2018 Unibet Premier League – Night Eleven Round-Up

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Peter Wright made it a Premier League double over Michael van Gerwen with a thrilling 7-5 victory at the Rotterdam Ahoy to ruin the world number one’s homecoming. However, Raymond van Barneveld enjoyed a much better opening night to the Dutch double header this week as he defeated Simon Whitlock 7-5, spurred on by a partisan home support.

Elsewhere, Gary Anderson had a wonderful night, winning both of his matches while Rob Cross won one of his two matches in Rotterdam.

Michael Smith 2-7 Gary Anderson

Two-time world champion Gary Anderson started the night with a wonderful showing to comprehensively defeat in-form Premier League star Michael Smith.

The Scot got off to the quickest possible start with a 15-dart break in leg one before holding with a 62 checkout in the following leg.

Despite Smith pulling a clutch D10 out to win leg three, Anderson continued in a relentless vein, hitting almost all of his doubles while smashing the big treble beds into submission.

Three more legs consecutively fell the way of ‘The Flying Scotsman’ as Anderson’s power scoring proved all too much for ‘Bully Boy’. Averaging 109, the Scottish thrower finally powered to victory, by seven legs to two, with a magnificent 138 checkout using T20, T20 and D9.

 

Rob Cross 7-4 Daryl Gurney

Rob Cross did the damage early in his contest with Daryl Gurney before surviving a spirited comeback from the Northern Irishman to earn victory.

In a highly clinical display, the reigning world champion moved into a 5-0 lead after a combination of ton plus finishes and capitalisations on double misses from his opponent.

It looked as if a whitewash was on the cards as Gurney’s head seemed to drop, affected by wiring a 170 checkout on the bull before seeing Cross take advantage with a 107 checkout in leg three.

Gurney, though, responded by winning four of the next five legs to pile the pressure back on Cross at 6-4 behind. Cross began to miss doubles as ‘SuperChin’ continued to chip away at ‘Voltage’, refusing to submit.

Even as the match came to a conclusion in leg eleven Gurney missed a dart at bull to take the game into a final leg decider. Cross, though, finally wrapped up the match with D12 to move into second in the standings.

 

Raymond van Barneveld 7-3 Simon Whitlock

The fanatical Dutch crowd inside the Rotterdam Ahoy spurred Barney onto a solid performance in victory over Simon Whitlock on night one of this week’s darts double header.

Averaging 100.96 and with four 180s, van Barneveld proved too much to handle despite Whitlock fighting bravely against his opponent and the 10,000 strong crowd.

RvB started well with a 14-dart hold in leg one before hitting doubles with his first dart in the next two legs to take a 3-0 lead.

Whitlock did well to respond with leg four on D7 amid strong jeers from the crowd but he was powerless a few legs later as van Barneveld romped to leg seven, wiring a 160 checkout before finishing off with tops.

Despite winning another leg, ‘The Wizard’ could not gather any meaningful momentum and van Barneveld finished a solid victory off with a T18, D18 combination for a 90 checkout.

Peter Wright 7-5 Michael van Gerwen

By far the night’s best, most engaging match came in the meeting of the world’s top two though as Peter Wright sensationally beat Michael van Gerwen to register a Premier League double over the defending Premier League champion.

Despite being outscored throughout the match, ‘Snakebite’ was extremely efficient on his doubling and his timing was superb in taking advantage of any slight error from his Dutch opponent.

Wright silenced the crowd from the off as took a 3-1 lead, crucially putting MvG on the backfoot early with a break in leg four thanks to a cool, calm and collected 98 finish.

Two out of the next three legs also went the way of the Scot as Wright continued his clinical doubling, not missing a double in the opening seven legs.

The insanely high standard of the match was emphasised by the fact that, in winning leg eight, van Gerwen’s average reached 110 and he was still losing by five legs to three!

The comeback continued from the Dutchman the very next leg as he went double double to complete a 94 finish before hitting a spectacular 148 checkout to level the scores at five apiece.

With two legs to go Wright grabbed the initiative with a gutsy D4 under pressure before sealing a spectacular win over a very game MvG in the world number one’s own backyard with D12.

 

Rob Cross 3-7 Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson firmly consolidated his position in the top four with a second win on the night, averaging just shy of 100 in a solid victory over Rob Cross.

Cross kicked off the match in spectacular style, hitting a 144 checkout, but he was immediately checked back by a 14-dart hold from ‘The Flying Scotsman’. The next two legs were also shared before Anderson accelerated away in great fashion.

Five consecutive legs went the way of the Scot as he rallied from 2-1 behind into a 6-2 lead. Three ton-plus checkouts provided the backbone of this assault while Anderson came within a matter of millimetres of hitting the first nine-darter of the campaign, wiring D12 in leg eight.

Cross was able to curtail Anderson’s run of legs with a 63 checkout in leg nine however this would prove to be his last leg won as the Scottish thrower capitalised on missed darts from the world champion in leg ten to win with a 56 finish.