Premier League Darts- Judgement Night
THORN SURVIVES AS DUTCH DUO DRAW CLASSIC
Robert Thornton survived elimination despite defeat as both Michael Smith and Dave Chisnall lost 7-5, meaning that the St Helens due slip through the trap door.
The race for play-off places continues to heat up as Phil Taylor, Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis gained valuable victories whilst Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen played out a vintage draw at the Motorpoint Arena.
James Wade v Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson was left to rue a missed dart at tops for the match which enabled James Wade to leave Cardiff with a share of the spoils.
World Champion Anderson failed to convert early chances in the match, seeing him fall behind. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ seemed to revert back to the Anderson of years ago, as he missed five darts to secure the first leg. It got worse for the Scot as Wade punished further missed darts at double in the second and third legs, making the score 3-0. And although Anderson got his first leg on the board in the fourth leg, Wade re-established a 4-1 advantage.
The positive for Anderson was that for the most-part, he was outscoring Wade. So, Anderson set about a comeback, and despite some poor counting (busting eight going for the wrong double)- Anderson was now allowed to pinch legs after missed doubles from ‘the Machine’ and level up at four apiece. A superb dart at double seven last dart in hand got him all square.
After two holds of throw, the reigning Premier League champion was able to take the lead for the first time in the eleventh leg, and duly secure a point. Anderson wasn’t able to hold throw to gain victory though. After Wade hit a crucial 180 before leaving 62, Anderson had a shot at 79. The Scotsman got one dart at tops, but overpitched and allowed Wade to snatch a point with his trusty double 10.
Michael Smith v Phil Taylor
Michael Smith was condemned to Premier League elimination in his debut season in elite competition as Phil Taylor edged out a 7-5 victory. ‘The Power’ pinned a 124 checkout to take the match.
‘Bully Boy’ missed two darts for a point, one in leg eleven and one in leg twelve- as the 16 time World Champion took the win. The match was nip-and-tuck throughout- no player established a two leg advantage until the very end. Taylor did break throw in the fifth leg when he took out 80, however credit must go to Smith for sticking with Taylor- as he was there in the next leg to punish missed darts at double from ‘the Power’ to break straight back. After three more holds of throw, Taylor held again to make it five apiece as he landed a superb 11 dart leg.
The years of experience that Taylor has attained over time then proved pivotal. After Smith missed a dart at tops for a 76 out, Taylor first held his composure to take out 80 on double five. He then nailed the bullseye for a 124 checkout, with Smith having missed another dart for a point at the bullseye for a 130.
Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright
Peter Wright ensured that Dave Chisnall would be eliminated from the Premier League as he crawled over the line 7-5 in an enthralling match on Judgement Night.
‘Chizzy’ fell behind early on, and it seemed as though lady luck wasn’t on his side as he was victim to numerous bounce outs. However, finishes of 101 and 102 kept him in the match. Despite falling behind into deficits of 3-1 and 6-3, Wright had trouble closing out the encounter. The tenth leg saw ‘Snakebite’ miss three match darts, with one busting his score first dart in hand. This allowed Chisnall to pin double ten to get a leg back. Then, Wright missed a dart at the bullseye for a 170 to get the win, and Chisnall stepped in to hit double 18 to take the match to the last leg.
However, it wasn’t to be for the man in yellow. With Wright sat on 36, Chisnall needed a 136 checkout to save his skin. After finding the roof of the treble 20 segment, he’d have been frustrated not to get another to give himself a dart at double eight. As a result, Wright landed double 18 to gain a valuable win in his chase for a play-off place.
Robert Thornton v Adrian Lewis
Adrian Lewis gained another valuable victory in his bid to get to finals night after he won a scrappy encounter against Robert Thornton, however the Scot is safe from elimination after both Smith and Chisnall lost.
After Thornton took the opening leg, ‘Jackpot’ stole a march when he won three legs in a row- ‘the Thorn’ missing three darts at double to establish a 2-0 lead. Thornton battled away though and he began to find the treble 20 with regularity.
Then, with the score at 5-4, Thornton bought himself three darts at double 18. He didn’t capitalise though and once Lewis landed double eight for 6-4, he confidently set about wrapping up the match in the next leg. He did so somewhat comfortably as he took out 56 to gain a 7-4 victory.
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
The points were shared between van Barneveld and van Gerwen however the former will be disappointed not to close out the win after being 6-3 up.
Van Barneveld looked up for the fight and was extremely composed early doors, as van Gerwen seemed to be rushing- spraying more wayward darts than we are used to seeing from the world number one. MvG did win the first leg with an 86 checkout, however ‘Barney’ then went on a superb run of four straight legs.
First he pinned double six to level with a break back, before he held with double four. Van Gerwen’s throw was then broken again though, as van Barneveld landed double 13 for an 81 checkout. Then, van Gerwen missed the same double segment that RvB had just hit for the same checkout and this allowed the five-time World Champion to hit tops for an 80 checkout.
However, van Gerwen kept on ploughing away, and his scoring improved significantly towards the latter stages of the match. And even though Barney hit double four to secure a point and 6-3 advantage, ‘the Green Machine’ rallied to secure a point. Barney did have a dart for the match in the eleventh leg, on throw. It was at double 16 for a 62 checkout, but once van Gerwen stepped in to me it 6-5, the UK Open champion threw a commanding leg that culminated on double 10 to ensure that he left with a point. Van Gerwen has drew the last three weeks in the Premier League- Barney producing some sublime darts here but couldn’t quite get the win.
Thursday 21st March 2016
Premier League Darts, Week Nine
Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Judgement Night, Results
James Wade 6 Gary Anderson 6
Michael Smith 5 Phil Taylor 7
Dave Chisnall 5 Peter Wright 7
Robert Thornton 4 Adrian Lewis 7
Raymond van Barneveld 6 Michael van Gerwen 6
By Aaron Woodruff