Van Gerwen battles back to snatch a point from Price as Cross moves top of the Premier League

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 4 Apr 2019
Van Gerwen and Price share the spoils (credit:Michael Cooper/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen fought back from 5-1 down to snatch a 7-7 draw with Gerwyn Price in Belfast on Thursday, while Rob Cross defeated home favourite Daryl Gurney to go top of the table.

Van Gerwen looked to be heading for his third defeat of the tournament, but only for Price to squander two match darts in the final leg for what would have been his first win over the Dutchman in 16 attempts.

Instead, the world number one grabbed his reprieve to secure a share of the spoils in a dramatic contest at the SSE Arena, averaging 102.3 to the Welshman's 98.

"I shouldn't have put myself in this position," admitted Van Gerwen. "At one point I was one out of ten on my doubles. 

"But I always had a feeling that at some point he was going to struggle and I'm really glad he gave me a chance. 

"He was trying every trick in the book." 

Price raced into a 5-1 lead with the aid of a sensational 128 checkout on the bull, but only for MVG to reel off four of the next five legs to claw back to just 6-5 behind.

Van Gerwen then missed three darts at doubles, allowing Price to secure at least a point, but a 90 checkout with two double eighteens in leg 13 gave the Dutchman a fighting chance.

Price kicked off the final leg with scores of 140, 135 and 180, only to miss two match darts at tops as Van Gerwen took out 82 to share the spoils.

"Before the game I'd have taken a point but I'm still disappointed," admitted Price. "I should have beaten him.

"At 4-1 or 5-1 you start to think you've got him right where you want him, but for three legs I went to sleep.

"You always know he's going to come back with something big and he showed that in the last leg, but I bombed a lot of opportunities in that game.

"I'm disappointed but I'm happy in another way - not many people will take points from Michael. It's so close that every point is vital."

Northern Ireland's Gurney was given an incredible welcome as he made his second Premier League appearance in Belfast, but was unable to pick up any points as clinical Cross dashed his hopes to move clear a point clear at the summit.

The 2018 World Champion averaged 104, hitting three ton-plus checkouts and 50 percent of his double attempts to make it six wins from his last seven games.

After Gurney took the opening leg, Cross silenced the home crowd with legs of 12 and 13 darts to lead and landed another 12-darter he moved 4-2 ahead.

Gurney responded with a crowd-pleasing 112 combination, but Cross claimed three of the next four legs to seal a point before securing the win in style by finishing 124 on the bull.

"I hit the big scores at the right times and I'm happy with the performance and the win," said Cross.

"I've been scoring big and doing the right things at the right times, and darts is all about timing. If you can deliver the big shots at the right time, they hurt."

Mensur Suljovic claimed his fifth victory of the season as he overcame James Wade 8-6, denying the 2009 champion the chance to snatch a draw with a 14-darter in a deciding leg which featured seven perfect darts.

Suljovic hit back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, with Wade then taking out 96 to regain the lead before four successive legs - including a ten-dart finish - saw the Austrian move 7-4 up.

Wade finished double ten and a superb 137 checkout as he took the game all the way, but Suljovic opened the deciding leg with two 180s and bounced back from missing out on a nine-darter to nail double six for victory.

"It's a brilliant feeling," said Suljovic, who moves above Wade in the table. "James got 2-0 up but I had to focus on my game and I did that.

"To draw seven-all would have been good but I'm so happy that I got the win because James is a brilliant player."

Peter Wright and Michael Smith drew for the second time this season as they shared the points in a tight encounter.

Smith finished 108, 130 and an 11-darter in the early stages, but Wright claimed the first break in leg 11 to move 6-5 up with a 14-darter.

Last year's Premier League finalist Smith responded in the same manner to break back and then finished 85 on the bull to secure a point at 7-6, but Wright landed a 180 in the deciding leg before double four secured a draw.

"It's frustrating," admitted Smith. "I needed two points tonight to move me closer to the top four and I'm annoyed with myself, but I got a point and that's better than getting beaten.

"The only leg I deserved to lose was the last one - I couldn't finish him off and my doubles were shocking."

Wright said: "I was disappointed with my whole match. I didn't really start scoring until the last three or four legs and my finishing kept me in it.

"Both of us could still make the Play-Offs but there's still a lot of games to go yet."


Premier League Darts 2019 Results


Thursday April 4

Mensur Suljovic 8-6 James Wade
Michael Smith 7-7 Peter Wright
Rob Cross 8-4 Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen 7-7 Gerwyn Price



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Van Gerwen battles back to snatch a point from Price as Cross moves top of the Premier League

Michael van Gerwen fought back from 5-1 down to snatch a 7-7 draw with Gerwyn Price in Belfast on Thursday, while Rob Cross defeated home favourite Daryl Gurney to go top of the table.

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