MICHAEL VAN GERWEN and Raymond van Barneveld put a foot into the Betway Premier League Darts Play-Offs with victories over Dave Chisnall and Adrian Lewis in Manchester on Thursday, as Robert Thornton’s top four hopes were ended.
Reigning Premier League champion van Gerwen claimed his ninth win of this season as he swept to a 7-4 win over Dave Chisnall at the Phones 4u Arena.
The Dutchman had found himself 3-2 and 4-3 down, before winning four successive legs to pre-empt Friday’s 25th birthday with a victory to all but secure his Play-Off place.
The World Champion would need to lose his remaining three games to possibly drop out of the top four, and said: “I’m very happy with this win.
“I didn’t play my best game and neither did Dave, but it was an exciting one and I managed to get the job done. Another win takes the pressure off me and I’m really pleased – but I want to keep this up now and stay at the top of the table.”
Five-time World Champion van Barneveld, meanwhile, remains a point behind his fellow Dutchman after he enjoyed a 7-3 win over Adrian Lewis, who has now lost four successive games to slip four points away from the top four.
Van Barneveld averaged 104 in a dominant performance, which included an 11-darter to seal victory and extend his unbeaten run to 11 matches.
“I’m really pleased to have won tonight,” said van Barneveld. “Every week you have to be focused and concentrate so hard because this event is awesome and every player is fantastic.
“This looks like a comfortable win but it wasn’t, even though Adrian didn’t play his best darts. I’m happy with my game at the moment and to be on 19 points, I feel like I’ll be in the Play-Offs now.
“It’s a big achievement to make sure I’m in the top four, but I don’t want to relax and I want to stay at my best in the next few weeks.”
Peter Wright ended his three-game losing run with a 7-5 win over Robert Thornton in the night’s opening game, as he consolidated third place in the league table.
Thornton hit seven 180s in the game, but crucial misses at tops throughout cost him dear after taking out finishes of 137 and 117 to lead 2-1 early on.
Wright took out 121 in a run of three legs as he moved 4-2 up, and crucially finished 71 on the bull to lead 5-4 before Thornton hit back on double ten to level and send the game into a decisive final two legs.
Wright hit a 180 and double ten to break throw and secure at least a point in the 11th leg, and when Thornton missed two darts to claim a draw, Wright posted double eight for a win which consolidates his top-four spot as well as ending his opponent’s Play-Off chances.
“I’ve not been on my game for the last couple of weeks so I knew I needed a win out of that, and a couple of good legs proved the difference,” said Wright.
“I’ve changed back to my old, old darts – that I was using last year – and they did the trick because I wasn’t consistent enough. My scoring was better tonight and I finished well too, and that was the key.
“This was a good win and hopefully with another week’s practice I can improve again for the last three games.”
Wright now sits a point above Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson, who are locked on 14 points following the league night in Manchester.
The pair drew their league game in Manchester, as Anderson hit back from 3-1 and 5-4 down to claim a point, before the 2011 champion also shared the spoils with Thornton in their second match of the night.
“It’s not a bad night for me and I see that as two points gained,” admitted Anderson. “In the second game, against Robert, I made a mess of it and gifted him a point.
“I felt like I threw the win away but the table’s still wide open and I’m neck and neck with Phil and hot on Peter’s heels, so it’s set up nicely for the last few weeks.”
Taylor, meanwhile, had followed his German Darts Masters victory over the Easter weekend in Germany with a point to extend his unbeaten run to seven matches.
“Gary put me under pressure and kept hitting back after I got in front,” said Taylor. “My focus is getting into the Play-Offs and this is another point towards that, so I’m happy.
“Next week I play twice so it’s make or break for me, but I’m excited and looking forward to it.”
The visit to The NIA in Birmingham next Thursday sees Taylor compete twice on the night, as he faces old rival Raymond van Barneveld before meeting Dave Chisnall later in the evening.
Chisnall also takes on Thornton, while van Gerwen plays Anderson and Lewis faces Wright. Tickets are still available by calling 0844 338 8000 or online throughwww.theticketfactory.com.
Betway Premier League Darts
April 24, Phones 4u Arena, Manchester
Robert Thornton 5-7 Peter Wright
Gary Anderson 6-6 Phil Taylor
Raymond van Barneveld 7-3 Adrian Lewis
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 6-6 Robert Thornton
All games the best of 12 legs
Robert Thornton v Peter Wright
1-0 – Thornton lands a 180 with his second visit before taking out 137 to claim the opening leg in style.
1-1 – Thornton opens the second leg with a maximum, but Wright gets off the mark by finishing double 16 for a 14-darter.
2-1 – Wright misses the bull for a 167 finish, and Thornton takes out 117 on tops to move back ahead.
2-2 – Wright scores 174 and 180 in the leg, which gave him enough cushion to miss darts at doubles in two visits before returning to level.
2-3 – Thornton misses two darts at tops, and Wright steps in to break by landing double 19 for a 98 finish.
2-4 – Thornton hits two 180s to leave 81 after nine darts – but he can only watch on as Wright takes out 121 on double 14 for a 12-darter to move two legs clear.
3-4 – Thornton adds another maximum before taking out 67 to hit back.
4-4 – The former UK Open champion lands a seventh 180 of the game, as tops sees him break to level.
4-5 – Thornton scores three 140s to be first to a finish, but misses a trio of darts at tops as Wright takes out 71 on the bull to break back.
5-5 – Thornton lands double ten to claim another break as he squares the contest.
5-6 – Wright lands a 180, and breaks on double ten to secure a minimum of a point from the game.
5-7 – Wright misses two match darts on double 16, but Thornton’s agony on tops continues as he misses two darts to claim a draw, allowing Wright back in on double eight to secure both points and end his three-game losing run.
Gary Anderson v Phil Taylor
1-0 – Anderson scores 140, 180 and 99 before taking out 82 with a bullseye, double 16 combination for an 11-darter to open the game.
1-1 – Taylor lands a maximum and finishes double eight to level the game.
1-2 – Taylor hits a 180 to leave 63 and then takes out the finish to break throw – after Anderson burst his score on 169!
1-3 – Double four moves Taylor two legs clear.
2-3 – Taylor scores 180, 140 and 165 to leave 16 after nine darts, but misses double eight, four and two to allow Anderson in to slot home tops to hit back.
3-3 – Anderson finishes 57 on double ten to break back and level.
4-3 – Taylor amazingly bursts his score on 129 – finishing 139 with treble 19, bullseye and double 16! – before being unable to take out the correct combination when he returned, allowing the Scot in on double ten to regain the lead.
4-4 – Taylor this time takes out the correct combination on 121 as he levels the game.
4-5 – Taylor hits a 180 to leave 45 after nine darts, and when Anderson misses double 15 to take out 150, the Stoke legend finishes double 16 for an 11-dart finish to break.
5-5 – Tops sees Anderson level the contest.
6-5 – Anderson posts his second 180 of the game before taking out 80 on tops to claim a point from the game.
6-6 – Taylor finishes 71 on tops to snatch a draw.
Raymond van Barneveld v Adrian Lewis
1-0 – van Barneveld lands a nerve-settling 180 before posting double 18 to win the opening leg.
1-1 – Lewis replies with a maximum and levels on double 16.
2-1 – van Barneveld posts a 170 score in being first to a finish, before moving back ahead.
3-1 – Lewis misses tops for a 110 finish, and the Dutchman breaks on double 16.
4-1 – van Barneveld moves three legs clear by finishing 36.
4-2 – Lewis takes out tops to hit back.
5-2 – van Barneveld initially misses four darts to win the leg, but Lewis is unable to post tops to hit back as the Dutchman returns on double two.
5-3 – Lewis is unable to post double ten, but returns to win the leg with a third-dart double five.
6-3 – van Barneveld secures a point on tops to ensure he will extend his unbeaten run to 11 games.
7-3 – van Barneveld opens with two 180s, and though he is unable to complete a nine-darter the Dutchman returns to seal victory in 11 darts on double 16, ending with a 104 average.
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall
0-1 – van Gerwen misses tops for a 120 finish to allow Chisnall to break throw on double ten, having earlier landed a 180.
1-1 – The reigning champion takes out 91 on the bull to break.
2-1 – Double 16 sees van Gerwen move ahead.
2-2 – Chisnall levels on double eight.
2-3 – Chisnall breaks again, taking out 80 to punish three misses from his opponent.
3-3 – van Gerwen finishes 65 on tops to level.
3-4 – Chisnal posts a 180 and then takes out 118 to break throw.
4-4 – Double five, with his third dart, sees van Gerwen level.
5-4 – Chisnall misses two darts at double to break throw, and van Gerwen atones for his earlier misses at double 18 and nine by finishing double four.
6-4 – Chisnall this time misses double 16 to take out 108, and van Gerwen capitalises by taking out 87 on double 18.
7-4 – van Gerwen is first to a finish as he initially misses his chance to wrap up the points, with Chisnall hitting a 180 to leave 36 before the Dutch star posts a superb final-dart double two to complete the win.
Gary Anderson v Robert Thornton
1-0 – Anderson takes out 108 to win the opening leg.
2-0 – The 2011 champion’s flying start continues with double top to break.
3-0 – Anderson lands tops to maintain his flawless start on the doubles.
3-1 – Thornton takes out 93 on double 16 to hit back.
3-2 – Thornton finishes 78 in two darts to break.
3-3 – The 2012 UK Open champion hits a 180 and double 16 to level the game.
4-3 – Tops sees Anderson move back ahead with another first-dart double.
4-4 – Anderson misses two darts, at double top and ten, to allow Thornton back in as he lands double four with his third dart.
5-4 – Anderson hits his first maximum before landing double four to move back in front.
5-5 – Anderson misses two darts at tops to allow Thornton back in to level.
6-5 – Thornton lands a fifth 180, but four missed doubles again come back to haunt him as Anderson takes out 80 to secure a point.
6-6 – Thornton posts another 180, and lands double eight to snatch a draw.