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Premier League Darts 2020 Night 14 preview and order of play: Van Gerwen facing must-win clash

Jamie Shaw in Premier League Darts 03 Sep 2020
Van Gerwen aims to bounce back with a much-needed win (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Defending champion Michael van Gerwen faces a crucial clash in his quest to make the Premier League play-offs, while Gary Anderson aims to secure his spot with a win on Thursday night.

Just three nights of action remain before the cut off is made for finals night, with the top four in the league table going on to compete for the title next month.

With Glen Durrant having become the first player to seal his spot in the Semi-Finals, just three places now remain, with three points currently separating second to fifth.

Durrant is three points clear at the top of the table and odds-on to secure the £25,000 bonus which would see him join only Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen in winning the league phase since the event began 15 years ago.

The tenacious Teessider has enjoyed a dream debut campaign, losing just one of his 13 fixtures so far and could equal the record points tally of 26 if he can win his three remaining games.

The three-time BDO World Champion underlined his ‘never say die’ attitude once again by battling back from 7-2 down to earn a draw with Michael Smith on Wednesday, extending his unbeaten run to nine games.

He is now aiming to maintain another impressive unbeaten record, this time against world number one Van Gerwen, having come out on top in all three of their previous meetings.

Durrant was labelled “a boring player” by the world number one prior to their meeting last week, but let his darts do the talking in a dominant 7-3 victory with a 104.4 average.

Van Gerwen is enduring somewhat of a nightmare campaign by his standards, having lost five of his last seven games and dropped out of the top four on legs difference.

The reigning and five-time Premier League champion was thrashed 8-1 by rival Peter Wright on Wednesday with an average of just 91 and will be desperate to bounce back immediately and stop the rot against Duzza.

Third faces fourth in another crucial clash in the play-off race as Nathan Aspinall takes on Peter Wright.

Aspinall closed out a vital 8-6 victory over Gerwyn Price on Wednesday to move a point clear of fifth spot and knows destiny remains in his own hands over the next three nights.

The former UK Open champion has been involved in numerous close-run contests in Milton Keynes, with each of his last six games having gone the distance.

Wright, meanwhile, ended a run of three defeats with a ruthless rout of MVG, averaging 105 in dismantling his former nemesis to leapfrog him into fourth position.

The 2017 Premier League runner-up now has a legs difference of plus ten, second only to Durrant, and could take a huge step towards sealing a Semi-Final spot if he can complete a league double over The Asp.

Gary Anderson has emerged as Durrant’s main challenger for top spot, and having closed the gap to three points last night, will look to apply further pressure by overcoming Michael Smith.

Anderson and Smith go head-to-head (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Anderson, the 2011 and 2015 champion, has won four and drawn one of his last five games, leaving him effectively just one more win away from rubber-stamping his play-off place.

The Flying Scotsman defeated his former protege 7-3 in a blistering battle last week, averaging 109 to Smith’s 107, and will be eyeing a similar display to continue his fine spell of form.

Smith is facing a potentially make-or-break battle, having taken just one point from his last three games to leave him second from bottom and two points adrift of the play-off places.

Missed doubles have proved costly for ‘Bully Boy’ over the past week, including 24 hours ago when he surrendered a 7-2 lead in an eventual 7-7 draw with Durrant.

He remains the heaviest scorer of the field with 57 maximums, seven more than any other player, but knows he can ill-afford to falter at the finish again if he is to bridge the gap.

The opening match of the night sees back-to-back Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price up against bottom of the table Daryl Gurney.

Price’s hopes of reaching finals night for the first time suffered a setback last night after to defeat Aspinall left him a point adrift, though he does boast a strong legs difference of plus ten.

The Welshman was held to a 6-6 draw in his initial fixture with Gurney back in February but has a strong head-to-head record of nine wins and three draws from their 15 previous encounters.

Gurney is effectively playing for pride as he looks to avoid finishing bottom of the pile in the second phase.

The Northern Irishman, who escaped elimination on Judgement Night, is four points adrift at the bottom, having lost four of his last five games, but could still prove to be the spoiler in the play-off race.

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


Premier League Darts 2020 Match Schedule

Night 14 – Thursday September 3

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