Premier League Darts: Double trouble for struggling Barney on home soil
There’s double delight for Premier League Darts fans this week with two nights of intense oche action as the players pack their bags for an extended trip to Rotterdam.
With two dates in the Dutch port city to make up the cancellation of Week Five in Exeter, the rowdy Rotterdam crowds will have an additional chance to see two of the country’s biggest sporting legends in action. A dramatic head-to-head clash between Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld is the undisputed highlight across the two nights of fixtures.
Barney is a man in desperate need of a break after sliding firmly out of play-off contention following back-to-back defeats against Daryl Gurney and Peter Wright in Sheffield. Perhaps his best chance of redemption comes against Simon Whitlock on Wednesday. The Wizard collapsed to an emphatic 7-1 defeat against league leader van Gerwen last time out. For two of the game’s old stagers, Rotterdam could well be a battle to avoid a slide into irrelevance in this competition.
One player really starting to hit his stride in the race for a Play Off spot is Daryl Gurney. The Northern Irishman has been playing like a man possessed ever since breaking his duck in Glasgow, with three wins and one draw over his last month of Premier League Darts. Gurney faces a real test of his staying power in Rotterdam, with tricky looking ties against Gary Anderson and Rob Cross.
Gary Anderson will take on Daryl Gurney in Rotterdam
Whilst MVG continues to brush aside all before him, perhaps the most interesting development to watch out for at the Rotterdam Ahoy is the nip-and-tuck battle for second place by the two surviving rookies in this competition, Michael Smith and Rob Cross.
Both players have shown they can easily cope with the relentless turnaround of Premier League Darts and will be looking to put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack after the two rounds of fixtures. The rapidly improving Gary Anderson could play kingmaker, however, as he takes on both on Wednesday night. Could it be The Flying Scotsman who makes a last-ditch bid to become the leading contender to steal MVG’s crown?
Peter Wright will face MVG and Rob Cross.
Anderson’s compatriot Peter Wright finally had something to cheer about in Yorkshire last week after recording a decisive 7-2 win over van Barneveld. His chances of making the Play Offs still look slim at best, and it may be a short-lived revival for the 48-year-old as he faces daunting ties against MVG and Rob Cross on Dutch soil.
Michael Smith 2-7 Gary Anderson
Rob Cross 7-4 Daryl Gurney
Raymond van Barneveld 7-3 Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright 7-5 Michael van Gerwen
Rob Cross 3-7 Gary Anderson
*Updated results from Wednesday night
Simon Whitlock v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Gary Anderson
Rob Cross v Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Daryl Gurney v Simon Whitlock
Key stats from Sheffield
Highest 3 Dart Average: Rob Cross – 106.26
Highest checkout: Raymond van Barneveld – 158
Most 180s: Daryl Gurney – 5
Total 180s: 25
|1||Michael van Gerwen||10||9||0||1||38||18|
|7||Raymond van Barneveld||11||3||2||6||-18||8|
April 26, The Manchester Arena
Peter Wright v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Michael van Gerwen
Simon Whitlock v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Rob Cross
Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen
May 3, Arena Birmingham
Peter Wright v Simon Whitlock
Daryl Gurney v Michael Smith
Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
May 10, The 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
Play-Offs – May 17
The O2, London
All image sources from PA Images