Premier League Darts 2019 Night 16 preview and order of play: League phase set for grandstand finish in Leeds

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 15 May 2019
Van Gerwen and Suljovic go head-to-head (credit:Steve Welsh/PDC)

The race to secure the final remaining Premier League play-off places goes down to the wire in Leeds in Thursday, likewise the battle to finish top of the table.

In one of the most closely-matched and dramatic stagings of the elite invitational since it began in 2005, four players are left to vie for the two remaining play-off spots, while just one point separates the top two.

Rob Cross stands on the brink of history as he bids to become the first player to overthrow Michael van Gerwen and finish top of the table since the Dutchman made his debut in 2013.

Cross has enjoyed a remarkable second stint in the Unibet Premier League and holds all the aces heading into the final night of round-robin fixtures, knowing that a win would guarantee him the £25,000 league winner's bonus.

Cross and Van Gerwen are both already assured of a place at The O2 next week and cannot meet until the final should they both progress, but MVG will be determined to maintain his incredible record of consistency, having topped the table and gone on to reach the final in all six previous Premier League campaigns.

The world number one will look to pile on the pressure by seeing off play-off chasing Mensur Suljovic in the penultimate match of the evening ahead of Cross' show-down with James Wade.

Van Gerwen blitzed past Peter Wright 8-1 with a 110 average in Sheffield last week before 'Snakebite' gained his revenge in the weekend's European Grand Prix and a fifth straight victory over Suljovic would see him match last year's points tally.

Suljovic has enjoyed a superb second spell in the Premier League, a stark contrast to when he suffered elimination on Judgement Night a year ago.

The Austrian starts the night in fourth spot but is the 3/1 outsider of the four players in pursuit of the final two spots as he must better the results of both Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price in order to progress.

Price, who is one point adrift of Suljovic, is the first of the chasing quartet to take to the stage as he takes on the eliminated Peter Wright.

Should the Grand Slam champion win, he would need both Suljovic and Gurney to slip up, while a draw would leave him relying on both rivals to lose.

Price was a 7-5 winner in the reverse fixture and faces an opponent who has lost his last five Premier League games and seven of his last eight, but did enjoy a return to form in Sindelfingen at the weekend - finishing runner-up to Ian White. 

Wright will be determined to avoid finishing bottom of the table, but must win and hope that Smith suffers defeat if he is to claim the additional £5,000 difference in prize money.

The second match of the night sees Daryl Gurney take on Michael Smith, with 'Superchin' needing to better the results of Mensur Suljovic and Gerwyn Price in order to reach the play-offs for the first time.

Gurney, who finished fifth in his debut campaign 12 months ago, is level on both points and legs difference with Suljovic, though the Austrian is ahead by virtue of legs won against the throw.

Gurney was embroiled in a heated clash with Price last week and will be keen to put that behind him and end the Welshman's play-off hopes.

Smith, meanwhile, has ensured a torrid second half of the season, failing to win a match since Night Eight and is playing for pride and prize money as he bids to end on a high and avoid finishing at the foot of the table.

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 16 - Thursday May 16

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





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Premier League Darts 2019 Night 16 preview and order of play: League phase set for grandstand finish in Leeds

The race to secure the final remaining Premier League play-off places goes down to the wire in Leeds in Thursday, likewise the battle to finish top of the table.

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