Revisited: 2019 Premier League Play-Off Night!

Twelve months ago MVG reasserted his dominance, over the Darting World, with another Premier League triumph. Our reader James Smith gives us his revisionist view:

Today, Thursday 21st May, would have been the day of the 2020 Premier League Darts Play-Offs at the O2 Arena, London, following a rigorous 17 nights of darts which began on 6th February in Aberdeen.

Would MVG have retain his Premier League Title, would Peter Wright have added another to his growing collection or would Glen Durrant have carried through his superb start? Sadly we will never know.

Sadly, the unfortunate and tragic situation we find ourselves in, means there will be no darts tonight. To fill the void, here is a look back at the 2019 Play-Offs.

12 months ago, Michael van Gerwen, Daryl Gurney, Rob Cross, and James Wade made the trip to London for the final night of action. Gurney was the only member of the quartet to have never made it to Play-Offs night previously and was the underdog. Cross had made the semi-finals at the first attempt the year before, losing 10-6 to van Gerwen in the semi-final.

James Wade had also made the Play-Offs night on his first attempt. Way back in 2008 he lost in the final 16-8 to Phil Taylor. He went one better the year later with a 13-8 victory over Mervyn King to lift the prestigious title.

Van Gerwen’s Premier League pedigree cannot be understated. Since he first appeared in the competition in 2013, he has made the final every year. After winning at the first attempt in 2013, van Gerwen lost back-to-back finals to Gary Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld. His subsequent three consecutive titles meant that in 2019 he was a strong favourite and brimming with confidence. Quite rightly too, as his performances in each final, even when he lost, were sublime. His lowest three-dart average in any Premier League final came in 2014 where he recorded an excellent 102.98; whereas in 2018 he had brushed aside Michael Smith with a staggering 112.37.

This did not quite translate in his 2019 semi-final performance, where an inconsistent and patchy performance led to a 96.48 average, which was only just enough to sneak past Gurney 10-7 in a below-par match.

The MACHINE HAD SURPRISED MANY BY GETTING THIS FAR. (PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG) JAMES WADE IN ACTION.

Cross looked much more assured in a comprehensive 10-5 victory over Wade, where the 2018 World Champion recorded an average of 100.31.

Going in to the final, one would have been forgiven for considering van Gerwen the clear favourite. The head-to-head of the two players was very much in the Dutchman’s favour, having lost only three times to Cross in 18 previous meetings. That being said, one of those three defeats was in a World Championship semi-final, so there was little doubt that Cross could produce high-quality darts against van Gerwen on the big stage.

In the Premier League, however, Cross had enjoyed no such luck. The Englishman’s first-ever game in the competition came in 2018 and resulted in a 7-2 loss to van Gerwen in Dublin, followed by a 7-2 loss in Birmingham and then the aforementioned 10-6 loss in the semi-final. En route to Play-Offs night in 2019, Cross and van Gerwen had alternated between first and second place in the league table from week six onwards, but the results between the two players had been similarly one-sided; van Gerwen enjoying another 7-2 victory in Dublin, and an emphatic 8-2 victory in Cardiff. Despite those results, with the dominance of the two players throughout the tournament so clear for all to see, this was the final that the majority of darts fans wanted and expected.

CROSS IMPRESSED IN THE EARLY STAGES OF THE FINAL. (PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG ) ROB CROSS IN ACTION.

The final, however, went along with the form book. Van Gerwen started the final with a fifteen-dart break of throw, before moving in to a 5-1 lead; a run of six legs in which Cross only had three darts at a double. It wasn’t until leg seven where Voltage got his game together, hitting his first maximum and taking the leg on his favourite double eighteen. Cross then won the next two legs as both players pushed their average over 102.

Perhaps the turning point of the match came in the tenth leg where Cross uncharacteristically missed three darts at double eighteen to level the match, allowing van Gerwen to swoop with a crucial checkout of 74 to take a 6-4 lead at the break.

Cross never recovered and was to take only one more leg in the match, ultimately going down 11-5. Mighty Mike raced to his fifth Premier League crown in quick time, hitting a 130 checkout on double eight to guarantee the £250,000 winner’s cheque.

Despite another defeat at the hands of the world number one, Cross could be proud of his performance. Whilst he missed some key doubles and failed to pressurise van Gerwen’s throw at times, he did manage an average of 100.98. Moreover, at 5-1 down, when he looked almost out of the match at a very early stage, he managed to turn his game around and all but level. Needless to say, he showed all the class that has pushed him in to the top five of the PDC Order of Merit, but, like every other player in the world, he’ll need to show more to topple the dominant Dutchman.


Thanks to James for another excellent read.

Additional editing – James Lincoln

The Highlander’s Favourite Moment – Hendo Torn Between Victory And Atmosphere.

In a new series Hendo recently answered our 9-Dart Questions. As ever, the Scotsman was engaging and had a tale or two to tell. One of the more telling answers was his view on his favourite career moment. He selects a big tournament title, a proud moment, for any son of Scotland, and a recent moment that few will forget:

  1. What is your favourite career moment so far?

Winning the British Open was superb, as was getting my first cap for Scotland. However, the hugest spine chilling adrenaline hit I got was playing in the Premier League in Aberdeen against MVG. The walk on I will never ever forget it still makes me shudder let alone getting a 6 – 6 draw – that was the icing on the cake.

Check out all Hendo’s answers to the 9-Dart Questions here.


Check out John’s signature darts over at Red Dragon darts.

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

Ones to Watch: Six of The Best (PDC) 2020 Games For Lock-Down Viewing.

As a fan of our ‘Ones to Watch‘ series James Smith got in – touch with his suggestions of the best of 2020, while his ambitions may seem a bit bold, his viewing choice is solid:

How many lock-down weeks until you reach MVG standard?

As a darts enthusiast, being trapped indoors currently does present one with a great opportunity to work on one’s throw, with the hope of giving Michael van Gerwen a run for his money when we are allowed outside again.

James Smith

However, there is only so long that you can kid yourself into thinking that you are good enough to become a World Champion. In the meantime, with no new (live) darts being televised, we are left only to look back over what has happened already.

So, to aid this pursuit of entertainment, here is a run down of the six most exciting PDC matches of 2020 so far:

6. Dobey vs Ratajski: UK Open 4th Round.

The early rounds of the UK open of 2020 were graced with some fantastic clashes, especially this contest between top-twenty players Chris Dobey and Krystof Ratajski. Both players are expected to start picking up serious titles this year, and this match showed why.

Both players averaged over 105 across a match that went all the way to the final leg. With Ratajski averaging 56.25% on his doubles, and Dobey 43.48% it is no surprise that this was a close-fought contest.

Ratajski broke throw early in the match to go into a 4 – 2 lead. Dobey responded brilliantly however, breaking throw twice to win four straight legs to go 6 – 4 up. This included a fantastic 121-check on the bullseye in leg nine to break for the second time.

After another break of throw, Ratajski then missed two darts at double sixteen to win 10-8, surprising given then quality of the match. With the pattern of the game continuing however, the Englishman hit the bullseye again, this time for a 92-out, in the final leg of the match, to break Ratajski and go to the next round. Darting drama right from the start.

5. Dave Chisnall vs Daryl Gurney: Masters First Round

Following disappointing World Championship campaigns, both Gurney and Chisnall arrived at the Marshall Arena at the end of January, with a point to prove. However, with the format of the tournament bringing the top sixteen of the PDC Order of Merit, neither player was likely to enjoy an ‘easy’ first round draw.

Both players showed in this first-round clash their undeniable class. Starting well, ‘Chizzy’ raced into a 5 – 2 lead, only for Gurney to bring it back to 5 – 5. The following six legs were then shared to make things 8 – 8, in this first to ten match.

With both players averaging in the low nineties, this wasn’t the highest scoring game ever. But missed doubles throughout the match, including Gurney’s four across the final two legs, meant that this game was full of darting drama from start to finish.

Chizzy emerged a 10 – 8 winner…only to be knocked out in the second round 10 – 0 by title-winner Peter Wright. A great contest as we get stuck into the list:

4. Peter Wright vs Gerwyn Price: PC 5 (Final).

The first of two Players’ Championship events to make this list – the final of PC 5 saw newly-crowned World and Masters Champion Peter Wright, take on Welsh Number One Gerwyn Price.

The final saw the two Major-holders both average over 109 across the fourteen-leg match. This was a fitting end to a day of darts where ninety-one matches saw averages over a hundred – beating the previous world record (set in February 2019) by a staggering twenty-one matches.

Showing the eminent quality of both players, the first thirteen legs of the match went with throw, leaving Wright with a 7-6 lead going into the fourteenth. Then with Price sat on double top, after twelve darts, ‘Snakebite’ hit ‘The Big Fish’ (a 170 Checkout) to seal his first Players Championship title of 2020.

You will struggle to find a final of such consistent quality anywhere else from this season. In fact, Wright’s performance in the final meant that of his seven matches en route to lifting the trophy, he averaged less than one hundred on only one occasion:

3. Nathan Aspinall vs Dirk van Duijvenbode: Belgian Darts Championship Quarter Final

2020 is the first year that the PDC European Tour hosted an event in Belgium. The inaugural venue was the Expo Hasselt, in Hasselt, where forty-eight competitors took to the stage.

The final was won by Gerwyn Price, in an 8-3 victory over Michael Smith. Arguably, however, the game of the tournament came in the Quarter Final between Nathan Aspinall and Dirk van Duijvenbode.

With both players reaching averages of over 102, this match was full of quality, with the Dutchman edging his English opponent 6-5, as the match went right to the final leg. Having hit the twenty-five for a 170-Check, Van Duijvenbode was let off the hook as Aspinall failed to get a dart at a double from ninety-five. The Dutchman cleaned up on double eight to proceed to the semi-fianls.

Despite losing 7-4 to price in the semi’s, he must have been over the moon for his performance that weekend. As well as this being the Dutchman’s first final’s day at a PDC European Tour event, the financial implications are also clear. Van Duijvenbode last season earned £14,500 – after reaching the semi-finals in Belgium, he has already supposed that in 2020.

This is the perfect chance to watch one of the new greats of the game in Aspinall, coming up against a young player of whom much is expected in the years to come:

2. Nathan Aspinall vs Gary Anderson: P.L. (6)

Having not played a Premier League match in almost two years due to injury, Gary Anderson returned to the Thursday-Night tournament continuing to reach his former best. His match against Nathan Aspinall in Liverpool showed that he still has a lot left in the tank.

Gary averaged 94.27 across the match, and flew into a 5-1 lead straight away after Aspinall missed six darts at a double in the first leg. The man from Stockport rallied however, hitting eight maximums to bring the match back level at 5-5.

Aspinall then responded to the Scot’s ninety-five finish to win the final leg to claim a 6-6 draw with an average pushing 108. With both players coming off stage pleased with coming away with a point it isn’t hard to imagine how much quality the two of them were producing:

1. Michael Van Gerwen vs Gerwyn Price: Players’ Championship Six Final

The second match in the list from the Players Championship events from Wigan this year – the final of PC Six saw the MvG lose to the ‘Iceman’ 8-7 in the most thrilling contest of the year.

With over 1,112 180’s thrown over the two days, as well as two nine-dart legs (from MvG and Steve Lennon) the Sunday final had a lot to live up to. It did not disappoint.

Price raced into a 4 – 1 lead, continuing to show the class that has brought him up to number three in the PDC Order of Merit. MvG managed to bring the tie back to 5 – 4, only for the Welshman to win to extend his lead to 7 – 4. As Price struggled to close the game, MvG won legs in eleven, fifteen, and eleven darts again to send the match to a deciding leg for what would have been his first title in 2020.

Price however, took the £10,000 cheque by hitting the bulls eye to complete a 94-checkout with the big Dutchman sat on double eighteen.

Price continues to ooze confidence and class – stating after his victory “I truly believe now that if I hit my double I will win matches against Michael, Peter [Wright] or whoever; my scoring game is up there, if not better than them.”

So there are James’s picks for the best viewing of 2020, so far!


Many thanks to James for his contribution. Perhaps you have a different pick of the 2020 crop? Maybe you have a ‘Six of the Best’ or ‘Ones to Watch’ of your own to offer to those currently stuck within four walls?

Get in touch with your suggestions: articles@dartsworld.com or @Darts_World

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.

PDC Launch Watch Party Viewing!

With no Unibet Premier League action on TV this Thursday due to the ongoing global situation, we’re giving fans the chance to get their darts fix by joining our ‘Watch Party’.

The first of a series of FREE Watch Parties will take place at 1900 GMT on Thursday as we show in full the 2014 Premier League night from Newcastle.

Thursday’s Watch Party will be shown on YouTube and Facebook, with fans able to watch together at the same time and take part in live chat.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE WATCH PARTY ON YOUTUBE

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE WATCH PARTY ON FACEBOOK

Further Watch Parties will be announced in due course.

PDC Unicorn Development Tour

More PDC Tour Postponements: Player’s Championship & Second Tier Tours Hit.

The forthcoming PDC Unicorn Development Tour events on March 21-22 and the Players Championship weekend on March 28-29 are to be postponed.

Official PDC Logo
The PDC has moved swiftly and hopes to rearrange later in 2020

Three nights of the Unibet Premier League and a trio of PDC European Tour events have already been postponed due to the ongoing worldwide situation.

With restrictions being implemented in the UK alongside further worldwide measures, the PDC has opted to postpone the next two weekends of non-televised events.

This means that the year’s second Development Tour weekend, which was set to feature four tournaments in Wigan, as well as the new Players Championship double-header in Milton Keynes have now been postponed.

PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter said: “The health and wellbeing of players, fans, officials and staff at events has been at the forefront of our thoughts over the past week during an unprecedented time for everyone worldwide.

“We issued precautionary measures around last week’s Unibet Premier League night in Liverpool and Players Championship events to keep everyone as safe as possible.

“However, following Monday’s announcements and further discussions with stakeholders including the PDPA and venues, we feel it is in the best interests of everyone involved in the sport to postpone the forthcoming Development Tour and Players Championship weekends during March.

“We had hoped to provide as many playing opportunities as possible for players in the coming weeks, and will work to rearrange these events during 2020.”

Player entries for postponed tournaments will also remain valid for any rearranged equivalent dates. Players can see further updates from the PDPA via www.pdpa.co.uk.

Further updates in relation to PDC events will be issued at pdc.tv/Coronavirus.


Newcastle Premier League Postponed !

The Unibet Premier League night at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle planned for Thursday March 19 has been postponed and will be rescheduled for Thursday October 1.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG

The decision to postpone Thursday’s planned event has been taken following the UK Government’s restriction on “non-essential social contact” and decision to remove emergency service support for mass gatherings.

Thursday’s event in Newcastle becomes the third Premier League night of the 2020 season to be postponed, following last week’s announcement moving the Rotterdam double-header to September 9-10.

Tickets for the rearranged Premier League nights in Newcastle and Rotterdam will remain valid for the rearranged dates. Ticket holders will be contacted by their point of purchase in due course.

Further details in relation to future Premier League nights and other PDC events will be confirmed in due course.

Further updates in relation to PDC events will be issued at pdc.tv/Coronavirus.

Premier League Table – Durrant Stays Top!

After the latest round, of matches, Glen Durrant retains his position at the top of the Unibet Premier League table. MVG is second, a single point behind, while three other players are another point adrift.

Daryl Gurney continues to struggle. The Irishman is well off the pace with only two points. Superchin is turning round his season, in other arenas, but the Premier League is proving a tough challenge this year.

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

Unibet Premier League

Premier League Season Extended. Rotterdam Rearranged.

The 2020 Unibet Premier League season will continue until at least September, with the dates now confirmed for a rescheduled double-header at Rotterdam Ahoy.

Unibet Premier League Goes Double Dutch!
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The Premier League nights originally scheduled for March 25-26 at Ahoy have been postponed due to regulations introduced in the Netherlands following the Coronavirus epidemic.

The double-header has now been rearranged for September 9-10 at Rotterdam Ahoy, starting at 2000 local time on each night.

Subject to no further changes being required to the existing Unibet Premier League schedule, the nights in Rotterdam are now set to be the 16th league night on Wednesday September 9 and the Play-Offs on Thursday September 10.

The schedule amendments will now make the visit to The SSE Arena in Belfast on Thursday April 2 the eighth league night, with Judgement Night now becoming Thursday April 9 at The FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield.

Existing ticket bookings for March 25-26 at Rotterdam Ahoy will remain valid for the corresponding new dates on September 9-10.

Further updates in relation to PDC events and the Coronavirus epidemic will be issued at pdc.tv/Coronavirus.

  • 2020 Unibet Premier League Revised Schedule – at March 13 2020
    Night Seven

    Thursday March 19 – Utilita Arena, Newcastle
  • Night Eight 
    Thursday April 2 – SSE Arena, Belfast
  • Judgement Night 
    Thursday April 9 – FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield
  • Night Ten 
    Thursday April 16 – The Manchester Arena
  • Night 11 
    Thursday April 23 – Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
  • Night 12 
    Thursday April 30 – Arena Birmingham
  • Night 13 
    Thursday May 7 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
  • Night 14 
    Thursday May 14 – First Direct Arena, Leeds
  • Night 15 
    Thursday May 21 – The O2, London
  • Night 16 
    Wednesday September 9 – Rotterdam Ahoy
  • Play-Offs 
    Thursday September 10 – Rotterdam Ahoy