WRIGHT LEAVES TAYLOR POINTLESS AS VAN GERWEN STAYS PERFECT
Peter Wright secured a first ever win over Phil Taylor to leave the searching for his first win three weeks into the Premier League Darts season, with Michael van Gerwen top of the pile with a 100 per cent record.
The six-time Premier League champion remains pointless after a third defeat as Wright turned The Power out at the 11th attempt with a 7-4 win.
While Taylor’s woe grabbed the headlines, Snakebite’s fine start to his debut season in the Premier League continued, still unbeaten after his first three games with five points in the bank and the Scot was thrilled to claim a win over the Stoke legend.
“I’m really over the moon with that result,” said Wright. “To finally beat Phil is another big step for me and to do it on such a big stage is amazing. I expected him to come out all guns blazing but he never caught fire and I never felt threatened. He is still sleeping so someone else can bump into him when he wakes up, I’m happy for that to happen to one of the others.”
Van Gerwen’s title defence looks in fine health after he saw off a spirited challenge from Dave Chisnall. The defending champion raced into a 3-1 lead against the Premier League newcomer but Chisnall snapped back to level at three apiece. The Dutchman was not to be denied though and fired in nine 140s in the remaining five legs to claim a 7-4 win that pleased the World champion, who attributed his win to his fine Dutch Darts Masters triumph in Veldhoven on Sunday.
“I’ve had a fantastic start,” said Van Gerwen. “I’m very consistent at the moment and I am relishing every game match, every challenge and every tournament. Beating Mervyn King in the final on Sunday was a very big moment for me, it’s the biggest victory I’ve had at home since joining the PDC, and that’s very important on a personal level.”
Van Gerwen faces fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld at the Hydro in Glasgow next Thursday night, and that clash looks set to steal the show in Scotland as the five-time World champion matched Van Gerwen’s 7-4 scoreline against Simon Whitlock. The pair were locked at 4-4 after the Australian fought back from 4-1, and Van Barneveld says the way he claimed three straight legs to take the two points is a sign that he will take the fight to Van Gerwen in week four.
“At 4-4 I just said to myself ‘relax and win your throw’,” said Van Barneveld. “I did that, broke him and held throw again – that’s the key to winning when you aren’t quite at your best, you click at the right times – it could be an important two points at the end.”
Performance of the night belonged to Robert Thornton, who fired in eight 180s in a devastating 7-2 win against fellow Scotsman Gary Anderson.
Thornton was searching for his first points of the season after being on the receiving end of two 7-5 defeats in the opening weekends, and he roared into a 3-0 lead. Anderson clawed back to within a leg, but The Thorn moved into overdrive to rattle off four straight legs with an average of 105.21. Thornton likened his win to that in the World championships where illness forced him to throw his darts at speed in his 4-0 win over Beau Anderson to reach the quarter-finals.
“I’m very happy to play like that tonight,” said Thornton. “It was just a case of finding my rhythm and I played that little bit quicker tonight like I did at Alexandra Palace and that really worked for me.
“I kicked off every leg with a treble figure score and that’s massive, you put pressure on any player out there with scoring like that.”
It was the same scoreline for Wes Newton as he stopped Adrian Lewis from winning three from three with a dogged display. Newton was 3-2 up after five legs but crucially won legs with Lewis ready to come back to take out 40 twice and 60, and Newton met his second win with relief.
“It wasn’t the greatest game from either of us, but a win is a win,” said Newton. “I felt good at times up there and it’s always a nice scalp to have. Adrian was nowhere near his best, but I can’t do anything about that. I wasn’t at my best either, I threw some sloppy darts myself and I can play better than that as well, but I got the points.
“You expect a tidal wave of scoring from Adrian but it didn’t come, his middle game wasn’t great but he left himself handy on doubles more than once but I kept my composure and closed the door, which is very satisfying.”
The fourth week of the Betway Premier League Darts takes place at The Hydro in Glasgow, with Dutch duo Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld the pick of the line-up. The action begins with the first of the three Scotsmen in the line-up, Wright, tackling Lewis before Thornton looks to build on his brilliant display in Belfast against Newton. Taylor and Whitlock meet in a basement battle with both players desperate for their first win and Anderson brings the curtain down on the evening against Chisnall. For tickets, call 0844 395 4000 or visitwww.thehydro.com.
Betway Premier League Darts
February 20, Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Robert Thornton 7-2 Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall 4-7 Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright 7-4 Phil Taylor
Wes Newton 7-2 Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld 7-4 Simon Whitlock
Robert Thornton v Gary Anderson
1-0 Thornton kicks off with a 180 and seals the first leg with tops at the second attempt.
2-0 Thornton starts with a maximum once again and fires a second 180 in the leg on his third visit, taking out 41 in a 12-dart break of throw.
3-0 Robert races 3-0 ahead with consecutive 12-dart legs.
3-1 A fourth 180 from Thornton who has a chance to pinch the leg when Anderson misses two darts for the leg, but Robert lets him back in with a miss of his own and Anderson is on the board.
3-2 Anderson is desperate for a break – and he gets it with double 14 for a 121 checkout
4-2 A sixth 180 for Thornton and he breaks the Anderson throw, hitting the bull on an 84 checkout.
5-2 Number seven for an on-fire Thornton who misses double 14 for the leg. Anderson hits his first 180, Thornton fluffs his lines but Gary misses three at tops and Thornton opens up a three leg lead.
6-2 Maximum number eight for Thornton and another bull finish secures at least a point for The Thorn.
7-2 Thornton wraps up his first win of the 2014 Betway Premier League with room to spare, eight maximums and an average of 105.21.
Dave Chisnall v Michael van Gerwen
1-0 Chisnall kicks off with a 180 and lands the opening leg with an 81 checkout
1-1 Van Gerwen starts with his first maximum, Chisnall fires back with his second and finds another, but Van Gerwen is on the board with his third dart at tops.
1-2 MVG’s third 180 it the key as he breaks the Chisnall throw
1-3 Chisnall leaves tops handy but MVG hits double five at the first attempt to open a gap
2-3 Two 180s in the leg for Chisnall – fourth and fifth – of the night, and he takes out 98 in two darts.
3-3 MVG misses tops for 4-2 and Chisnall nails double 12 to level matters
3-4 MVG needs a treble but leaves 156 – Chisnall is left on 146, can’t take it out though and Van Gerwen takes double eight for the leg.
3-5 – Van Gerwen opens the door for Chisnall but he cannot take advantage, and it’s double four for a two-leg lead.
4-5 – Chizzy hits 25 and nails double 18 to close the gap.
4-6 – 15-dart leg secures a point at least for the reigning World and Premier League champion.
4-7 – It’s a clinical 93 checkout from MVG who makes it three wins from three.
Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
1-0 Wright misses double 16 for the first leg, but Taylor cannot pressure him and he returns to clean-up.
1-1 Taylor levels right away with an 86 check out at the second attempt on the double.
2-1 Wright could go for the bull for another leg but leaves 32 with Taylor not on a finish and he takes it out with his first dart
2-2 Taylor kicks-off with 46 and Wright senses a chance to capitalise, starting with 100 and 134. Taylor rallies with the first 180 of the match to leave 92, Wright leaves 70 but The Power levels.
3-2 Six perfect darts from Wright, there’s a 180 from Taylor, Wright hits the seventh treble but is wild with his next dart. Snakebite leaves double 16 again though and it’s a ten-dart leg.
4-2 First real chance of a break falls to Wright, he needs 81, but he fluffs his line, Taylor back for 55, misses double 10 and Wright misses tops but lands double ten to break.
5-2 Peter is clinical in the seventh leg, 12 darts to get to 35, but he misses two darts for the leg. Taylor is left with 124, misses the bull for the leg and double eight is no problem for Wright.
5-3 Leg eight is all Taylor, leaving double 16 from 12 darts, hitting it with the second dart
6-3 Both men take their foot off the gas, but it’s Wright who wraps up a point with double 16
6-4 Taylor opens the door for Wright but it’s a slack visit, Taylor pounces to leave 52, but hits five going for tops. Wright is on 107, can’t make an impression and double 16 pulls The Power to within two.
7-4 Consistent stuff from Wright, who has six darts from 140 – an even ton leaves tops with Taylor on 168, he leaves 32, but Wright hits tops and claims another win.
Wes Newton v Adrian Lewis
1-0 Wes starts his hunt for back-to-back wins with a solid hold of throw in the opening leg
2-0 Newton can claim an early break on 78 – and does with double 12
3-0 A maximum for Newton and he has six darts at 139. He leaves 80 but Adrian doesn’t leave a shot from 205, Newton misses one at tops, but comes back and tidies up for three-zip.
3-1 Adrian fires his first max, but Newton responds in kind. Lewis has two more 60s then a cruel bounce out for a third. Lewis misses two darts at tops but returns for double ten and his first leg.
3-2 Lewis is lurking on double 12, and the pressure tells as Newton misses two at tops and Adrian breaks
4-2 Newton misses double eight for a 12 darter, but Lewis is way back on 175 and Wes restores his two-leg cushion
5-2 Newton misses the bull for the leg, but Lewis can’t capitalise and Wes stretches his lead.
6-2 Lewis is left with tops but Newton breaks him to land a point with his third straight leg
7-2 Lewis again leaves tops handy but Newton closes the game clinically
Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock
1-0 Van Barneveld misses two darts for the leg but then Whitlock misses one at tops, and Barney hits double one to take the first leg.
1-1 Whitlock misses tops for a 12-dart leg but Barney is not in touching distance and Whitlock hits double five at the second attempt to level.
2-1 RvB on 103 – misses the big 13 though and leaves 32. Whitlock cannot make an impression though and it’s just one-dart for Barney to pull ahead.
3-1 The treble is illusive for Whitlock and Barney has six from 182 – a 140 is handy with Simon left with 100, but he misses double 16 and double eight, but Whitlock only scores 40 and RvB breaks.
4-1 A max from Whitlock is not enough to trouble the Dutchman, who takes out 44 to pull away from Simon.
4-2 Another 180 from the Australian leaves a ton, and he makes it with double ten.
4-3 Right on cue Barney finds a 180 when Whitlock was threatening, Barney leaves 71 but misses big 18 – Simon needs 62 to break, and makes it
4-4 A 162 from Whitlock shows he’s in the groove, that leaves 140, which he slices a ton off of and comes back to polish off tops and level with three straight legs.
5-4 Barney stops the rot with a 98 checkout to edge back in front
6-4 A visit of 25 is the chance Barney needs, he fires a 145 to leave 160 and has six darts to break the throw. RvB leaves 60, as does Simon, and Raymond crucially takes out tops with his second dart.
7-4 Simon leaves 167 – but a 180 leaves tops for Barney, and the Dutchman nails it to claim another win