Premier League Darts 2019 Night Five preview and order of play: Aberdeen awaits for darting stars

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 6 Mar 2019
Henderson shakes hands with Van Gerwen (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The Premier League heads back across the north of the border to Aberdeen for the fifth night of action on Thursday, with two Scottish stars aiming to raise the roof.

After the darting chaos of the UK Open, it's back to business in the Premier League for the nine box office names, plus a debutant 'Contender' at the BHGE Arena.

The table is already shaping up to be one of the most closely-matched of recent years, with just two points separating top from seventh after four rounds of fixtures.

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen continues to the lead the way at the top of the table but saw his lead cut to just one point after suffering his first defeat of the season last week.

An out of sorts MVG was beaten 7-3 by James Wade in Exeter and was subjected to a second defeat in the space of 24 hours by Mervyn King in Round Four of the UK Open.

The world number one will be determined to bounce back at the first available opportunity but will have to silence the partisan home faithful if he is to do.

He takes on the fifth of the nine Contenders brought in to replace the injured Gary Anderson - Huntly's John Henderson - who is set to receive a hero's welcome on his Premier League debut.

Henderson, the world number 21, is facing Van Gerwen for the first time since knocking him out of the 2017 World Grand Prix in Round One, and has started the season brightly with runs to four Players Championship Quarter-Finals.

A pulsating start to the evening sees last year's beaten finalist Michael Smith take on UK Open runner-up Rob Cross.

Smith is aiming to avenge his 11-7 defeat to 'Voltage' in Sunday's UK Open Semi-Finals and make it back-to-back Premier League wins to climb away from the drop zone.

The World Championship finalist, who has played through the pain barrier after undergoing a groin operation last week, will be keen to improve on an inferior head-to-head record against Cross which has seen him win just three of their 13 previous meetings.

Cross has enjoyed a superb start to the season, with his runner-up spot in Minehead strengthening his grip on the world number two spot, though he will be desperately disappointed with his performance in the final.

Cross has points to his name in the Premier League so far and boasts the highest tournament average of the field (100.41) as well as the highest checkout success rate (50 per cent).

Crowd favourite Van Barneveld is sure of a roof-raising reception on his final visit to Aberdeen and will look to delight the tartan contingent of the Barney Army by defeating Peter Wright - who himself is set for a fine welcome as a proud Scot.

Van Barneveld is in danger of becoming cut adrift at the foot of the table in his 14th and final Premier League campaign after snatching two draws from his opening four games.

His tournament average of 92 is four points fewer than any of the other eight players, while his Fourth Round exit to Simon Stevenson at the UK Open last Friday saw him drop out of the world's top 32.

Wright, meanwhile, was beaten 10-8 by Mensur Suljovic in Round Four in Minehead just 24 hours after a 7-4 defeat to the Austrian in nearby Exeter.

The colourful Scot is one of three players sat on four points after as many games and will be determined to establish some consistency to kick-start his season.
Gerwyn Price enters the fifth week of action protecting the only unbeaten record still standing in the competition and faces a tough test against Suljovic.

Though Price is yet to taste defeat in his second Premier League campaign, he will be frustrated at his recent inability to convert draws into wins, having been held to a 6-6 stalemate in his last three outings.

Nonetheless, the Welsh ace has proved to be the player of the season so far, winning back-to-back ProTour titles on the way to a 20-match unbeaten run which was finally ended by Nathan Aspinall in the Semi-Finals on Sunday.

Suljovic, who was beaten by eventual champion Price in the Semi-Finals of last November's Grand Slam, picked up his first win of the tournament last week and will now have his eyes on a top four spot with a further victory here.

James Wade, who has been slashed from 28/1 to 16/1 with title sponsors Unibet following last week's crushing win over MVG, looks to pick up from where he left off when he meets Daryl Gurney.

Wade, the 2009 champion, occupies second spot in the early standings but will be out to bounce back from his shock Last 16 defeat to Ross Smith at the UK Open.

Gurney starts the week in seventh spot despite trailing Wade by just one point due to his inferior legs difference, but a third win of the season for 'Superchin' could catapult him into the top four and all but secure his safety.

Despite hitting the most 180s of any player in last year's Premier League, Gurney is surprisingly bottom of the 180 standings so far with just seven to his name.

The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of 12 legs, making a 6-6 draw a possibility. Two points are awarded for a win and one for a draw.

Unibet Premier League 2019 Schedule

Night Five - Thursday March 7

7.15pm Michael Smith v Rob Cross
8.00pm Daryl Gurney v James Wade
8.45pm Mensur Suljovic v Gerwyn Price
9.30pm Raymond van Barneveld v Peter Wright
10.15pm Michael van Gerwen v John Henderson

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Premier League Darts 2019 Night Five preview and order of play: Aberdeen awaits for darting stars

The Premier League heads back across the north of the border to Aberdeen for the fifth night of action on Thursday, with two Scottish stars aiming to raise the roof.

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