Betway Premier League – Week Fifteen Preview

Betway Premier League - Week Fifteen Preview

The Professional Darts Corporation are breaking new ground this week when they host the last league phase matches at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam.

The Dutch will be out in strength to support their own, with Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld both in action.

There were no close matches last week, with two matches ended 7-2 and the other two ending 7-1.

Fourth place is to be decided before the last match of the league will confirm who tops the table, with Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor both tied on 24 points.

James Wade vs Robert Thornton

James Wade lost 7-1 to Peter Wright last week in Manchester, a result which ended any chance he had of reaching Finals Night next week.

This means that the match is a dead rubber with nothing on the line for either player, but both will want to finish their campaign on a high.

‘The Machine’ averaged 97.29 in his loss to Wright, but uncharacteristically it was his finishing which let him down, taking only one of his 12 chances at doubles.

The 2009 champion has had a solid campaign, with the highlight being a 7-5 victory over Michael van Gerwen in Leeds.

Robert Thornton went down 7-1 to fellow Scot, Gary Anderson, last week, averaging only 90.4 against the reigning World Champion.

That kind of form just isn’t good enough against a man of Anderson’s ability, and the scoreline shows that.

Thornton has fought hard over the duration of the Premier League, and should be given a lot of credit for surviving relegation from a seemingly impossible position.

Wade has won 13 of the pairs 20 meetings, including five of the last six, so its hard to see Thornton getting much from this match.

I’m going to opt for Wade to round his campaign off with a victory.

My Pick: James Wade

Peter Wright vs Raymond van Barneveld

This is a vital match in the race for fourth place and the O2 Arena.

A win for Wright would see him sneak inside the top four, and would heap the pressure on Adrian Lewis to get a result against Gary Anderson later in the evening.

‘Snakebite’ currently sits in fifth place on 16 points, only one point off the top four, after drawing one and winning two of his last three matches, including a 7-1 drubbing of James Wade last week.

Although Wade struggled to finish, Wright’s scoring seen him over the line, averaging 99.15, including six 180’s.

This will be a tough match for the Scot, facing what will be a pumped up Raymond van Barneveld in front of his home fans.

‘Barney’ played well in defeat against Michael van Gerwen last week, averaging 100.78 with five maximums, but could only stand and watch as van Gerwen took the match 7-2.

The Dutchman could end the season joint fifth with a win here, something which didn’t seem likely only a few weeks ago.

Wright has got a result the last four times the pair have played, including a 7-5 win in Newcastle in week two of the tournament.

This match is so hard to call, but I’m going to side with Wright, who will pile the pressure onto Lewis and seal his place at the O2.

Gary Anderson vs Adrian Lewis

The importance of this match will depend on the result of the previous one, but it will be a big one in carrying momentum into the O2.

Anderson confirmed his place in the finals last week in emphatic fashion, beating Robert Thornton 7-1.

An average of 100.21 and a checkout success of 41% was good enough to get the win, and it now moves ‘The Flying Scotsman’ a step closer to defending the title he won 12 months ago.

Adrian Lewis played well below his best again last week when he went down 7-2 to Phil Taylor.

An average of 94.11, checkout percentage of 18% and not a single 180 isn’t  the form you expect of someone who is playing for a place at Finals Night, but ‘Jackpot’ has to take advantage of the situation he finds himself in.

Looking at their head to head record, it seems that Anderson gets the better of Lewis of the big stage, winning five of the seven meetings in major competitions between the two, including the 2016 World Championship Final.

The inconsistency of Lewis and the record that Anderson has against him in big matches makes me side with the Scot.

My Pick: Gary Anderson

Michael van Gerwen vs Phil Taylor

What a match this is to round off the league phase of the 2016 Betway Premier League, and what an atmosphere it will be inside the Ahoy Arena when these two take to the oche.

Taylor and van Gerwen have comfortably been the top two performers in this years tournament, and it is fitting that it comes down to the last match to decide who will finish in first position.

Van Gerwen routed his compatriot Raymond van Barneveld last week, averaging 107.93, including a stellar 167 checkout.

The Dutchman is also coming off the back of success at the weekend, winning the Gibraltar Darts Trophy, beating Dave Chisnall 6-2 in the final, averaging 103.89 and hitting five maximums.

‘Mighty Mike’ will be desperate to beat Taylor in front of the Dutch crowd, equally as much as Taylor would love to topple van Gerwen in his own backyard and take first place, and with it, the £25,000 bonus.

Taylor was just as dominant last week as MvG, brushing Adrian Lewis aside, averaging 103.72 and taking out 58% of his doubles in the process.

An interesting stat to take note of is that Taylor has only won one of the pairs last 11 meetings, with van Gerwen winning nine and a draw included when they met in Glasgow.

Couple the dominance that van Gerwen has shown, not only against Taylor but the rest of the competition he has faced, with the fact he is playing in front of a home crowd, I fancy the World Number One to get the job done and march onto the O2 as the league winner.