Premier League Darts Week 8 review
Thornton produced a brace of superb performances in Liverpool as he edged out fellow struggler Michael Smith before producing a determined and resilient performance to battle his way to a point against world number one Michael van Gerwen.
Elsewhere, Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson picked up wins to boost their play-off chances whilst Phil Taylor and Peter Wright couldn’t be separated at the Echo Arena.
Michael Smith v Robert Thornton
Robert Thornton showed that he is far from down and out from this Premier League as he won the last two legs of the match to claim victory against fellow struggler Michael Smith.
The match started with high quality darts, with the first four legs being shared with 122 and 112 finishes from Smith and Thornton respectively. ‘The Thorn’ didn’t let three missed darts at double to get the first break of throw in the third leg get to him, as he broke in the fifth leg with a 78 out. The next two legs went in the Scots favour too as he opened up a 5-2 lead. The seventh leg was won on double one last dart in hand after a 180 left four, as Thornton punished a missed dart at double four from Smith when going for a 61 checkout.
Smith though, rallied back- winning the next three legs to level the match. The ninth leg saw Thornton miss three darts for a point, and then he missed a dart at the bullseye in the next leg- but Smith cleaned up well to keep the match alive. Thornton then took the match away from Smith. The Scot produced a stunning 11 darter to break and finally seal a point before Smith missed a dart at double 10 for a 140 checkout and a share of the spoils. Thornton then confidently stepped up and took out 60 on his favourite double top, that he’d been lethal on all night, to seal a crucial win and boost survival hopes.
Thornton’s 47% checkout percentage was hugely important in the win, that sees him leapfrog opponent Michael Smith. Smith is left rooted to the foot of the table.
Gary Anderson v Dave Chisnall
Dave Chisnall had a disastrous night of doubles as Gary Anderson made it six Premier League wins on the trot, breaking his duck at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
This match was littered with quality scoring, however Chisnall is left to rue numerous chances to steal a march. Anderson won the first two legs of the game before ‘Chizzy’ broke back with double eight after he was allowed back to the oche following Anderson missing three at double here. Then though, three darts at double eluded Chisnall- meaning that ‘the Flying Scotsman’ could break again before winning the next leg with double nine to lead 4-1.
Chizzy though kept fighting and produced a quality 116 to make it four two. The next leg though the man from St Helens was unfortunate as after applying pressure with one of his four maximums, Anderson took out a stunning 144 on his trusty double 12. Chisnall kept giving himself opportunities though, as after double made it 5-3, he had the chance to break and get the match back on throw. Two missed darts though allowed Anderson to secure at least a point. And despite double five winning Chizzy the tenth leg, Anderson secured a 7-4 win with double 10.
Chizzy now stares elimination in the face, he needs something from next weeks match with Peter Wright. For Anderson, he continues his consistent Premier League form
Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis gained a win that moved him into the play-off places as he condemned Raymond van Barneveld to another 7-5 defeat.
This match saw numerous breaks of throw, as ‘Barney’ edged the scoring whilst ‘Jackpot’ finished well. After a couple breaks of throw and a brace of holds, Barney took the lead 3-2 when he took out 64 for the second time in the match to take a 3-2 lead. This was immediately responded too by Lewis though as an 83 checkout on double nine levelled the match again. The break opportunities kept coming though, and RvB was down to a double first again in the seventh leg, but he blew five darts in the south-west region of the board to take the leg- enabling Lewis to hit double 18 for a 4-3 lead.
The next two legs went in the Englishman’s favour too, with the latter being won with a 104 checkout. Barney then set about a comeback in the right way with a 69 checkout to stop the rot of four legs lost and reduce the deficit to 6-4. The Dutchman found a piece of magic to break in the next though. After Lewis reed up tops with a 180, Barney pinned a 104 checkout on double 12, the double that his opponent was sat on for the match. Lewis though broke back with double eight last dart in hand to take the match 7-5 and thwart Barney’s rally for a draw.
Lewis moves four points clear of opponent van Barneveld with the win here.
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright
Phil Taylor threw away an opportunity to win the match 7-4 as he missed four darts at double, enabling Wright to pounce and pinch a point from ‘the Power’.
The match saw the opening nine legs go with throw, as both players staunchly prevented many break opportunities. Highlights included a 130 on bullseye from Wright in the fourth leg before Taylor took out a crucial 141 in the fifth, where Wright was left waiting to break the throw on this occasion.
The first break came in the tenth leg when Taylor found his first 180 of the night to fire in an 11 dart leg that culminated on double 16. The Power then threw a confident leg, however he was left to rue four missed darts at double and Wright took out a fantastic 111 on double 16 to ensure the 16 time World Champion wouldn’t get another opportunity. Wright then threw an assertive leg in the twelfth and final leg to win the last leg, claiming a 6-6 as a result.
Wright will be pleased that he stopped the rot of three defeats on the bounce here, whilst Taylor will be gutted that he didn’t close out the commanding position that he was in.
Michael van Gerwen v Robert Thornton
Robert Thornton rounded off a superb night by claiming a draw against Michael van Gerwen to significantly boost his Premier League survival hopes.
The match was nip-and-tuck throughout, as Thornton consistently applied pressure to the world number one. The Scot got up and running in the second leg when he took out a majestic 140 checkout on double 10 to level up. Things then got better for Thornton. He broke the throw next leg with double 12 before making it 3-1 with double 10 after back-to-back 180’s. Van Gerwen though battled, and he won the next three legs to get the match back on throw. ‘The Thorn’ almost went 4-3 up, missing double five for a 130 out and break only for van Gerwen to pin the same checkout on the double five that his opponent just missed.
From thereon the game settled down into players holding there throw as the game went down to the wire. Van Gerwen produced a clinical 96 checkout in two darts to secure a point before he produced a poor leg by his standards in the twelfth. This enabled Thornton to home in on double tops and secure a much deserved point in a fantastic performance from the Scotsman.
With the point, Thornton climbs out of the bottom two with four points, leaving Chisnall and Smith needing ‘the Thorn’ to lose and results themselves next week to avoid elimination. Van Gerwen is tied at the top of the table with Taylor and Anderson, however ‘the Green Machine’ leads the pack on leg difference.
Premier League Darts, Week 8 Results
Echo Arena, Liverpool
Michael Smith 5 Robert Thornton 7
Gary Anderson 7 Dave Chisnall 4
Adrian Lewis 7 Raymond van Barneveld 5
Phil Taylor 6 Peter Wright 6
Michael van Gerwen 6 Robert Thornton 6
By Aaron Woodruff