Premier League Darts: Van Gerwen vulnerable after Rotterdam wobble
Well, well, well Premier League Darts fans – we finally have ourselves a contest after a stunning two nights of upsets in the Netherlands.
The electric atmosphere in the Rotterdam Ahoy clearly had the desired effect on several players in a week where the form book was turned on his head.
It was an unhappy trip home for current league leader Michael van Gerwen as the Dutchman surprisingly wilted under the pressure as he slipped to consecutive defeats against old rival Raymond Van Barneveld and a revitalised Peter Wright.
Both Barney and Wright have endured lacklustre Premier League Darts campaigns, but the change of scenery clearly put a spring in the step of both players. The pair added four and three points to their respective tallies and restored some much-needed momentum to their faltering campaigns. Barney will be hoping to make it a hat-trick of wins up against Rob Cross on Thursday night.
The surprise upturn in form for Barney and Wright had major ramifications for Aussie veteran Simon Whitlock. After a blistering start to the competition, the Wizard has suffered an alarming slide and now finds himself marooned at the bottom of the table.
Whitlock showed plenty of determination in a battling display against Barney in Rotterdam but struggled against a fiercely partisan crowd, eventually succumbing 7-3. That experience clearly drained him, with Daryl Gurney comfortable seeing him off on the second night of action.
Gurney appears to have the wind in his sails with a play off place in his sights and will surely smell blood against MVG in Manchester in the evening’s second game now the reigning champion has shown a chink in his armour.
That game is preceded by a fascinating clash between the improving Wright and Michael Smith, who experienced a mixed bag on Dutch soil, tripping up against Gary Anderson before comfortably dispatching Whitlock.
The form player in this competition is now very much Anderson who has leapt into second place in the table after two resounding victories in Rotterdam. The Flying Scotsman will surely fancy his chances of edging closer to, or even toppling, MVG in Manchester.
The Manchester Arena, April 26
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
Key stats from Rotterdam
Highest 3 Dart Average: Gary Anderson – 109.91 (Wed)
Highest checkout: Gary Anderson – 170 (Thu)
Most 180s: Daryl Gurney, Gary Anderson & Rob Cross – 7 (Wed + Thu)
Total 180s: 27 (Wed), 32 (Thu)
|1||Michael van Gerwen||12||9||0||3||34||18|
|6||Raymond van Barneveld||13||5||2||6||-12||12|
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
May 17, Play-Offs
The O2, London
All image sources from PA Images