The second phase of the 2020 Premier League Darts season gets underway in Milton Keynes on Friday as the eight…
The second phase of the 2020 Premier League Darts season gets underway in Milton Keynes on Friday as the eight remaining players resume their push for the play-offs.
The field was cut by one following Judgement Night on Thursday as Rob Cross bowed out of the competition after finishing bottom of the table.
That leaves eight players competing over a further seven nights of action in a quest to finish in the top four and progress to October’s Semi-Finals.
Glen Durrant’s dream debut campaign shows no sign of letting up, with the three-time BDO World Champion having forged a two-point cushion at the top of the table.
Durrant is aiming to become the first player to deny Michael van Gerwen top spot since the Dutchman made his debut in the elite invitational in 2013.
The in-form Middlesbrough man has taken five points from a possible six so far this week, registering ton-plus averages in each of his three encounters.
He now faces another crunch clash against a current major champion in Gerwyn Price – who has revived his fortunes with consecutive crushing wins in the last two nights.
Price ended a run of three straight Premier League defeats by thrashing Gary Anderson 7-1 on Wednesday and followed that up with a ten-minute whitewash of Jermaine Wattimena on Thursday.
He is now just one point adrift of the top four and boasts a vastly superior legs difference to those around him, which could prove crucial come the final run-in.
Durrant won the reverse fixture 7-3 earlier in the season, gaining some degree of revenge for his five sets to one defeat to the Welshman in the Quarter-Finals of the World Championship.
Defending champion Van Gerwen looks to avoid a third straight defeat for the first time in Premier League history when he takes on Nathan Aspinall.
Van Gerwen has now lost four of his opening nine games, having previously never been beaten more than four times in an entire league phase over the last seven years.
The world number one appears to be struggling to get to grips with the unique, behind closed doors setup, in which he also suffered a shock Second Round exit to Simon Whitlock in last month’s World Matchplay.
Van Gerwen, who thrashed Rob Cross on Tuesday, has since gone down 7-3 and 7-4 to Durrant and Anderson respectively, averaging below 98 on both occasions.
He now finds himself occupying fourth spot, four points adrift of league leader Durrant, knowing he can ill-afford more slip-ups if he is to retain his 100 per cent record of finishing top of the table.
One of MVG’s four defeats came against Aspinall in Cardiff back in February, and ‘The Asp’ is enjoying an impressive debut campaign which has seen him rack up 11 points so far.
The 2019 UK Open champion sits in third position, having snatched a 7-5 win over Michael Smith on Thrusday, surviving eight missed darts at doubles in the final leg.
The duo have each claimed four wins from their eight previous meetings and boast the two highest tournament averages so far, with Aspinall’s 98.91 bettered only by MVG’s 100.62.
Two of Scotland’s modern greats go head-to-head in another unmissable tartan tussle as Peter Wright faces Gary Anderson.
Both players have enjoyed a fine start to the week, winning two of their opening three games to remain firmly in pursuit of a play-off place.
Wright has taken five points from a possible six, having drawn with Durrant before thrashing Challenger Jeffrey de Zwaan 7-1 and defeating Daryl Gurney 7-4 to climb into second spot.
The reigning World Champion is looking to add this prestigious title to his collection for the first time, having famously squandered six match darts in the 2017 final.
Anderson ended a near two-year wait for a win over Van Gerwen as he prevailed 7-4 on Thursday to bounce back from a crushing 7-1 defeat to Price the night before.
The two-time Premier League winner appears to have found a new lease of life with an alternative set of darts and sits outside of the top four only by legs difference.
Anderson teamed up with Wright to win the World Cup of Darts for Scotland last summer, but has not beaten his compatriot in his last six attempts dating back to September 2018.
The final match of the night sees 2018 Premier League finalist Michael Smith take on a resurgent Daryl Gurney.
Smith will be determined to atone for his eight missed darts at doubles to claim a draw against Aspinall last night, a defeat which saw him drop to seventh in the table.
However, he remains just one point outside of the top four and has been in prolific scoring form this week, landing a combined total of 18 maximums in three matches and twice averaging above 102.
Gurney pulled off the great escape on Judgement Night despite defeat to Wright, with his successive wins on Tuesday and Wednesday enough to guide him off the foot of the table.
The Northern Irishman had gone the opening six games without a win but has dug deep to revive his season in Milton Keynes, though he now has work to do if he is to catch up to the play-off chase.
Smith has won nine and drawn one of his 15 previous meetings with Gurney, including a 7-5 success in the reverse fixture.
The action gets underway from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 13 legs.
Premier League Darts 2020 Match Schedule
Night Ten – Friday August 28
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
7.15pm Glen Durrant v Gerwyn Price
8.00pm Peter Wright v Gary Anderson
8.45pm Nathan Aspinall v Michael van Gerwen
9.30pm Michael Smith v Daryl Gurney