Rob Cross bowed out of the 2020 Premier League following defeat to Glen Durrant on Judgement Night, while Gary Anderson…
Rob Cross bowed out of the 2020 Premier League following defeat to Glen Durrant on Judgement Night, while Gary Anderson subjected Michael van Gerwen to a second successive defeat.
Cross faced a ‘win or bust’ scenario heading into his clash with league leader Durrant on Thursday, but saw his efforts fall short as the in-form Teessider claimed a 7-4 victory.
Daryl Gurney’s 7-4 defeat to Peter Wright earlier in the evening had given the 2019 Premier League finalist a glimmer of hope, but he ultimately paid the price for falling 5-0 behind.
Durrant landed his second 167 checkout in as many nights as he stormed clear, though Cross threatened a comeback as he fired in finishes of 124, 81 and 90 in pegging back to 3-5.
Durrant, however, sealed Cross’ fate by securing leg nine with a 13-darter and went on to clinch a 7-4 win with a 72 checkout and an average of 106 with seven from nine on the doubles.
“Rob’s a World Champion and he acted like a champion tonight,” admitted Durrant. “I like Rob but I had to focus on myself and I’m really happy with the win.
“My belief is really coming through at the moment and I’m playing really well. It was a big thing for me to change my flights and it’s working well – I’m scoring well and finishing great.
“I’ve practised hard during the pandemic and I’m feeling relaxed on stage. The three days have gone perfect for me and it’s an exciting time.
“It’s down to the nitty gritty now and I’d love to finish in the top four – I’m not thinking of winning this tournament at the moment. It would be an amazing night to be in the Play-Offs.”
Gurney faced a nervous wait to learn his fate after going down 7-4 to reigning World Champion Wright.
Wright made it five points from a possible six so far this week as he averaged 99.2 in an assured display, missing double 12 for a nine-darter in the process.
The first eight legs were shared before ‘Snakebite’ turned on the style to reel off three in a row and move second in the table.
“I felt really weird and I think I played rubbish tonight – I didn’t settle but I got away with the win,” said Wright.
“Daryl wasn’t at his best but he had a lot of pressure on him tonight.
“There’s a long way to go still. It’s a nice position to be in but there are seven games left.
“The nine-darter would have been amazing but the dart at double 12 was awful – I was shaking! I’ll have to go and practice double 12!”
After failing to register a win in his opening six games, Gurney effectively saved his season with victories over Chris Dobey and Nathan Aspinall on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I’m very lucky,” admitted Gurney, a semi-finalist last year. “I put myself under so much pressure tonight and I didn’t perform, but thankfully I got four points on the other two nights.
“I struggled against Peter and I’m disappointed with how I played, but thank God for Glen Durrant! Glen and Rob’s game was fantastic and Rob never gave up.
“I thought that if I could come here this and win five or six points I could give myself an opportunity, and I won two games. I had thrown my darts in the bin so I’ve had to get them back now!”
Meanwhile, Anderson heaped more misery on Van Gerwen as he ensured it was back-to-back defeats for the reigning champion with a superb 7-4 victory.
Two-time Premier League champion Anderson bounced back from his 7-1 loss to Price the previous evening in style to keep himself in Play-Off contention.
Van Gerwen started the brighter of the two, but could not shake off Anderson who squared up the contest at three apiece.
Van Gerwen took out 90 to regain the lead, but only for The Flying Scotsman to reel off four consecutive legs to seal the two points.
“There were some good parts and I’m happy to take the two points because the table is so tight this year,” said Anderson.
“Michael wasn’t at his best tonight and didn’t score like he can. I’m practising well but it’s still not as good as I want it to be when I get up on stage and I was a bit scratchy.
“Since he won that first title in Dublin , Michael’s been on a roller-coaster and you’ve got to remember, it’s hard work.”
Gerwyn Price needed just one leg to ensure his spot in the second phase and did so in style with a 7-0 whitewash of Challenger Jermaine Wattimena.
The Welshman took just 11 minutes in a demolition job, landing sensational ton-plus checkouts of 164 and 114 to follow up his rout of Gary Anderson the night before.
“I never thought I’d go out today and it was going to be very unlucky for me not to go through, but after I won a leg I knew I was safe,” said Price, who averaged 102.
“I played a bit better today and I’m happy to win again.
“Jermaine was scoring okay in patches but was nowhere near his best, and I punished him. I felt good but it’s always easy when you’re scoring well and someone’s two or three darts behind.
“I took my chances and that’s all that matters. I’ve got a chance now to get into the top four and hopefully it keeps going in the right direction.”
Nathan Aspinall was the benefactor of late double trouble for Michael Smith as he recovered from 5-3 down to win 7-5 in the opening game of the night.
Having moved 6-5 ahead and guaranteed a point, Aspinall watched Smith squander eight chances to clinch a point, allowing the former UK Open champion to eventually hit double eight to clinch a valuable win.
“Maybe a draw would have been a fair result, but I’m happy to get the win and I’ll take it,” said Aspinall. “I feel like I’ve nicked a point from him but I’ve been in that position many times.
“It’s probably the game I’ve enjoyed most during the Premier League this season.
“It was a brilliant game to be involved in – we bring the best out of each other and it was another great game. He threw everything at me but I dug deep.
“I felt for him at the end when he missed those doubles, but it shows that with or without a crowd, you still feel the pressure. I’m loving it though and I’ll take confidence from tonight.”
The remaining eight players will now compete in a further seven league nights from August 28 to September 5 to battle for the four spots in October’s Play-Offs.
Unibet Premier League 2020 – Judgement Night Results
Thursday August 27
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Nathan Aspinall 7-5 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 4-7 Gary Anderson
Jermaine Wattimena 0-7 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 7-4 Daryl Gurney
Glen Durrant 7-4 Rob Cross