Premier League Darts Playoff Review

By
Updated: May 20, 2011

Gary “The Flying Scotsman” Anderson produced an impressive performance to blow away Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis in the final of the Premier League darts Thursday night. Earlier in the night Lewis had shocked the darting world by comfortably defeating Phil “The Power” Taylor 8-3, while Anderson won a thrilling 8-6 encounter with Raymond van Barneveld.

The final was a repeat of the World Championship final in January, which Lewis won 6-4 in sets. Lewis was in inspired form on that occasion, throwing the first ever nine darter in a World Championship final. Last night, however, Anderson began strongly and Lewis struggled to gain any momentum.

Anderson broke Lewis in the first leg. After throwing seven 180s in his semi final with Barneveld, Anderson started the final with similar gusto, throwing a maximum almost immediately. Lewis lagged behind in the leg, which allowed Anderson to lay up on a 164 outshot rather than go for the bull. The Scotsman hit double 20 on his first attempt to take an early lead. Anderson then took out 121 in the second leg, hitting the bull to secure a 2-0 lead.

Lewis’ lethargy continued in the following leg. Anderson was able to miss three attempts at a double and still win the leg comfortably, which gave The Flying Scotsman an ominous two break lead.

After slipping to a 4-0 deficit, Lewis showed some grit. He hit a 180 and almost took out a 164 outshot en route to winning his first leg of the night. Anderson, however, took out 101 in the sixth leg to lead 5-1 at the interval.

Lewis needed to regroup during the break, but the Scotsman’ sensational form continued. Anderson rushed into another big lead, while Lewis was unlucky to narrowly miss the bull on a 164 out shot. The Scot hit a double 8 to break for the third time in four attempts. Anderson missed doubles in the following three legs, but Lewis was too far behind to take advantage. A 131 out shot was his only opportunity to break Anderson’s dominance, but he narrowly missed on the double.

Lewis pulled the score back to 9-2 in the 11th leg, before Anderson attempted to seal a sensational victory with two double 20s in the 12th. The Scot showed nerves as he missed four opportunities to finish off Jackpot. Lewis hit double five to pull the deficit back to 9-3 at the second interval.

Lewis needed a miracle to beat Anderson, however, and the match was over within two legs. Anderson missed nine match points before finally securing a 10-4 victory with a composed double 10.

After sweeping away Taylor in the first semi final, Lewis’ final performance was surprisingly subdued and abject. Anderson, however, deserves all the plaudits.
The Scot scored powerfully throughout the night, hitting eleven 180s over the two matches. Anderson, despite some glaring misses, was also more consistent on his doubles. The Scot has been one of the bright sparks of this year’s Premier League and thoroughly deserved to win his first major.

Lewis vs Taylor

The shock of the night undoubtedly came in the first semi final as Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis put Phil “The Power” Taylor to the sword. The loss was only Taylor’s 7th in 104 Premier League matches and the difference between the two Stoke men was arguably finishing. Lewis was clinical on his doubles, while Taylor was surprisingly lax.

Taylor is the undisputed world number one, but has not been in a major final for eight months and his nerves showed. The Power surprisingly made Lewis throw first, probably hoping to force an early break and put the 25 year old under immediate pressure. The decision backfired, however, as Lewis rushed out to a 3-0 lead.

Taylor managed to break back in the 5th leg, but could not draw level before the break. In a crucial leg, Taylor got down to 142 with Lewis not on an out shot. Jackpot hit a timely 140 to leave 44, while Taylor twice failed to hit double 10. Lewis took full advantage to break again and lead 4-2 at the break.

Jackpot was sensational after the interval. Lewis hit three 100+ shots in the seventh leg to take a large lead before he hit double top to increase his lead. Taylor had an opportunity to hold his throw in the 8th but missed double 13. Lewis again took advantage to lead 6-2.

Lewis was in full flow and hit two 180s in the 9th leg en route to a 10 darter. Taylor was almost surely beaten, but The Power managed to claw the score back to 7-3 in the 10th. Taylor missed two attempts at a double in the following leg, before Lewis hit double 18 to claim a famous victory.

Although Taylor was far from his best, Lewis hit six maximums and averaged over 104 and thoroughly deserved his victory over his former mentor.

Barneveld vs Anderson

The second semi final between Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson has everything; high scoring, erratic finishing, a host of breaks and considerable drama. The match ebbed and flowed, but Anderson held out for an 8-6 victory over the Dutchman.

Barneveld had beaten Anderson twice in this year’s Premier League and finished second in the table, but still entered the match as slight underdog. Extra spice was added to the tussle after Taylor’s exit, as Barney in particular has trouble believing he can beat The Power.

Anderson got out to his patented slow start. Barney comfortably held the first leg, before both men contrived to try to lose the second. Anderson missed six darts at a double, while Barney finally won the leg at his eighth attempt.

The Flying Scotsman started producing top quality darts in the 4th leg, hitting two 180s en route to his first leg of the night. Barney hit a 13 darter to lead 4-1, but missed an opportunity to crush Anderson’s spirit before the break. The Dutchman has a shot at double eight to amass a two break lead, but his miss allowed Anderson to take the leg and reduce the deficit to 4-2.

Both players continued their prolificacy on doubles after the break, before Anderson hit double top to break back. After seven legs, Barney had already missed 15 darts at doubles, while Anderson had missed nine.

Anderson took the next two legs to make it four on the bounce. Worryingly for Barney, he could easily have won all four.

Anderson’s break of Barney in the 9th leg was the first of five in succession. Barney clinically took out double 18 before Anderson hit a brilliant 11 darter. Barneveld then raised the roof with a gutsy 137 out shot to level the score at 6-6.

The Scot was gaining momentum, however, and hit two 180s in the 14th leg to help him take a 7-6 advantage. Anderson hit double 18 in the last leg to hold and claim an 8-6 victory.

Barney played relatively well and will feel he should have made his first Premier League final. The Dutchman regularly hit timely 140s to pressure Anderson’s throw, but ultimately his poor finishing cost him.

3rd/4th Place

Taylor and Barneveld played out a largely subdued 3rd/4th place playoff. Barney lead from the start, but a strong Taylor finish helped him to an 8-6 victory.
Barney broke Taylor in the 4th leg, as Taylor’s finishing woes continued. The Power broke back with a 13 darter, but Barneveld took advantage of Taylor’s inaccuracy on his doubles to break again and lead 4-2 at the interval.

Taylor upped his game after the break and pulled level at 4-4, but Barney hit double 14 to break Taylor again to lead 6-4. Barney would not win another leg, however, as his old mental weaknesses when facing Taylor re-emerged.

The Power broke Barney in the 11th leg and held in the following one, despite an uncharacteristic 10 misses at a double. Barneveld’s lack of conviction on doubles continued and Taylor took the lead for the first time in the penultimate leg. Taylor hit double twelve in the 14th leg to claim, for him, a disappointing third place in the Premier League.

Taylor unusually lacked composure throughout the night. The Power had won 13 of his 14 Premier League matches this term and seemed set to add yet another major to his glowing resume. It will be interesting to see how Taylor and Barneveld rebound from their disappointing outings.

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