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Nine-dart Wright beaten by Gurney as Price piles more Premier League pain on Van Gerwen

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Van Gerwen storms past Smith as Durrant maintains four-point cushion at the top of the Premier League

Premier League Darts 2020 Night 12 preview and order of play: Van Gerwen aims to close the gap

Jamie Shaw in Premier League Darts 30 Aug 2020
Smith celebrates against Van Gerwen (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The sixth consecutive night of Premier League action sees the sport’s star names continue their push for play-off places in Milton Keynes on Sunday.

A pulsating week of Premier League action has produced drama, controversy and quality in abundance, with a nine-darter the stand-out moment on Saturday.

In what is shaping up to be one of the most closely-matched stagings of the elite invitational, just two points separate second from seventh in a congested league table.

With five nights remaining for the cut off is made for the top four to progress to the play-offs, defending champion Michael van Gerwen has work to do if he is to maintain his proud record.

Van Gerwen has finished top of the table and has gone on to reach the final in all seven of his previous Premier League appearances, but finds himself outside of the top four and five points adrift of the lead heading into Night 12.

The world number one has lost three of his last four games, meaning he has now suffered defeat on five occasions in the league phase for the first time.

He now faces a potentially ‘must win’ encounter with fellow play-off contender Michael Smith in a match which signals a repeat of the 2018 final.

Smith endured an unwanted case of Deja Vu against Nathan Aspinall on Saturday, with missed doubles again proving costly as he went down 8-6, dropping to seventh in the table as a result.

However, ‘Bully Boy’ remains just one point adrift of the top four and is eyeing a Premier League double over the Dutchman, having prevailed 7-4 in the reverse fixture in Exeter back in March.

Smith has won three of their last five meetings in total and will look to pile the pressure on the green machine with the clinical scoring power which has seen him produce 47 maximums so far, 20 more than MVG.

Glen Durrant looks to take another step towards securing his play-off place and strengthen his grip on top spot when he faces Daryl Gurney in the final match of the night.

Top faces bottom in the league table as man of the moment ‘Duzza’ bids to extend his magnificent unbeaten run to eight games and all but end Gurney’s hopes of gatecrashing the top four.

Gurney and Durrant go head-to-head (Photo by PDC)

Durrant produced a gutsy fightback from 7-3 down to earn a 7-7 draw with Gary Anderson on Saturday, maintaining a four-point cushion at the top and effectively moving to within two points of sealing a Semi-Final spot on debut.

The tenacious Teessider has won both of their previous meetings, including in the Last 32 of the World Championship and a 7-5 success in the reverse fixture in March.

Gurney incredibly defied a 103 average, nine 180s and a nine-dart finish from Peter Wright to clinch an 8-6 victory last night, making it three wins from his last five outings.

Gurney, who pulled off the great escape to avoid elimination, remains three points adrift at the foot of the table, but a further win here would keep him very alive and kicking going into the second week in Milton Keynes.

Meanwhile, nine-dart hero Wright looks to atone for last night’s bittersweet loss when he comes up against a resurgent Gerwyn Price.

Wright produced his first televised nine-darter 48 hours after missing double 12 for the perfect leg against Gurney, but crucial missed doubles in the last two legs denied him a point.

The reigning World Champion subsequently dropped from second to fourth in the table and will be keen to avoid a third straight defeat if he is to return to finals night for the first time since finishing runner-up in 2017.

Price bounced back from his disappointing defeat to Durrant on Friday with a clinical display to down MVG 8-4 and make it three wins from his last four matches.

The back-to-back Grand Slam champion sits in sixth spot, one point behind Wright in fourth and will be eyeing a repeat of his 7-1 rout of the colourful Scot in Dublin back in February.

The opening fixture of the evening sees two-time Premier League winner Gary Anderson take on impressive debutant Nathan Aspinall.

Anderson was left furious after squandering several match darts from 7-3 up in an eventual draw with Durrant last night and will look to channel that frustration in an attempt to retain his top four status.

The Flying Scotsman has taken seven points from a possible ten in an otherwise strong week so far and still harbours outside aspirations of topping the table, trailing Durrant by four points.

Aspinall made it successive wins over his close friend Smith, surviving more missed doubles in the process to climb into second spot with 13 points.

The former UK Open champion has won three of his five previous meetings with Anderson, including their Last 16 clash at the World Championship last December, while the pair played out a 6-6 draw in March.

The action gets underway from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 14 legs.

WATCH PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Premier League Darts 2020 Match Schedule

Night 12 – Sunday August 30

7.15pm Nathan Aspinall v Gary Anderson
8.00pm Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
8.45pm Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
9.30pm Glen Durrant v Daryl Gurney