Phil Taylor secured his place in the Premier League Play-Offs with a narrow 8-6 victory over Andy Hamilton, as controversy struck between Adrian Lewis and James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld turned on the style.
World number one Taylor maintained his unbeaten record this season as he defeated the World Championship finalist in an all-Stoke battle, although Hamilton missed the bullseye to grab a draw in a dramatic final leg.
A below-par Taylor had missed an array of doubles throughout the match, but typically landed double eight to ensure an eighth straight victory, which took him onto 17 points and ensures his spot in May's Play-Offs at The O2 in London.
"I'm really pleased to both win and make sure I'm in the Play-Offs," said Taylor.
"I've said all season that my target is winning back this title and this is another step towards that," he added.
Although Hamilton is joint bottom of the table, he remains only three points adrift of the top four following a highly entertaining night in Nottingham.
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld produced his highest-ever televised average of 112.28 as he defeated Kevin Painter 8-6, with the victory including three 11-dart finishes from the Dutchman.
"I'm very happy with my average," said van Barneveld. "I know what I can do and I showed that tonight. I've not been consistent week-on-week but I'm working hard."
Barney was relentless on the trebles and continued to prove wrong the doubters with a classy display going into next week's showdown with Phil Taylor.
He now occupies third place, although only behind Simon Whitlock on leg difference following the Australian's superb 8-2 defeat of reigning champion Gary Anderson.
The match of the night saw world champion Adrian Lewis and multiple major winner James Wade renew their rivalry and the game hit the headlines due to heated exchanges on stage.
Lewis jumped above Wade with an 8-5 win, but The Machine had led 4-2 and was clearly affected by his opponent's actions.
The Stoke ace was accused to be using a faulty floorboard to distract Wade whilst he was throwing, but Lewis proclaimed his innocence after the match.
He said: "I didn't do anything wrong, I would never ever cheat to win a match, I don't need to."
Lewis hit six 180s and came from 4-2 down to take six of the game's final seven legs in picking up his third victory in as many weeks and moving into the play-off places, but having played at least one game more than the rest of the field.
Simon Whitlock had been whitewashed by James Wade in Cardiff a week earlier, but bounced back in style with an 8-2 demolishion of Gary Anderson.
The determined Aussie fired in a ten-dart leg to subject Anderson to a fourth consecutive defeat on his return after missing week eight to attend his father's funeral in Scotland.
"It was very important to bounce back well," said Whitlock. "To get an 8-0 flogging wasn't real good, but I showed a lot of character tonight.
"I went out there with a positive mind and put last week to bed by playing my best tonight."
The tournament continues with the tenth league night to be held at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield next Thursday, with Anderson playing twice on the night against Wade and Hamilton, while Taylor takes on van Barneveld.
McCoy's Premier League Darts
Week Nine - Capital FM Arena, Nottingham
Kevin Painter 6-8 Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis 8-5 James Wade
Andy Hamilton 6-8 Phil Taylor
Simon Whitlock 8-2 Gary Anderson
Latest League Table
P W D L +/- Pts
1. Phil Taylor 9 8 1 0 +37 17
2. Simon Whitlock 9 4 2 3 -1 10
3 Raymond van Barneveld9 4 2 3 -2 10
4. Adrian Lewis 10 3 3 4 -4 9
5. James Wade 9 4 0 5 -4 8
6. Gary Anderson 8 3 0 5 -4 6
7. Kevin Painter 9 3 0 6 -11 6
8. Andy Hamilton 9 2 2 5 -11 6