Michael van Gerwen produced the highest average of the 2021 Premier League so far on his way to defeating Dimitri…
Michael van Gerwen produced the highest average of the 2021 Premier League so far on his way to defeating Dimitri van den Bergh, while Nathan Aspinall moved clear at the top of the table.
Van Gerwen had endured an indifferent first half of the competition but signalled his clear intent on Night Ten in Milton Keynes by brushing aside debutant Van den Bergh with an average touching 110.
The five-time Premier League champion roared back to form following a disappointing recent Super Series campaign in Germany as he climbed to second spot in the table, just two points off the summit.
Van den Bergh, who averaged 106.7 in a superb display of his own, was left helpless as MVG stormed into a 6-0 lead with finishes of 126, 123 and 91 along the way.
The World Matchplay champion did, however, hit back with legs of 13, 12 and 14 darts to halve the deficit, but an 11-darter restored Van Gerwen’s dominance before he wrapped up the win with a 13-darter.
“Of course I’m over the moon – I think I did well tonight and I felt good,” said Van Gerwen. “I put him under pressure straight away and I focused on my own game.
“Last week I had a horrible week because I played really bad in the Super Series in Germany, so I had to come back and put up something good – never write MvG off on stage!
“I’m always critical of myself because I know what I’m capable of, and you can see now that it’s still there. There’s still work to do but I feel good and you have to keep fighting hard.
“I demand a lot of myself and displays like this give you confidence – but it’s history now and I need to look to the future now, and that’s tomorrow.”
Jonny Clayton also impressed on his return to action at the Marshall Arena with a fifth victory of the campaign, defeating James Wade 8-5 with a 105 average.
Wade had prevailed 7-2 when the pair met on Night Eight and looked on course to do the double when he opened up a 3-1 lead, defying a 150 checkout from the Welshman by finishing 86, 121 and tops to punish his opponent’s misses.
Clayton hit back with three straight legs, including a brilliant 134 finish to break in leg six, as he moved ahead for the first time, only for Wade to finish 78 and double 12 to remain flawless in his finishing at five-all.
Clayton, though, landed two 180s in an 11-darter before breaking throw on double 16 to move 7-5 up, and he took out 76 to secure the two points and jump above Wade in the league table.
“I’m really happy with that,” said Clayton. “I knew what I had to do because of what James did to me a couple of weeks ago, so there was a little bit of revenge.
“I wanted to play well – you don’t shake James off and you’ve got to battle to the last dart. Tonight he finished everything so it was difficult.”
Nathan Aspinall sits two points clear of Van Gerwen and Van den Bergh at the top of the table after recovering from 4-2 behind to defeat Peter Wright 8-5 and extend his unbeaten run to eight matches.
The first five legs went with throw before Wright broke in the sixth to move 4-2 ahead, but a a 177 and double 12 to finish 201 in four darts sparked an on-stage call to “wake up” from Aspinall – which he obeyed with five straight legs.
That included a clinical 161 checkout as he moved ahead for the first time at 5-4, and though Wright pulled back a leg, there was to be no denying Aspinall – who landed two 180s in an 11-darter to seal victory.
“It wasn’t great, but in the context of tonight it was a massive two points,” said Aspinall. “I’m happy with the points but disappointed with the performance.
“It was my worst performance of the season but I dug deep and ground a result out. I expected so much of myself because I felt great in the practice room.
“I’ve beaten the world number two, last year’s World Champion, playing under par. I was very flat at the start of the game but I managed to get my adrenaline pumping.
“I did have a couple of good moments in the game – the 201 in four darts was good, and the 161 was a massive shot to help me take control of the game.”
Jose de Sousa claimed his fourth win of the season, seeing off two-time Premier League winner Gary Anderson 8-3 as he averaged almost 100 and hit 50 percent of his darts at a double.
The Portuguese took out 98, 99 and 88 on his way to a 5-0 lead to take command of the contest, before Anderson hit back by winning three of the next four.
De Sousa, though, proved too strong and won the next two legs to secure the points and leave Anderson three points adrift of the top four.
“Two points is a very good way to start this week,” said De Sousa. “When you play against a player like Gary, it’s a big win because he is a World Champion.
“He didn’t play his best game and I punished him in some legs. My doubles were been much better and I feel great, but I still have to work hard.
“Today I had to control the game, and I did – with my scoring and my doubles I can win matches.”
Premier League Darts 2021 Results
Night 10 – Wednesday May 5
Jonny Clayton 8-5 James Wade
Jose de Sousa 8-3 Gary Anderson
Dimitri Van den Bergh 3-8 Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright 5-8 Nathan Aspinall