Peter Wright produced a sensational nine-darter on Night 11 of the 2020 Premier League, but it was not enough to…
Peter Wright produced a sensational nine-darter on Night 11 of the 2020 Premier League, but it was not enough to avert defeat to Daryl Gurney, while Gerwyn Price pulled off a commanding win over Michael van Gerwen.
Having agonisingly missed double 12 for a perfect leg against Gurney on Thursday, Wright made no such mistake at the second opportunity as he achieved his first televised nine-darter.
However, it proved to be a bittersweet evening for the reigning World Champion as he went down 8-6 to the resilient Northern Irishman on a night of high drama in Milton Keynes.
“It’s another achievement for me and it’s pretty special,” said Wright. “I missed the double 12 the other day by miles but this time I hit it, and I’m proud.
“I’m gutted about the result but I missed too many doubles in the last two legs and Daryl was outstanding. It was a really good match.”
It was the third time Gurney found himself on the wrong end of a nine-darter on TV this year, but ‘Superchin’ showed superb composure to fend off a Wright comeback.
Gurney flew out of the blocks with checkouts of 164 and 96 on his way to a 4-0 lead, only for Wright took four of the next five legs to make it 5-4.
A 141 finish doubled Gurney’s advantage before Wright nailed the same checkout to end his perfect leg, before holding throw in the next to make it 6-6.
However, that was as good as it got for the world number two as Gurney punished a trio of missed doubles from Wright across the last two legs to end his two-match losing run.
“It’s a very important win for me,” said Gurney. “It’s always amazing to see a nine-dart leg – but not when it’s a tight game!
“It was a great moment and fair play to Peter, but thankfully I got the win at the end.
“I’m practising really well and for some reason I’m not taking my A-game onto stage just now, but I’m practising hard and trying my best.”
Reigning and five-time Premier League champion Van Gerwen faces an uphill task if he is to maintain his 100 per cent record of finishing top of the table after he was beaten 8-4 by a rampant Price.
Van Gerwen has secured top spot in all seven of his previous campaigns but is now five points adrift with just five games remaining.
Despite averaging over three points more than Price, the Dutchman missed 13 attempts at double as he suffered a fifth defeat of the season for the first time in a Premier League campaign.
By contrast, clinical finishing from Price saw him miss just four attempts at the outer ring, with the two-time Grand Slam champion still in the hunt for a maiden Play-Off appearance.
“I couldn’t be happier to pick up two points against Michael,” said Price. “I flew out of the blocks and I felt like I couldn’t miss early on but I slipped up a bit once I got to six and seven legs.
“Michael is a champion and he battled on, and I needed to take out that 92 at the end. Getting that final leg is always the hardest thing, and luckily that went in.
“I’ve only ever beaten him once before and you still think that the game isn’t over, even at 7-3, but thankfully I got over the line because it’s never easy against Michael.
“It’s a big game tomorrow against Peter and I need to get a result because it’s such a tough league.”
Debutant Durrant remains four points clear at the top of the table after salvaging a 7-7 draw with Anderson – who squandered seven match darts.
Tenacious Teessider Durrant dug deep from 7-3 down as he punished the Scot’s missed chances to extend his unbeaten run to seven league games.
Anderson opened up the contest with a 127 finish and defied checkouts of 138 and 117 from Durrant to pull clear, only for the league leader to punish his missed doubles in two of the final four legs to snatch a draw.
“It’s my biggest point of the week because the better player ended up not winning this match,” said Durrant. “I was resigned to losing at 7-3 and I dodged a bullet tonight.
“That was pure luck and some days you need that. Gary was much better than me – I was missing doubles and Gary took over.
“It could be a massive point for me. I’m very proud to be top of this league because it’s tremendous.”
For the second time in three days, Nathan Aspinall found himself on the right end of a narrow scoreline against former Premier League runner-up Michael Smith, who slips down to seventh.
Another see-saw affair between two of the sport’s biggest young stars began uncharacteristic errors from both players, with neither able to pull away.
Aspinall ended the contest with 25 missed double attempts, but Smith was unable to find his usual scoring power to get himself into positions to punish the former UK Open champion.
At 6-6 Smith missed two darts at double to ensure at least a point and Aspinall took full advantage, pinning double 16 before hitting a 94 checkout to secure a vital victory.
“They’re always exciting games with Michael but he’s been missing doubles against me recently and it’s down to me to take advantage, which I did tonight,” said Aspinall.
“I’ve dug deep and I’m delighted because it was so important for me to bounce back from last night and I played some brilliant darts at times. I’ve still got to improve my doubles though.
“It’s so close in the table and that’s a testament to the eight players involved. I was third before last night, I dropped to sixth and then with this win I’ve gone up to second at the moment – it’s crazy.”
Premier League Darts 2020 Results
Night 11 – Saturday August 29
Daryl Gurney 8-6 Peter Wright – *Wright hits a nine-darter*
Michael Smith 6-8 Nathan Aspinall
Gary Anderson 7-7 Glen Durrant
Michael van Gerwen 4-8 Gerwyn Price