The Crème De La Prem: Chris Mason and Paul Nicholson debate the hot topics from the 2018 Unibet Premier League

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 24 May 2018
Mace The Ace and The Asset face off (credit:Live Darts)

With another Premier League season done and dusted, straight-talking darts broadcasters Chris Mason and Paul Nicholson go head-to-head to dissect the key talking points.

This year's Unibet Premier League line-up may have had a fresh feel with four new faces and a first visit to Berlin but the end outcome was an all too familiar one as Michael van Gerwen blitzed his way to a fourth crown.

As ever, though, the 16-week tournament provided its fair share of quality, drama and controversy, all of which have been carefully scrutinised by two of the sport's most no nonsense pundits.

Here's the pick of the bunch...

Best performance of this year's Premier League?

Chris: Michael van Gerwen against Rob Cross. 

The 111 average which I think was the highest of the season, for me with what it meant after their World Championship game, that was a statement.

Paul: For me it's not one performance it's the three from Gary Anderson over the two days in Rotterdam.

He knew going into that two-day period that if he didn't show up then he wasn't going to be in that top four.

It wasn't the fact he won all three games, it was the way he did it.

Worst performance of this year's Premier League?

Chris: It goes to two, that match involving Simon Whitlock and Gerwyn Price, they stunk the joint out!

Paul: I was working with Chris for Talksport that night and I commentated on that match and there's not many matches I've covered in the media where I've taken my headphones off and went 'that wasn't good.'

I was shaking my head for a good five minutes thinking that was terrible and I fear to think what the players were thinking after that match.

Best Premier League venue?

Chris: I love the fact there's a venue in the South West but I'd love to see it go back to the BIC in Bournemouth because there's no darts at all down that end.

My favourite was Rotterdam, it was absolutely bouncing, that was off the hook.

Paul: Belfast was my favourite this year, not just the Gurney factor but for me Belfast just seems to bring something extra in the decibel count.

Worst Premier League venue that you would drop?

Chris: I don't like Exeter as a venue, I don't think it works, I prefer the BIC or anything else in the Southwest. I understand why they do it for the logistics [UK Open] but let's try somewhere else.

Paul: I'm an advocate for keeping Exeter but I think Nottingham and Sheffield are very close to each other, if you get rid of one of those, you can still capture the people from that area of the country and one of those nights can potentially be moved to the continent, like Vienna for instance.

Should players be picked for the Premier League on merit instead of commercial value?

Chris: The only reason you would be considered for selection is because you've achieved something big within the game.

If they're good enough, put them in. Would I put them in for their commercial value? Not anymore, it's not necessary.

Paul: I think you've got to have the whole package and more so nowadays the package is more evident.

Back in 2006 when Raymond van Barneveld was put in the Premier League, they needed marquee players who would then evolve into these really huge stars.

Raymond really has been needed in the past few years but is he needed as much now? No. He's good to produce the talent now to get back in the Premier League.

Did Peter Wright let the event and himself down by constantly changing darts?

Chris: There were some shocking setups and I can't see how they would have worked at home never mind on a Premier League stage, it's just baffling.

He just didn't know what he was doing and there was no one around him to tell him to go back to type.

He's peaked in terms of ability, that's where he is, it doesn't matter what darts he uses, he isn't going to get any better or get ay bigger averages than he has before.

Where he is solid is when he's 100 per cent confident in his equipment and his ability speaks for itself.

Paul: Peter needs to make things simple for himself.

I don't think he's let the fans down because he's great with his fans and puts a lot of time in with them.

I remember doing a small bit with him on the radio after he'd won a Premier League match against Michael van Gerwen for the second time and I said: "What are you going to be using this weekend?" and he said: "I don't know, I might try something new" and I though to myself, if you don't know after a victory against the world number one then you really have been put behind the black in snooker terms.

You can watch the full debate here... 



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The Crème De La Prem: Chris Mason and Paul Nicholson debate the hot topics from the 2018 Unibet Premier League

With another Premier League season done and dusted, straight-talking darts broadcasters Chris Mason and Paul Nicholson go head-to-head to dissect the key talking points.

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