Northern Irish native Daryl Gurney was the man of the moment at The SSE Arena in Belfast as ‘SuperChin’ delivered an outstanding performance to defeat world champion Rob Cross in front of a partisan home crowd willing him on.
In a hugely entertaining night full of quality matches, Gary Anderson also defeated Mensur Suljovic in a wonderful opener, Michael van Gerwen consolidated his position at the top of the table with a hugely impressive win over Dutch rival Raymond van Barneveld while Michael Smith reeled off five consecutive legs in ensuring elimination for Gerwyn Price come Judgement Night in Liverpool next week.
Mensur Suljovic 5-7 Gary Anderson
In a wonderful opener, Mensur Suljovic and Gary Anderson fought a back and forth contest high on tension in front of a highly energetic crowd that got really into the match.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ made a good start, racing into a 2-0 lead before Suljovic registered his first leg with a 77 checkout on tops. The Austrian then wasted a golden opportunity to level at 2-2 in leg four with four missed doubles, something Anderson took advantage of.
The game, topsy turvy for the most part, took a decisive turn in leg seven when Anderson stopped his relative dip in form with two straight legs, taking out 237 in five darts and a 124 checkout on bull to take a 5-3 lead.
From here, despite constantly nipping away at the Scot’s advantage, Suljovic could not erase the advantage Anderson had earned earlier in the game and D9 sealed it for the two time world champion.
Michael Smith 7 – 2 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith bounced back from last week’s defeat at the hands of table-topping Michael van Gerwen by demolishing Gerwyn Price to seal the Welshman’s elimination from the competition come Judgement Night in Liverpool next week.
An encouraging start from Price kicked the match off with ‘The Iceman’ taking the opening leg albeit Price really should have made it 2-0 in leg two as he missed two double attempts which was pounced upon by a lovely 180 followed by an 82 checkout.
Six missed darts at double came in an immensely nervy third leg which Smith won before Price bounced back in the following leg.
Things were never to pick up from there for Price though as Smith claimed five consecutive to run away with the match. As clinically as ever, ‘Bully Boy’ cleanly dealt with tops as his favoured double while a fantastic 160 checkout in leg seven proved the standout moment of the match.
Raymond van Barneveld 2-7 Michael van Gerwen
Table-topping Michael van Gerwen defeated Dutch rival Raymond van Barneveld with his trademark acceleration up the gears, impressively out-doubling and outscoring his compatriot.
Barney started well, winning two of the opening three legs before van Gerwen beautifully squeezed his final dart in hand into bullseye for a 132 checkout in leg four.
The crucial turning point in the match proved to be leg five where the first break of the match was obtained by MvG. Van Barneveld had chances, five of them for the leg, but missed all of them in a theme that continued as the match went on.
Barney, with 20 per cent on the doubles, could not turn any opportunities into legs and ‘Mighty Mike’, as he powered through the gears, gave his opponent no let up.
In the end, van Gerwen sealed the win with his sixth consecutive leg in a strong performance illustrated by his 104 average. Doubles though, ultimately proved the great disparity between the pair.
Daryl Gurney 7-5 Rob Cross
Northern Irish native Daryl Gurney was he man of the night as he earned a superb victory over Rob Cross in a game of wonderfully high quality that engrossed the crowd at The SSE Arena.
It was the world champion who started the better, as both players hit maximums in their opening turns to the delight of the packed Belfast crowd. Cross won three of the opening four legs through clinical checkouts on 84 and 82.
Cross continued to consolidate his lead at 4-2 when capitalising on missed doubles from Gurney however ‘SuperChin’ managed to turn things around mid-match.
Crucially, with Cross well placed on 44 after hitting a well-timed 180, Gurney took out a 119 checkout brilliantly under big pressure to lead for the first time at 5-4 ahead. Cross responded like the champion he is with an 11-dart leg but this still proved to be in vein.
Gurney secured his survival ahead of Judgement Night next week in leg eleven before hitting further 180s, something he did superbly in the match and has done all campaign, to seal victory by seven legs to five.
Simon Whitlock 6-6 Peter Wright
In the night’s final match, Peter Wright snatched a point from 6-3 behind.
The opening four legs were shared with four consecutive holds of throw before Whitlock nudged ahead with a lovely 116 checkout in leg five.
Leg six looked like it would prove the turning point in the match as the first break was achieved by the Australian but he could not fashion the lead into victory. ‘The Wizard’ made the cardinal sin of busting on a double in leg seven scuppering his chances of a three-leg advantage, something ‘Snakebite’ was able to capitalise on.
Still, Whitlock broke in leg eight and then nailed a 124 checkout on the bull to guarantee a point. However, missed match darts would haunt the Aussie in leg eleven as Wright would hit a 120 checkout to force a deciding leg that he would emerge with a point from.