Van Gerwen ends Price’s unbeaten Premier League start as Smith, Suljovic and Cross also prevail

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 14 Mar 2019
Van Gerwen sweeps aside the in-form Welshman (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen ended Gerwyn Price's unbeaten start to the 2019 Premier League with a commanding 7-2 victory in Nottingham, while Mensur Suljovic, Michael Smith and Rob Cross also picked up maximum points.

Van Gerwen, who had failed to win in his last two Unibet Premier League outings, recovered from a slow start to cruise past a below-par Price - whose winless run against the Dutchman now stands at 14 matches.

Defending champion MVG was averaging a mere 78 after four legs but eventually put 18 points on his end average, reeling off four consecutive legs, including a 132 checkout, to secure the points.

"The main thing tonight was to get back to winning ways, so I'm happy with that even though the performance wasn't fantastic," admitted Van Gerwen.

"For some reason tonight both Gerwyn and myself struggled to play our best game which is a shame but I got better towards the end of the game and ended up winning comfortably.

"Of course I like to be top of the league and I know I have to work hard to stay there. I have to be at my best every week now to keep my record of topping the league phase every year since my debut season."

James Wade was knocked off the top of the table after slipping to a 7-3 defeat to plucky Austrian Mensur Suljovic.

Suljovic produced a clinical scoring display as he fired in six 180s and averaged 101 to put distance between himself and the drop zone.

Suljovic opened up a 4-2 advantage, and despite a 76 finish for an 11-darter from Wade, 'The Gentle' helped himself to the next three legs without reply to clinch victory.

Cross joined Van Gerwen on nine points at the top of the table after a 7-3 win over departing Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld, with 'Voltage' trailing MVG only on legs won against the throw. 

An exceptional performance from last year's semi-finalist Cross saw him kick off the match with 12 and 13-dart legs, but Van Barneveld fought back with successive legs to level.

That was as good as it got for the 2014 Premier League Champion, however, as Cross proved too strong, landing a 129 checkout on his way to winning five of the next six legs to claim his fourth success of the campaign, while Van Barneveld remains rooted to the foot of the table.

"I'm happy with the win but I think I got a bit complacent when I got in front, and started to mess around a bit at the end," said Cross, who maintained his unbeaten record against the five-time World Champion.

"I'm really enjoying my darts at the moment, my family life is brilliant, the routine is there and I'm feeling more comfortable every week.

"As long as I'm feeling happy in myself I know the results will come. Now I want to raise the bar and keep on pushing myself and go all the way in this Premier League."

Last year's beaten finalist Michael Smith returned to winning ways as he punished an out of sorts Nathan Aspinall to secure a 7-2 win.

Smith, who defeated Aspinall in December's World Championship Semi-Finals, ensured there would be no dream debut for the Stockport 'Contender' as he pressed home a telling 4-0 advantage.

After early finishes of 90 and 81, 'Bully Boy' added a 112 to make it 5-1 before Aspinall hit back with a magnificent 158 checkout.

Smith then landed tops and took out 127 on the bull to get over the line in style and climb away from the danger zone ahead of Judgement Night in two week's time.

"I was trying so hard out there to make sure I wasn't the first player to be beaten by one of the Contenders," said Smith.

"I don't think I played well but the only thing that matters is getting the two points to keep me clear of the relegation zone.

"My goal is to make sure I get past Judgement Night and then make a real push towards the top four and maybe go one better than last year."

The final game of the evening saw a gutsy Daryl Gurney survive a match dart as he battled back from 4-2 and 6-3 down to claim a share of the spoils with Peter Wright.

The opening five legs went with throw, before Wright punished Gurney's seven missed darts at double to take a 4-2 lead.

At 6-3, Wright looked to be on his way to a third win in four games, only for Gurney to fire in three legs of 15 darts or less to earn a hard-fought point and end a run of two defeats, with the Northern Irishman now three points clear of Van Barneveld.


Unibet Premier League 2019 Results


Thursday March 14

Nathan Aspinall 2-7 Michael Smith
James Wade 3-7 Mensur Suljovic
Rob Cross 7-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Gerwyn Price 2-7 Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright 6-6 Daryl Gurney




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Van Gerwen ends Price’s unbeaten Premier League start as Smith, Suljovic and Cross also prevail

Michael van Gerwen ended Gerwyn Price's unbeaten start to the 2019 Premier League with a commanding 7-2 victory in Nottingham, while Mensur Suljovic, Michael Smith and Rob Cross also picked up maximum points.

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