The first phase of the 2020 Unibet Premier League season concludes on Thursday with Judgement Night, as Rob Cross, Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price battle to avoid elimination.
The ninth-placed player in the league table following the season’s ninth night will be eliminated from this year’s Premier League – with Gurney’s resurgence meaning that the race has gone to the wire.
The Northern Irish ace had returned from the season’s five-month break three points adrift at the foot of the table, but back-to-back wins have moved him above Cross.
2019 Premier League finalist Cross has lost to Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith since the restart, and enters his Judgement Night clash with table-topper Glen Durrant needing at least a draw to put the pressure on Gurney.
However, Cross’ leg difference of -11 could prove vital too, while Price needs just one leg from his tie with Challenger Jermaine Wattimena to ensure his place in the second half of the season – even a 7-0 loss for the Welshmean leaves Cross needing to win by the same margin.
Gurney, meanwhile, has improved his leg difference to -5 as he hits a point above Cross ahead of his meeting with World Champion Peter Wright.
“Before this week started I wanted to win my three games and then if I get eliminated then so be it,” said Gurney, following his victory over Nathan Aspinall. “I’ve won two games so it’s so far, so good.
“I hung in there and took my opportunities. If I can keep that up, I’ll be hard to beat. I’ve got Peter Wright tomorrow and if I can win that, I’ll be very happy – there’s not much more I can do.”
Speaking to Dutch broadcaster RTL7 following Wednesday’s loss to Smith, Cross – who recently became a father for the fourth time – said: “You’re not alright with it because you’re losing, but at the same time it is what it is.
“I’ve turned up this week and tried every time I’ve gone up there; it’s not happened and I suppose that’s darts.
“I’m looking forward to the game [with Durrant] – it’s nice to be back playing. It’s probably felt a little awkward, but at the same time you just get on with it. I want to play darts and I want to play more regularly but it isn’t there at the moment.”
Price, meanwhile, eased his elimination fears with a big 7-1 victory over Gary Anderson on Wednesday, and has now set his sights on the tie with Wattimena, saying: “I just want to prepare and try to win.
“I’m playing well, I just need to be a little bit more confident.
Having five months off, you need games to get yourself going and I just need to play more regularly.”
The action will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.
Unibet Premier League
Thursday August 27 (1830 BST)
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Jermaine Wattimena v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney
Glen Durrant v Rob Cross.
PIX: Taylor Lanning