Premier League Darts Week 2
The second week of the Premier League saw dominant performances from Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor, both winning after losing on the first week. Meanwhile, Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis made it two wins from two matches after the second week.
Robert Thornton missed this weeks action because of illness, so James Wade played two games in Newcastle.
Game 1- James Wade v Michael Smith
Michael Smith lost his third straight match of his debut season in the Premier League as James Wade backed up his victory against Van Gerwen last week.
This was a match of what could have been for Smith as he’s left to rue eight darts at double to open up a two leg lead, of which not only saw him lose the leg, but severely knock ‘Bully Boys’ performance from thereon.
The match started with expert finishing from both as a 120 finish from each, along with 88 and 87 check-outs ensured that both players held throw. The fifth leg then saw the first break of throw. Smith first missed a shot at the bullseye, before Wade missed a dart at tops to hold and hit the third 120 checkout of the match. This allowed the man from St Helens to return and hit double 10 to steal the initiative.
It looked like Smith had now found his feet in the Premier League, but eight missed darts at double to establish a 4-2 lead proved to be his downfall. It was double 5 that ‘the Machine’ pinned to get the match back on throw. Then Wade won five of the next six legs to seal victory.
First he hit 71 on tops, before Smith did hold with 86 on double seven to hold throw. Wade hit double five for 5-4 and then secured at least a point with double 10 returning from missing tops for a 125 checkout. In the eleventh leg, Wade rounded off the victory. He missed double 12 for what would’ve been the highest checkout of the match (138), but it didn’t matter as Smith was way back- enabling Wade to hit the winning double at the sixth time of asking with double six.
Two wins out of two for Wade, and with a 93 average showed how hitting the right shots at the right time can get you over the line. For Smith, it’s three defeats in a row at the start of the 2016 Premier League- he desperately needs a win sooner rather than later.
Game 2- Raymond van Barneveld v Peter Wright
Peter Wright came from 4-2 down to beat Raymond van Barneveld in a tight encounter at Newcastle.
‘Snakebite’, known for changing his darts, did so again for this match even though recent performances have been strong. An 88 .13 average though was enough for the win against ‘Barney’ who averaged 93.23.
The five-time world champion though, started very well. An 11 dart leg including a 180 got the ball rolling, but the next leg was a missed opportunity. Van Barneveld missed three darts to break the throw and claim an early advantage, only for Wright to hit double 16 to level. RvB then took out 100 clinically to regain the lead, before Wright hit double again.
Van Barneveld though, seized control as after a 32 checkout, he hit double nine to break throw. This was after Wright missed four darts to hold, and Raymond three to break. The seventh leg though then turned the match on its’ head again when RvB missed three darts at double to lead 5-2 and Wright pinned double 10 to check out 59.
Despite Wright playing below par, he was hanging on in there, and a 68 checkout locked the game up at 4-4. Barney went back ahead 5-4 though with tops before Wright hit double 14 last dart in hand to level again at five apiece. The next leg saw Wright break. 75 in two darts on double 12 punsihed a missed a dart at tops for a point from van Barneveld. The final leg of the match saw Wright complete a battling 7-5 victory as he teed up double 12 with a 177 before landing it first dart on his return.
Game 3- Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall
Adrian Lewis produced a sublime performance in completing a convincing 7-4 win against Dave Chisnall.
The match included nine 180’s and could have gone so differently if ‘Chizzy’ took his chances early doors, as Lewis was the one who raced into a 4-0 lead.
The match kicked out at a terrific standard. Chisnall’s first three darts were a 180, and it gave him a shot at 100 for an early break. Two missed darts at tops saw Lewis hit double 18 for the first leg though. The next leg saw Chizzy also miss the double, this time one at double 16. Lewis gratefully stepped in to tame out 78 and break the man in yellow. And after Lewis made it 4-0 with double eight and tops respectively- Chisnall was left with a mountain to climb.
He gave it a good go though; 74 sealed his first leg. Chizzy looked to launch an attack, but even though he kicked off with a maximum, ‘Jackpot’ repeated him to put the pressure on. It paid dividends as three darts missed at double from Chisnall allowed Lewis to go 5-1 ahead with tops. The same double secured Lewis a point, but a lack of concentration allowed Chizzy a potential route back into the game.
Firstly, Chizzy found a magical 110 on the bullseye for 6-2, but then Lewis missed five match darts and the big one to leave double two. This was of course unexpected when Lewis seemed to be in complete control. Chizzy hit double 18 to make it 6-3, and that was followed by a clinical two dart 98 checkout to make the scoreline 6-4.
The comeback was stopped in it’s tracks though when Lewis regained his composure with a fifth 180 and 81 checkout on double six to make it two wins from two for ‘Jackpot’ in this years Premier League.
Game 4- Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen bounced back from last weeks defeat by confidently dispatching world champion Gary Anderson 7-3 with a 111.88 average.
Van Gerwen was clearly looking to put things right after losing to James Wade in Leeds last week. He certainly did that.
Anderson won the first leg of the match with a 54 checkout, getting straight back into the groove after missing last week through illness. MvG though held his own throw in emphatic fashion- threatening the nine-darter with back-to-back 180’s, before hitting tops for a 13 dart leg. Anderson was then broken next leg as MvG landed double eight for a 25 checkout. Van Gerwen then found a 105 checkout to hold his own throw and establish a two leg advantage.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ kept battling though, as the next three legs went with the throw at 4-3. MvG then found three legs on the spin to take the two points though. After making it 5-3, double nine for an 85 checkout sealed at least a draw, before a 72 checkout on D12 in a 14 dart leg completed the 7-3 win.
Anderson averaged 106.23 in the defeat, a good performance for the Scotsman on his return to the oche- but van Gerwen (who hit six 180’s and ten 140’s) was in imperious form.
Game 5- James Wade v Phil Taylor
Phil Taylor produced a vintage display in beating James Wade with a 111.2 average to round off a thrilling night of darts in Newcastle.
‘The Power’ bounced back from a 7-2 defeat from Raymond van Barneveld last week by getting his first two points of the campaign.
Taylor established his command early on. Checkouts of 25 and 66 saw Phil take a two leg lead. Wade then held throw for his solitary leg, he did so by taking out 78. From thereon, it was all the 16 time world champion.
Looking comfortable on stage and quite clearly liking his new darts that he’s been using in 2016, Taylor won the next five legs. Amongst those legs was some fantastic finishing, including 122 and 127 checkouts. Taylor hit 70% of his doubles, and an 11 dart leg completed with a 48 checkout showed how well he was playing. Taylor concluded the masterclass with a 65 checkout on double four.
Wade averaged a healthy 101.85 in defeat, but will be somewhat content with his evening after beating Michael Smith earlier in the night.
Week 2 Results:
James Wade 7-4 Michael Smith
Peter Wright 7-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis 7-4 Dave Chisnall
Michael Van Gerwen 7-3 Gary Anderson
Phil Taylor 7-1 James Wade
By Aaron Woodruff