Week 13 of Premier League Darts could be pivotal. Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson have already secured their places in the semi finals, while Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis are in pole position to claim the remaining two spots. James Wade and Simon Whitlock also harbour hopes of reaching postseason play but face crucial do or die matches tonight.
Simon Whitlock sits one point behind fourth place Lewis after a disappointing 8-5 loss to Jackpot last week, but faces the dejected Mark Webster in Bournemouth. The match is crucial for Whitlock, who faces the in-form Taylor in the final week. Webster has now lost eight in a row and suffered an 8-2 defeat to Whitlock in week 7. Whitlock’s form has also suffered in recent weeks, with the Australian suffering on his doubles and losing to Wade, Anderson and Lewis to dilute his previously strong position in the standings. Webster is due an impressive performance, but Whitlock should win relatively comfortably to keep his semi final hopes alive.
Raymond van Barneveld can confirm his semi final place if he draws with Gary Anderson in the night’s second match. Anderson was in sensational form before last week’s 8-3 capitulation against Phil Taylor, winning four on the bounce and breaking records along the way. The Flying Scotsman also averaged a sensational 133 in a UK Open qualifier at the weekend, which would have smashed Phil Taylor’s 118 world record if it had been televised. Barney has shown glimpses of his former self in the Premier League this season, but his mental frailties have also been evident. Barneveld is one of the smoothest dart throwers in the world and should gain the one point he needs to quality in the final two weeks, but Anderson’s high scoring could make the Dutchman wait one more week.
Terry Jenkins has struggled to raise his performances above average during the Premier League, but the Bull still holds an outside, if unlikely, chance of making the semi finals. Jenkins must beat Lewis and Wade and hope other results go his way. Lewis, conversely, has his destiny in his own hands. The Premier League seemed to be drifting away from the world champion after he lost three straight matches to Wade, Barneveld and Taylor. Jackpot, however, recovered last week to secure an impressive 8-5 victory over Whitlock. Jenkins, as always, will be competitive, but with a playoff position on the horizon and the ability to regularly score highly, Lewis should narrowly defeat the Bull.
The odds are stacked against James Wade as he faces Phil Taylor in the final match of the night. Wade was last in the table at the midway stage but has reversed his fortunes with a series of impressive performances. Wade, however, might regret drawing with Barneveld last week in a match he should have won. The Machine is tied with Lewis on 11 points in the standings, but has a far inferior leg difference. Wade will likely need to beat both Taylor and Jenkins in the final weeks to keep his hopes alive.
Wade has beaten The Power twice in Premier League history, but his hopes of beating the in-form Taylor seem remote. Taylor has won eleven in a row and has been hitting averages of 107 regularly in the Premier League, while Wade’s success on doubles has been too slack to compete with that rate of scoring. Wade has the talent to overcome Taylor, but tonight’s task could be a bridge too far for the Machine.
Simon Whitlock vs Mark Webster: 8-4
Gary Anderson vs Raymond van Barneveld: 8-6
Terry Jenkins vs Adrian Lewis: 5-8
James Wade vs Phil Taylor: 6-8