Premier League Darts 2019 Night 13 preview and order of play: Big guns do battle in Birmingham

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 24 Apr 2019
Cross and Price go head-to-head in Birmingham (credit:Steve Welsh/PDC)

The race to reach the Premier League play-offs intensifies in Birmingham on Thursday with two top four clashes taking centre stage.

Just four nights of round-robin competition remain before the cut-off for Finals Night - where the top four in the league table will compete for the Unibet Premier League title.

As it stands, just two points separate the players positioned from third to sixth in the league table, while the top two are split by just a single point.

Defending champion Michael van Gerwen returned to the summit courtesy of an 8-2 rout of Rob Cross in Cardiff last week, and the Dutchman now aims to avenge his defeat to James Wade earlier in the season to remain on course to finish top.

Van Gerwen, who has topped the table and gone on to reach the final every year since his debut in 2013, suffered his first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Wade in Exeter back in February and will be determined to avoid a repeat result.

The runaway world number one picked up his 30th European Tour title in Munich on Easter Monday and will look to sustain that clinical form against the play-off chasing left-hander.

Wade thrashed an out of sorts Peter Wright 8-2 last time out to climb into third spot, four points adrift of league leader MVG and but clear of fifth only by virtue of legs difference.

Wade, whose tournament checkout percentage is second only to Van Gerwen, is bidding to reach the play-offs for the first time since 2013 - when he was beaten by MVG in the Semi-Finals.

Meanwhile, 2018 semi-finalist Cross looks to apply the pressure on rival MVG by taking maximum points from his show-down with Gerwyn Price earlier in the evening.

Defeat last week for 'Voltage' was only his third in this year's competition and handed the initiative back to 'Mighty Mike', but the world number two will look to dust himself and recapture the form which led him to seven wins from his last eight games prior to Night 12.

Price starts the night in fourth position after enjoying a memorable homecoming in Cardiff last week to make it successive wins and remain on course for a first appearance on finals night.

The Grand Slam champion was on the wrong end of a 104 average in a 7-4 defeat to Cross in Berlin in March and has lost three of their last four meetings.

Michael Smith, last year's beaten finalist, aims to move off the foot of the table by overcoming fifth-placed Mensur Suljovic in the opening match of the night.

Smith is six points adrift of the top four, but a win here, coupled with defeats for Wade and Price could see him regain a squeak of a chance of going into the final three weeks.

The world finalist, however, has mustered just three victories during the entire Premier League so far and was thrashed 7-2 by Suljovic in Berlin with an average of just 85.

Suljovic, bidding to reach The O2 for the first time in two attempts, has won five of his last seven matches but sits outside the top four on legs difference, though he will be aiming to time his run to perfection and remain a dark horse for this title.

The night's other fixture sees Players Champion Daryl Gurney up against the enigmatic Peter Wright - who is entering last chance saloon if he is to have any hope of a return to The O2.

Three games without a win have left 'Superchin' two points behind the top four, but he will be eyeing nothing short of maximum points against a player who has proved the architect of his own downfall in this tournament.

Wright's constant change of setup has resulted in a number of below-par displays, none more so than last week, when he was thrashed 8-2 with an average of just 85 after averaging 100 a week earlier.

Incredibly, all three previous Premier League meetings between these two players have ended in draws - a result which would be little use to either player should that trend continue.

The action gets underway from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 14 legs, making a 7-7 draw a possibility. Two points are awarded for a win and one for a draw.


Unibet Premier League 2019 Schedule


Night 13 - Thursday April 25

7.15pm Mensur Suljovic v Michael Smith
8.00pm Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price
8.45pm Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright
9.30pm James Wade v Michael van Gerwen



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Premier League Darts 2019 Night 13 preview and order of play: Big guns do battle in Birmingham

The race to reach the Premier League play-offs intensifies in Birmingham on Thursday with two top four clashes taking centre stage.

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