Premier League Darts 2019 Night Six preview and order of play: Top arrowsmiths collide in Nottingham

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 13 Mar 2019
Smith consoles Aspinall following their Semi-Final clash at Ally Pally (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The sixth night of Premier League Darts action sees the big names head to Nottingham with a number of crunch clashes on the cards.

In what is shaping up to be one of the most congested tables in the history of the Unibet Premier League, the top five players are separated by just a single point following the opening five rounds of fixtures.

Meanwhile, just two points separates the bottom four players in what is set to be an equally fascinating battle for survival over the next three weeks.

This week's line-up notably features the reigning UK Open champion - Nathan Aspinall - as he looks to put the cat among the pigeons on his Premier League debut.

Aspinall is the sixth of the nine 'Contenders' drafted in to replace the injured Gary Anderson, and the Stockport star looks to deprive 2018 Premier League finalist Michael Smith of crucial points.

After embarking on a breakthrough run to the Semi-Finals of the World Championship, Aspinall proved that performance was no flash in the pan as he went on claim his first major title just months later, rocketing into the world's top 16 as a result.

Aspinall will be aiming to pick up from where he left off in Minehead as he bids for revenge over the man who eventually ended his run at Ally Pally.

Smith enters the contest with just one win to his name in the competition so far and knows maximum points are a must if he is to avoid becoming cut adrift from the top four and dragged into a relegation battle.

Undoubtedly the pick of the night's fixtures sees reigning champion Michael van Gerwen face perhaps the most in-form player of the year so far - Gerwyn Price.

Van Gerwen heads to the East Midlands without a win in his last three matches in televised competition and having been unseated from his customary position at the top of the table last week.

The world number one was held to a 6-6 draw by home favourite John Henderson in Aberdeen a week after suffering a 7-3 defeat to James Wade and will be desperate to resume normal service and put the passionate Welshman in his place.

Price is protecting the only unbeaten record left in the competition having won two and drawn three of his opening five games, but the head-to-head record makes for ominous reading for 'The Ice Man' - who has lost all 13 of his previous meetings with MVG.

A back-to-back Players Championship event winner and UK Open semi-finalist this season, Grand Slam champion Price will hold no fear heading into a match which features arguably the two hottest properties in world darts at present.

Raymond van Barneveld is the only player without a win to his name so far and looks to haul himself off the foot of the table by overcoming in-form Rob Cross.

The five-time World Champion has salvaged two draws from his opening five outings but a tournament average of just 93 will be of great concern to the retiring Dutchman - who is now odds-on favourite to be eliminated on Judgement Night in Rotterdam.

Cross is bidding to maintain his unbeaten record against the 2014 Premier League champion in what will be their sixth meeting, and 'Voltage' starts the night as one of three players locked on seven points at the top of the standings.

The 2018 World Champion, who also reached the UK Open final earlier this month, has a tournament average of 101 as well as an impressive 50 per cent checkout success rate and will be keen to apply further pressure on MVG in the race for top spot.

James Wade has proved perhaps the surprise package on his Unibet Premier League return and is targeting a third straight victory when he comes up against Mensur Suljovic.

Wade, the 2009 champion, begins the night top of the table by virtue of his superior legs difference and recorded the highest average of the tournament so far (109.59) in a ruthless 7-0 whitewash of Daryl Gurney last week.

Suljovic has four points to show from his opening five games and is looking to bounce back from a 7-3 defeat to Price last time out in an attempt to stave off successive eliminations.

The final match of the evening sees 2017 Premier League finalist Peter Wright take on reigning Players Champion Daryl Gurney.

Wright averaged 106 in a blistering display as he saw off Van Barneveld 7-3 in Aberdeen - a performance which he hopes can kick-start his quest for a top four spot.

The world number three is out to extend his unbeaten run against 'Superchin' to five matches, with the pair having notable shared the spoils in both Premier League meetings last year.

Gurney is aiming to avoid a third straight defeat and will feel he has a point to prove after his 7-0 drubbing last time out, and the Northern Irishman's dip in scoring form will be of some concern.

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 Six - Thursday March 14

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

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Premier League Darts 2019 Night Six preview and order of play: Top arrowsmiths collide in Nottingham

The sixth night of Premier League Darts action sees the big names head to Nottingham with a number of crunch clashes on the cards.

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