stormed into a 5-1 lead with finishes of 96 and 134, maintaining an average of 108.

He also won leg seven to secure a minimum of a point, with Van Gerwen taking the next three with legs of 12, 13 and 13 darts only for Smith to finally get over the winning line on double eight.

“It’s a good win and I’m happy,” said Smith. “It’s weird to come off against Michael and be disappointed that I didn’t win by more legs, but I’m glad I got the win.

“His average was better than mine but I was quite strong on my throw and luckily enough I fell over the line. It’s a big thing to beat Michael and it’s hard when you’re throwing at those winning doubles.

“He’s still the best player in the world and it feels good, but he’s not at his best at the moment. I’m in a good place, though, and long may it continue.”

Smith now sits in second place in the league table on leg difference behind Glen Durrant, who claimed his third win of the season with a superb 7-3 win over Gerwyn Price.

Durrant won the opening four legs in a sensational start, before Price took two of the next three to hit back to 5-2.

Durrant, though, finished 46 to secure at least a point and ended Price’s hopes of a fightback by sealing victory with a brilliant 129 checkout, inflicting a first loss of the season on the Welshman.

“This is one of my biggest wins and I’m so happy,” said Durrant. “Gerwyn’s been on a 13-match unbeaten run and nobody gave me a chance, and that was the fire in the belly that I needed.

“There are eight of the best players in the world in that practice room and me, and I’ve got to stop admiring everybody else and realise my own potential.

“My combination finishing right now is as good as anybody’s. I want to play the whole 16 weeks and I’m having the best time in the world at the moment in the Premier League.”

Rob Cross and Daryl Gurney shared the points in the night’s opening tie in Exeter, with the 2019 Premier League finalist hitting back from 3-0 down to move onto four league points, two ahead of the Northern Irish ace.

Gurney – bidding to move away from the foot of the table – took the first three legs without reply in a strong start, finishing 88 and 74 along the way.

Cross won the next four, with Gurney then moving 5-4 up only to see the Hastings thrower secure at least a point at 6-5, but it was the Northern Irishman who took the deciding leg on double ten to snatch a draw.

“I’m a little bit disappointed with the draw and it wasn’t what I wanted, but I’ll take it,” admitted Cross. “You can’t give people a 3-0 lead and the slow starts have been the story of my season so far.

“I got back into the game well. It’s a work in progress because I’ve made changes to my life and maybe I’m a bit less confident than I should be, but if I can get a few results that will change.

“I’m enjoying it and I love the Premier League. I’m playing well in practice and I want to start taking it up on stage now.”

Following this weekend’s Ladbrokes UK Open, the Unibet Premier League season will resume on Thursday March 12 at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, where St Helens’ Stephen Bunting steps in as a Challenger against Rob Cross.

The ties in Liverpool will also see Durrant take on Gurney, Smith meet World Champion Wright, Van Gerwen take on Price and Anderson play Aspinall. For tickets, visit mandsbankarena.com.

2020 Unibet Premier League

Night Five

Thursday March 5, Westpoint Exeter

  • Rob Cross 6-6 Daryl Gurney
  • Gerwyn Price 3-7 Glen Durrant
  • Nathan Aspinall 3-7 Peter Wright
  • Gary Anderson 5-7 Luke Humphries
  • Michael Smith 7-4 Michael van Gerwen

Premier League Table Starts to Shake Out.

Micheal van Gerwen moved back to the top of the Unibet Premier League after Night Four in Dublin. The Dutchman leads Nathan Aspinall on leg difference, and those won against the throw, with a pack of four a single point behind.

Following Night FourPWDL+/-LWATPts
Michael van Gerwen4301+9106
Nathan Aspinall4301+696
Gerwyn Price4130+695
Glen Durrant4211+595
Michael Smith4211+485
Gary Anderson4211+175
Rob Cross4112-293
Peter Wright4112-653
Daryl Gurney4013-1031

Glen Durrant has slipped back, after an excellent start, but is still within one point of the top of the table. World Champion Peter Wright seems to be struggling in the PL this year and will need to begin to fire soon if he is not to miss out on a top four place. Meanwhile, Daryl Gurney is still struggling this year and remains bottom with a single point.

Smith’s Perfect Moment – BullyBoy Adds Name to Premier League 9-Dart List.

Michael Smith celebrated his first televised nine-dart finish in the in Dublin on Thursday, as Michael van Gerwen moved back to the top of the Unibet Premier League table.

Micheal Smith brought the house down with his perfect moment.
Pic- PDC

Smith followed two 180s with a sublime 141 checkout to bring 9,000 fans to their feet at a sell-out 3Arena, hitting the Premier League’s first perfect leg for almost three years.

The moment of magic came in the fourth leg of a tight contest as he levelled, with Gurney then leading 5-4 before seeing Smith claim the game’s final three legs to take victory.

“It’s a feeling you can’t explain – it’s amazing,” said Smith. “I’ve never hit a nine-darter on TV before and this was special. I’ve never felt my heart beat so fast in my life!

“It’s something on my list that I’ve ticked off now and I’m over the moon, but even more pleased to get the win too. I could have played better but I’m chuffed to get the win.”

Smith has now put himself in pole position in the race to claim a £50,000 bonus from sponsors Unibet should a player achieve two nine-darters during the 2020 season, with his perfect leg being the first in the event since Adrian Lewis in April 2017.

Smith is one of five players sat on five points in a congested league table, one behind reigning champion Van Gerwen and Nathan Aspinall, who both enjoyed wins in Dublin.


You Bet – Premier League Odds and Comment.

DW hope that you took advantage of JR Lott’s tips over the last couple of weeks. Glen Durrant has so far proven a great value. Tonight may not be the best one to get behind the three-time world champ. Following their recent encounters the 3/1 for a draw between Price and Wright looks worth a look. Overall the 9/1 for Gary Anderson still looks of interest.

Night Four Match Odds:

  • 8/5 Glen Durrant – 16/5 Draw – Nathan Aspinall 5/4
  • 17/10 Rob Cross – 16/5 Draw – Gary Anderson 6/5
  • 9/5 Daryl Gurney 3/1 Draw – Michael Smith 23/20
  • 13/2 William O’Connor – 5/1 Draw – Michael van Gerwen 2/7
  • 17/10 Gerwyn Price – 3/1 Draw – Peter Wright 5/4

Unibet Premier League Outright Odds

  • Michael van Gerwen Evens
  • Peter Wright 9/2
  • Gerwyn Price 7/1
  • Gary Anderson 9/1
  • Nathan Aspinall 10/1
  • Glen Durrant 14/1
  • Michael Smith 14/1
  • Rob Cross 16/1
  • Daryl Gurney 50/1
  • EW 1/3 1-2

Odds courtesy unibet.co.uk and correct at time of publication.


Premier League Preview- Night Four.

Michael van Gerwen will be hoping to put his first defeat of the 2020 Unibet Premier League campaign behind him as he takes on Challenger William O’Connor in Dublin on Thursday.

PREMIER LEAGUE PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG
PETER WRIGHT AND MICHAEL VAN GERWEN

Five-time Premier League champion Van Gerwen’s perfect start to the season was ended by Nathan Aspinall in Cardiff on Night Three, as Aspinall impressed in a 7-5 win over the world number one.

Van Gerwen’s chance for redemption will see the Dutchman face passionate local star O’Connor, who took Republic of Ireland to their first World Cup of Darts final in 2019 alongside Steve Lennon.

“Of course it’s always disappointing to lose, especially in the Premier League, but you have to bounce back,” said Van Gerwen, the reigning champion.

“I’ve shown many times over the years I am good at bouncing back so we will see what happens on Thursday.

“In the Premier League you can never expect to win every game because you are playing against the best players in the world every week.

“I love playing in Dublin, the crowd there are always up there with the very best but I know they will get behind William this time.

“He will be up for the game, that’s for sure, but I know I have enough to get the job done.”

Starring as the fourth of this year’s nine Premier League Challengers, O’Connor will take his Premier League bow in front of almost 9,000 fans at a sold-out 3Arena.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG
WILLIAM O’CONNOR IN ACTION

O’Connor picked up his first PDC ranking title in 2019, while also reaching his first individual televised quarter-final, with the 33-year-old relishing the prospect of an upset in the Irish capital.

“I wasn’t really expecting the call to play in the Premier League,” O’Connor revealed. “I was hoping for it, but it was nice to get it then when I got it.

“It will be a dream come true. In fairness, if I can pull off an upset, it couldn’t be any better either.

“At the end of the day, there’s a huge opportunity here to go up and hopefully perform very, very well.

“I’m not expected to win. Definitely I’m a huge underdog going into it, and I’m going to give it my very best.

“You never know; sometimes upsets happen and hopefully I can be the one to do it.”

Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright will meet in a repeat of December’s memorable World Championship semi-final at Alexandra Palace, with both players coming into the contest with another PDC title to their name.

The pair were in sensational form on the ProTour last weekend, with Wright defeating Price in the final of Saturday’s Players Championship Five, before the Welshman went one better the following day.

Price defeated Van Gerwen in the final of Players Championship Six, and the Welshman believes that is testament to his changed attitude to facing the world’s best players over the last two years.

“When you first start off in the game you’re wary of the top players, maybe I was guilty of showing them too much respect in the past,” admitted Price, who has drawn his opening three Premier League matches.

“But now I’m one of the top players and I truly believe that if I score as well as I can and take my chances then I can beat any of them.

“I think Peter is the best player in the world right now. MvG has gone off the boil a bit but Peter is the best and there’s a few of us close behind.

“I’m unbeaten in the Premier League and I’ve played five events this year and got to three finals so I’m doing alright.

“Last week in Cardiff was frustrating for me, I desperately wanted to win in front of home crowd but fair play to Daryl [Gurney] he made it difficult for me and he deserved a point.

“My focus is now on turning these draws into wins, then hopefully I will make it to The O2 for the first time in May.”

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG
GLEN DURRANT IN ACTION

Table-topper Glen Durrant has played down his chances of winning the title in his debut year ahead of his meeting with fellow-newcomer Aspinall.

Early pace-setter Durrant made it two wins from three in Cardiff, with clinical finishing helping him to a 7-4 defeat of two-time Premier League champion Anderson.

A winner of two ranking titles in 2019, Durrant is on the hunt for his first PDC crown in front of the TV cameras but the three-time BDO champion isn’t expecting to lift the Premier League trophy at The O2 in May.

“I’m in a great place right now, I never thought I would be top of the Premier League at any point of my career,” Durrant admitted.

“Reaching the top four is a bit of a pipe dream. I don’t think I can win it right now, but I’m loving every minute and I just want to keep winning.

“My Premier League experience so far has been everything I hoped it would be. I look around the practice room and I see eight huge characters, eight of the best players in the world and I’m in there with them.

“I wish I was bullish and say ‘I’m going to finish in the top four’ but that’s not the person I am. I still just want to avoid being eliminated so that will be my focus until I achieve that goal.”

Night Four will also see two-time Premier League winner Gary Anderson take on 2019 runner-up Rob Cross, while Daryl Gurney will look to move off the foot of the table against Michael Smith, who recorded his first Premier League win in almost ten months on Night Three.

Gurney will lokk to get off the bottom of the table.

The first nine nights of Premier League action will see a different Challenger in action, culminating in Judgement Night in Rotterdam on March 26 where the ninth-placed player will be eliminated.

Following Judgement Night, the remaining eight players meet once more in the remaining seven league nights in Belfast, Sheffield, Manchester, Berlin, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds.

The top four players then progress to face off for the title, and £250,000 top prize, in the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 21.

Night Four will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

2020 Unibet Premier League

Night Four

Thursday February 27

3Arena, Dublin

Glen Durrant v Nathan Aspinall

Rob Cross v Gary Anderson

Daryl Gurney v Michael Smith

William O’Connor v Michael van Gerwen

Gerwyn Price v Peter Wright

2020 Unibet Premier League – Opening Night Preview.

The 2020 Unibet Premier League gets underway on Thursday in Aberdeen, as Peter Wright makes his homecoming on what promises to be a special night for Scottish darts with Gary Anderson and John Henderson also returning to the big stage.

Can Hendo better last year’s performance in front of his home crowd. (Pic PDC)

The Premier League roadshow will see nine of the world’s biggest stars go head-to-head across 17 nights of action, kicking off at the new P&J Live venue in front of 7,000 fans.

A highly-anticipated opening night will see newly-crowned World Champion Wright joined by fellow-Scottish stars Anderson, who will make his Premier League return, and Henderson, the first of nine Challengers.

Wright claimed World Championship glory on New Year’s Day at Alexandra Palace as he sensationally defeated Van Gerwen 7-3 to claim the Sid Waddell Trophy and take his mantle as World Champion.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ; PETER WRIGHT AND MICHAEL VAN GERWEN

The pair will renew rivalries on Wright’s home soil as the Scot eyes his maiden Premier League title to banish the demons from the infamous 2017 final which saw him miss six match darts for the title.

“The World Championship is won, that’s off the list, now I want to finally get my hands on that Premier League title,” said Wright, who won his first Masters title on Sunday.
 
“I would say the 2017 Premier League final is probably the most painful defeat I’ve suffered, but by the next day I’d got it out of my head by winning a floor tournament and hitting a nine-darter.
 
“You can’t do anything about the past, you have to look to the future and I think that’s my biggest strength which, ultimately, is what led to me lifting the World title.
 
“You’ve just got to learn how to forget things. Once you’ve released your three darts you can’t take them back out the board and have another go, you’ve just got to make sure your next turn is better.

“Thursday will be an amazing night for Scottish darts with Gary making his comeback and John is a huge crowd favourite.

“Scottish darts is in a great place at the moment and to showcase that on the opening Premier League night will be really special.”

The Field: BACK ROW (L-R) GLEN DURRANT, MICHAEL SMITH,DARYL GURNEY,GARY ANDERSON FRONT ROW(L-R) NATHAN ASPINALL,PETER WRIGHT,MICHAEL VAN GERWEN,ROB CROSS, GERWYN PRICE. (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG)

World number one Van Gerwen will be seeking immediate revenge for his World Championship defeat as the Dutchman opens his challenge to win an unprecedented fifth successive Premier League title.

Van Gerwen has dominated the competition since his debut in 2013, winning the league phase every year; a record he is determined to continue into 2020.

“I love to perform on the biggest stages and the Premier League is the perfect tournament for that, so I’m looking forward to it,” said Van Gerwen.

“I have performed very well in the tournament over the years and if I keep my focus each week then I will continue that this year.

“You have to perform every single week and if you don’t you will lose because you are playing the best of the best. I see every game as a final, that’s how you need to approach it.

“Of course it was a disappointment to lose the World Championship final, but you have to look forward and that starts this Thursday against Peter.”

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG ROUND ANDERSON IN ACTION

2011 and 2015 Premier League Champion Anderson will make his Premier League return against Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney, with the Scot having missed last year’s campaign due to a back injury.

The two-time World Champion is firmly established as a Scottish sporting hero but the 49-year-old insists he still has the hunger for more titles.

“It will be great to be back in the Premier League, I must admit I’m looking forward to it,” said Anderson.

“Last year there was no way I could’ve played with the state of my back, but I did enjoy spending 16 weeks with my family.

“This year will be about finding the perfect balance between spending time at home and playing, hopefully we will find that balance.

“To me it’s not all about winning, I just want ‘my game’ back; I want to play free-flowing like I used to without pain, and if I can do that then I’ll be a happy man.

“It will be great to play in the magnificent new arena in Aberdeen, I’m already very impressed with it so to see it full will be quite a sight.”

Local hero Henderson famously lit up the old Aberdeen venue in 2019 with a spine-tingling walk-on followed by a thrilling 6-6 draw with Van Gerwen.

This year he will face UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall, who will be competing in his first full Premier League campaign, with over 7,000 fans set to pack the state-of-the-art venue.

“If Thursday night is even half as good as last year I will be delighted,” Henderson revealed.

“Last year goes down as one of the best and most emotional nights of my life, so to have the chance to do it all over again is amazing.

“Because I got a draw with Michael last year some people will think I will beat Nathan, but I know how good Nathan is and it will be a really tough game.

“I’ll give it my all and hopefully I can create some memories in front of what will be another incredible crowd.”

The opening night will also see newcomer Glen Durrant play 2018 runner-up Michael Smith, while two-time Grand Slam Champion Gerwyn Price takes on last year’s runner-up Rob Cross.

The first nine nights of action will see a different Challenger in action, culminating in Judgement Night in Rotterdam on March 26 where the ninth-placed player will be eliminated.

Following Judgement Night, the remaining eight players meet once more in the remaining seven league nights in Belfast, Sheffield, Manchester, Berlin, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds.

The top four players then progress to face off for the title, and a £250,000 top prize, in the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on Thursday May 21.

The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.

Any remaining tickets are available to purchase through ticketmaster.co.uk

2020 Unibet Premier League Night One
Thursday February 6
Aberdeen, P&J Live
Michael Smith v Glen Durrant
Gary Anderson v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall v John Henderson
Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross

Prize Fund
Winner £250,000
Runner-up £120,000
Semi-finalists £80,000
Fifth place£70,000
Sixth place £60,000
Seventh place £55,000
Eighth place £50,000
Ninth place £35,000
League winner bonus £25,000
Total £825,000

A.I.M: Pick Their Premier League ‘Challengers’

In response to Andrew Devonshire’s article (http://www.dartsworld.com/challengers-challenge-pick-who-should-face-the-premier-league-field/) Dart designers, consultants and equipment testers A.I.M: have offered their selections for the seven remaining slots in the Premier League Challengers team for 2020. In addition, they have included a controversial wildcard:

Surely Whitey has earned his chance? Are they scared of him?
Pic: PDC L Lustig
  • Ian White
  • Krystztof Ratajaski
  • Seigo Asada
  • Max Hopp
  • Ricky Evans
  • Gabriel Clemens
  • Josh Payne

Our first selection is the Diamond, Ian White. Whitey has been consistently on the vrge of the Premier League (by right) for quite a few years. It seems very unfair that he does not even get an opportunity to get used to it. He is a very funny guy and a player who adapts and improves to every situation. This tester session could be just what he needs to jump up another level. Kryzstof is a major champion and he has claimed PDC titles already, it is only a matter of time before he qualifies and this would give him a chance to show he can do it under these conditions.

Selecting two Germans is both sensible for the development of the game and keeping up the standard of those selected. Clemens is a seriously hard working player who gets better on the time and Hopp know how to win matches and titles.

Ricky Evans is the such a singular player that it would be good to see him in these conditions. If he could retain his composure and relaxation he would be superb entertainment, the crowd would love him. Baby Shark anyone?

Asada gives the Asian tour a focus within the Premier League and may lead to a visit there very soon! He is a quality player who has performed well both on tour and in World Championships.

A fine example of a young professional who has done it the right way. Josh payne could cause a headache or two and deserves reward.

Josh Payne has developed strongly. He has taken his time and matured through each stage of the modern game. Talented, though a little under rated, Josh is a fine example of what a new generation young player should be in attitude, presentation and professionalism. It would be wise to reward this.

WILDCARD – Ted Hankey

The ultimate villain?
Pic: Wimau

We cant help thinking, that if Ted is fit enough, The Count would be a superb guest star. In many ways Hankey, at the Grand Slam, showed the way in terms of a darts villain. It would certainly be a challenge for his opponent and great fun for the crowd.