Premier League Darts: Battle for play-offs heats up in Brum
With only two weeks to go until the Premier League Darts play-offs in London, the final table is taking shape, with five players still in contention to extend their Premier League Darts season beyond mid-May. The Arena Birmingham is this week’s venue – with four fixtures on the slate now all the players are once again level on games played.
There was relief for Michael van Gerwen in Manchester as he bounced back from two shock defeats in Rotterdam to consolidate his place at the top of the table with an entertaining draw against Daryl Gurney and a thumping 7-1 win against nearest rival Michael Smith. MVG’s two Manchester opponents will now meet in the Midlands as they continue their respective fights for a play-off slot.
That win and a draw mean MVG is now assured of his place at the O2 Arena on May 17. With his confidence restored, Thursday night’s clash against young pretender Rob Cross promises to be fascinating match-up, with the two enjoying a potential dress rehearsal ahead of the final shoot-out in London.
Last time out, Cross and Raymond van Barneveld couldn’t be separated in a tight-knit contest, sharing the spoils 6-6 in a result that simply wasn’t good enough for Barney’s fading play-off hopes. In truth, bar a memorable trip to Rotterdam, the Dutchman has never looked likely to add to his 2014 title in this year’s competition. With his next opponent Gary Anderson still in danger of letting his play-off berth slip, Barney may face yet more disappointment before he bows out next week in Aberdeen.
The interest at the bottom end of the table now lies in which player will take home the Phase 2 wooden spoon. If Barney does manage to find a second wind against the Flying Scotsman, that dubious honour could fall on one of the players opening the proceedings in Birmingham.
Peter Wright and Simon Whitlock will go head-to-head simply looking to salvage some pride before they depart the stage and it’s the Wizard who could be the value option in this one. Whitlock showed he’s in no mood to lie down in this competition with a gutsy 7-5 victory last time out over Gary Anderson at the Manchester Arena – can he pull further clear from the bottom with a win against Wright in Brum?
Arena Birmingham, May 3
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Daryl Gurney v Michael Smith
Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
Key stats from Manchester
Highest 3 Dart Average: Michael van Gerwen – 104.96
Highest checkout: Daryl Gurney – 156
Most 180s: Michael van Gerwen – 7
Total 180s: 30
|1||Michael van Gerwen||14||10||1||3||40||21|
|6||Raymond van Barneveld||14||5||3||6||-12||13|
May 10 – BHGE Arena, Aberdeen
Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Simon Whitlock v Rob Cross
May 17 – O2, London (Play Offs)
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All image sources from PA Images