The top two players in the Premier League Darts table collide in Milton Keynes on Wednesday, while battle to avoid…
The top two players in the Premier League Darts table collide in Milton Keynes on Wednesday, while battle to avoid elimination also intensifies.
The first of six consecutive nights of action at the Marshall Arena saw Daryl Gurney register his first win of the season, while Michael van Gerwen returned to the top of the table.
Van Gerwen, who has finished top in all seven previous campaigns, thrashed Rob Cross 7-2 to leapfrog Glen Durrant by virtue of legs difference.
The two multiple World Champions go head-to-head in one of five mouth-watering fixtures on Night Eight as they look to go clear at the summit.
Van Gerwen added extra spice to the contest with his post-match comments on Tuesday, claiming Durrant is a “good but boring player” and insisting that he will beat him.
The world number one averaged 103.3 in dismantling Cross and will be determined to stamp his authority on the table and take another step towards challenging for a sixth Premier League title.
Durrant is one a select few players to boast an unbeaten record against MVG, having won both of their previous meetings, most recently in last year’s World Matchplay.
The tenacious Teessider recovered from 6-4 down to earn a draw with Peter Wright on Tuesday and has lost just one of his opening seven games in his debut Premier League season.
Down at the opposite end of the table, Gurney looks to pile the pressure on relegation rivals Rob Cross and Gerwyn Price by avoiding defeat to Nathan Aspinall.
Gurney took advantage of an out of sorts Chris Dobey to record a 7-2 rout 24 hours ago, a result which could have huge implications come Judgement Night on Thursday, particularly where legs difference is concerned.
A win for ‘Superchin’ would lift him off of the bottom of the table ahead of Cross’ clash with Michael Smith later in the evening, but a defeat coupled with a Cross win would see the Northern Irishman eliminated.
Aspinall secured his place in the second phase of the tournament by punishing a below-par Price 7-4 last night to remain just one point adrift of the top two.
The former UK Open champion is enjoying a fine debut campaign, and having averaged 11 points more than Gurney last night, will fancy his chances of making it back-to-back wins.
Cross is hope to end a run of five Premier League games without a win when he faces Smith in a battle of the two most recent Premier League runners-up.
Cross has struggled to find form throughout the year so far but will look to dig deep and pull himself clear of the drop zone, knowing that fate remains in his own hands.
The world number five has incredibly won 15 of his 18 previous meetings with ‘Bully Boy’, including each of their last five televised encounters.
Smith was denied purely by the brilliance of Gary Anderson on Tuesday, averaging 107 and hitting seven 180s in a 7-3 defeat.
The Masters finalist remains just one point adrift of the top four and requires a point or more to guarantee his place in the second phase of the competition.
An unmissable start to the night sees box office stars Anderson and Price renew their rivalry on the big stage.
The pair have met four times since their infamously controversial Grand Slam final in 2018, taking two wins apiece, most notably a 16-9 triumph for the Welshman en route to retaining his Grand Slam crown.
However, they have had contrasting fortunes in the unique behind closed doors environment in Milton Keynes, with Anderson seemingly thriving and Price struggling to motivate himself.
Anderson reached the final of last month’s World Matchplay, losing out to Dimitri van den Bergh, and averaged 109 in a blistering win over Smith last night using a new set of darts.
Price has won just one of his opening seven Premier League games and will look to turn the corner and avoid becoming embroiled in a battle for survival on Judgement Night.
A First Round loser at the World Matchplay, ‘The Ice Man’ has admitted he struggles to get himself fired up in the absence of a crowd but a win over his rival could provide the perfect platform to kick on.
The final match of the night sees World Champion Wright take on Dutch Challenger Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Wright was left to rue a costly miscount in the final leg of his match with Durrant on Tuesday which ultimately denied him an extra point.
He now sits outside of the top four on legs difference, but after averaging just shy of 100, will be confident of atoning for that error and returning to winning ways.
Wright defeated De Zwaan in a seven-set thriller in the Last 16 of the World Championship en route to glory at Ally Pally, but ‘The Black Cobra’ has since had to content with an injury setback.
De Zwaan has made it beyond the Last 16 stage of just one ranking event this year and was thrashed 10-3 by Durrant in the opening round of the World Matchplay.
This is the youngster’s second successive appearance as a Premier League Challenger, having lost 7-4 to Cross on home soil in Rotterdam last season.
The action gets underway from 6.30pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 12 legs.
Premier League Darts 2020 Match Schedule
Night Eight – Wednesday August 26
6.45pm Gary Anderson v Gerwyn Price
7.30pm Nathan Aspinall v Daryl Gurney
8.15pm Michael Smith v Rob Cross
9.00pm Michael van Gerwen v Glen Durrant
9.45pm Peter Wright v Jeffrey de Zwaan (C)