The 2020 Premier League Darts season resumes after a five-month hiatus as the sport’s elite stars face off in Milton…
The 2020 Premier League Darts season resumes after a five-month hiatus as the sport’s elite stars face off in Milton Keynes.
Six league nights had been held before the Covid-19 pandemic caused the suspension of all major sports events in mid-March.
The prestigious invitational tournament now returns with six consecutive nights being held behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena from August 25-30.
The upcoming fixtures include those originally planned for the original Night Seven, Night Eight and Judgement Night – following which the eight remaining players will go head-to-head for the second time.
Glen Durrant leads the way at the top of the table having enjoyed a dream start to life in the Premier League, picking up nine points from his opening six games.
Since competitive action resumed, ‘Duzza’ has now broken into the world’s top 16, reaching successive Summer Series Quarter-Finals and the Semi-Finals of the World Matchplay.
The three-time BDO World Champion lost just one of his opening six Premier League fixtures and will be determined to pick up from where he left off as he looks to mount a charge towards the play-offs.
Durrant, however, faces a tough start to the week against reigning World Champion Peter Wright – who will be eyeing revenge for his Second Round defeat to the Teessider in last month’s World Matchplay.
Wright, who also won The Masters in January, is one of three players locked on seven points in a congested league table after recording back-to-back wins prior to lock-down.
Both players have been going through an experimental phase of late, with Wright playing with glasses at the Matchplay for the first time, while Durrant is set to debut new shaped flights.
Reigning Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen aims to apply the pressure on league leader Durrant by overcoming Rob Cross in a repeat of last year’s final.
Van Gerwen thrashed Cross 11-5 to claim the title for the fifth time at The O2 Arena last May and has won 18 of their 21 meetings in total.
The world number one, who has finished top of the table in all seven previous campaigns, is out to bounce back from his shock Second Round defeat to Simon Whitlock at the World Matchplay.
Cross, meanwhile, recently celebrated the birth of his second child and is also looking to banish a disappointing Matchplay campaign which saw him surrender his title at the first hurdle with defeat to Gabriel Clemens.
The world number five finds himself second from bottom of the table after a slow start which saw him secure just five points, drawing three and winning one of his six games so far.
Daryl Gurney aims to secure his first Premier League win of the season at the seventh time of asking when he faces Challenger Chris Dobey.
Gurney starts the week rooted to the foot of the table and three points adrift of safety with three games remaining before the elimination cut-off is made on Judgement Night.
The two-time major winner suffered an 11-5 defeat at the hands of Vincent van der Voort in the Matchplay and knows he must find form quickly if he is to avoid bowing out of this competition.
Dobey is making his second successive guest appearance in this event, having held Mensur Suljovic to a draw on home soil in Newcastle last year.
Though he has been denied the opportunity to walk out in front of a sell-out hometown crowd on this occasion, Dobey will be keen to have his say in the relegation battle and remain on the radar for a potential full-time pick in 2021.
Since making his Premier League debut last February, Dobey has reached two major Semi-Finals and is now up to a career-high 19th on the Order of Merit.
A repeat of their recent World Matchplay Semi-Final sees Gary Anderson take on his former sparring partner Michael Smith.
Anderson edged out ‘Bully Boy’ 18-16 in a nip and tuck encounter last month before losing out to Dimitri van den Bergh in the final the following day.
Despite reaching the final, Anderson was unhappy with his game and admitted struggling to get to grips with the unique behind closed doors environment, including the artificial crowd noise played into the arena.
Premier League champion in 2011 and 2015, Anderson starts the week in sixth spot, having picked up six points from as many games in an indifferent start to the campaign.
The Flying Scotsman is just one point behind Smith – who occupies third spot after three wins from his last four games before the enforced break.
Smith was runner-up at The O2 in 2018, having defeated Anderson in the Semi-Finals, and will look to remain on course for another appearance in the Play-Offs by avoiding defeat here.
Nathan Aspinall looks to continue his bright start to his debut Premier League Darts campaign when he comes up against Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price.
Aspinall, who defeated Price en route to UK Open glory in 2019, sits in fourth spot with seven points, boasting a tournament average of 97.8, second only to MVG.
The world number six will be determined to bounce back from his First Round defeat to eventual champion Van den Bergh at this venue last month by repeating his win over the Welshman in the final of a ProTour event back in February.
Price, making his third Premier League appearance, has work to do if he is to push for a play-off spot for the first time, having won just one of his opening six games.
The world number three had the joint most draws (six) in the league last year and has already shared the spoils in half of his fixtures so far this season.
He was also beaten in Round One of the World Matchplay, going down 10-7 to Danny Noppert, but has been one of the stand-out performers of the season in general, winning two ranking titles and reaching a further four finals.
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 Seven – Tuesday August 25
6.45pm Michael Smith v Gary Anderson
7.30pm Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross
8.15pm Nathan Aspinall v Gerwyn Price
9.00pm Chris Dobey (C) v Daryl Gurney
9.45pm Peter Wright v Glen Durrant