Premier League Darts’ Dutch excursion ended in spectacular fashion as Raymond van Barneveld defeated reigning Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen by seven legs to five in front of a raucous home crowd who were hugely in favour of Barney.
Elsewhere, Gary Anderson made it three wins out of three in the Netherlands with another superb performance in defeating Daryl Gurney 7-3 while Simon Whitlock’s hopes of reaching the O2 effectively ended with two demoralising 7-1 defeats on the night.
Simon Whitlock 1-7 Michael Smith
The first of which, came in the opening match of the night as ‘Bully Boy’ ran riot against the Aussie.
Despite winning the opening leg after Smith blew two opportunities at double, ‘The Wizard’ never appeared at the races and it showed. Seven consecutive legs came the way of Smith which included the highlights of a sensational 160 checkout in leg three and a 13-dart break in the fifth.
The in-form surprise package of the tournament, Smith rounded out the win on the bullseye.
Daryl Gurney 3-7 Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson made it three wins out of three in Rotterdam over the two nights of darting spectacle as he demolished Daryl Gurney with another amazing near 100 average performance to cement his place in the Premier League’s play-off places.
To kick off the contest, Anderson hit six perfect darts in a way reminiscent of his eight-perfect darts the night before at the Ahoy, however, this proved to be in vain as Gurney hit a 56 checkout for the leg.
Anderson’s superb recent form really came to the fore following this, though, as three consecutive legs went the way of ‘The Flying Scotsman’. In the third leg, the Scot hit an unbelievable 170 finish before capitalising on missed doubles from Gurney in the very next to make it 3-1.
Despite being comprehensively outscored, this established a trend whereby ‘SuperChin’ was not without chances however he failed to take them and was consistently immediately punished by Anderson.
After conceding a leg to Gurney, Anderson went on to take another three on the spin to lead 6-2 before he wrapped the match up in leg ten with a 180 followed by D4 in consecutive turns.
Rob Cross 6-6 Peter Wright
‘Snakebite’ Peter Wright engineered a superb escape to grab a point from 4-1 and 5-2 behind against world champion Rob Cross which keeps him still within a faint sniff of reaching the O2 in May.
‘Voltage’ was brilliant in starting quickly and racing into a 4-1 lead with checkouts of 81, 58, 97 and 88 along the way. Wright, though, began to chip away at Cross’ advantage, symbolised by his winning of a tight leg six.
Three more legs on the bounce went the way of Wright as he began to turn up the gas while Cross’ game began to fell away.
In a crucial leg eleven, with the scores at five apiece, Cross ensured himself a point but only after missing six leg darts before Wright wired 97 to steal it from under his grasp. Wright made up for this in the deciding leg to cap a fair result for both players. With averages of 96 for Cross and 92 for Wright the draw was a deserved result in the end.
Michael van Gerwen 5-7 Raymond van Barneveld
The big all-Dutch clash went the way of legend Raymond van Barneveld as he performed amazingly in defeating world number one Michael van Gerwen in front of a wild home crowd.
Van Barneveld began strongly, winning the opening two legs as van Gerwen started slowly on the doubles. ‘Mighty Mike’ responded straight away with D16 before Barney registered a clutch D9 last dart while MvG waited to pounce.
Barney continued to pile the pressure on against a rattled MvG, this despite conceding eight points in the averages to the world’s best player. Despite hitting a roof-raising 145 checkout using T19, T16 and D20, van Barneveld rattled off two more legs including hitting an excellent 81 finish on bull to secure a famous point with three legs to go.
Van Gerwen fought back with two consecutive legs to take the match to a fitting last leg decider but he was no match for RvB in it with Barney taking out 68 to condemn ‘Mighty Mike’ to two straight defeats despite averaging 107 and 104 in the matches respectively.
Daryl Gurney 7-1 Simon Whitlock
In the night’s final match, Daryl Gurney was impressive, averaging nearly 100, in destroying Simon Whitlock as the Australian suffered another 7-1 defeat on the night.
Gurney hit six perfect darts in leg two as he raced into a 2-0 advantage before then doubling it with checkouts of D10 and an unconventional 28 finish, going 11, 1 and then D8.
Despite wiring a 130 attempt in the next leg Whitlock was able to get his first leg on the board in the madhouse. This proved academic though as Gurney wrapped up the next three legs for a victory that moves him up to fifth in the standings.