The race to secure play-off places intensifies on Night 14 of the 2021 Premier League Darts campaign on Tuesday, with…
The race to secure play-off places intensifies on Night 14 of the 2021 Premier League Darts campaign on Tuesday, with the top five separated by just two points.
Monday saw the return of fans to a PDC event in the UK for the first time in five months and the lively Milton Keynes crowd were treated to four high quality contests.
Nathan Aspinall banished his back-to-back defeats a fortnight ago with a dominant victory over Michael van Gerwen on Night 13 to return to the top of the table on legs difference.
Aspinall, last year’s runner-up, is now just two points shy of the tally he achieved last season and could go some way towards confirming his qualification once again with another win this evening.
Aspinall has spent 12 of the 13 nights so far inside the top four and will have his sights firmly set on clinching the £25,000 league winner’s bonus.
The former UK Open champion kicks off the night with a clash against reigning UK Open champion James Wade – who is in desperate need of a win to keep his hopes alive.
Wade is five points adrift of the top four with a possible six to play for and a third straight defeat would see him out of the reckoning for a Semi-Final spot on Friday.
The 2009 Premier League champion is without a win in his last five outings at the Marshall Arena and will be determined to stop the rot and give himself a fighting chance going into the two remaining nights of round-robin action.
Five-time champion Van Gerwen saw his run of three straight wins ended by ‘The Asp’ in a 8-3 defeat on Monday and will be targeting an immediate response against rival Gary Anderson.
Van Gerwen has not lost back-to-back games in this year’s Premier League so far and has remained in the top four since the opening night.
The Dutch sensation has finished top of the table and gone on to reach the final in seven of his eight previous Premier League campaigns and could be poised to go down to the wire in his latest quest.
Anderson held MVG to a 6-6 draw on Night Seven but knows that only maximum points from their latest encounter will realistically be sufficient to keep his play-off hopes alive.
The two-time Premier League winner is four points adrift of Jonny Clayton in fourth spot and is in danger of missing out on Finals Night for the first time since 2013.
Anderson was thrashed 8-1 by Clayton despite averaging 104 on Monday, a scoreline which put a severe dent in his legs difference, meaning he is now 18 legs worse off than the Welshman.
Clayton now has destiny in his own hands after leapfrogging Dimitri van den Bergh into fourth, moving a point clear and just one point adrift of the leaders.
The reigning Masters Champion now faces fellow debutant Jose De Sousa in a what could prove to be a pivotal clash in the race for the play-offs.
The duo are locked level on 16 points apiece and would retain their places in the top four with a win, or a draw providing Van den Bergh does not win 8-0 or 8-1.
Clayton adjusted superbly to the return of fans last night and will be out to replicate the form which led him to a 7-3 success over ‘The Special One’ on Night Three with a 105.2 average.
De Sousa averaged 108.5 on that occasion and has since continued his prolific scoring power, taking his 180 tally to 69 en route to a five-game unbeaten run.
The final match of the night sees reigning World Matchplay champion Van den Bergh take on 2020 World Champion Peter Wright.
Van den Bergh’s 8-6 defeat to De Sousa last night saw him drop out of the play-off places for the first time since Night One, having won just one of his last five games.
The Belgian ace will be keen to bounce back and avoid becoming cut adrift from the leading pack with just two nights remaining before the cut-off.
He faces a familiar opponent with whom he was a house guest during the first lockdown last year and attributed much of his recent success to the influence of Wright.
Like Wade, Wright is facing a ‘must win’ scenario which would see him eliminated with a defeat and needing a mathematical miracle if he were to draw.
The colourful Scot defeated Wade 8-4 to end a three-game losing streak, averaging 98.7 in a much-improved display in front of the fans.
The reverse fixture saw the pair play out a 6-6 draw on Night Two and a repeat result would do neither a favour given their respective positions.
Night 14 of Premier League Darts gets under way from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 14 legs. Two points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw.
Premier League Darts 2021 Night 14 Schedule
Tuesday May 25
7.15pm James Wade v Nathan Aspinall
8.00pm Jonny Clayton v Jose de Sousa
8.45pm Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
9.30pm Peter Wright v Dimitri Van den Bergh