The four play-off places could be finalised on Night 15 of the 2021 Premier League Darts season in Milton Keynes…
The four play-off places could be finalised on Night 15 of the 2021 Premier League Darts season in Milton Keynes on Wednesday.
The league phase enters its penultimate night at the Marshall Arena, with five players vying for the three remaining places in Friday’s Semi-Finals.
Michael van Gerwen became the first player to mathematically clinch a place in the play-offs on Tuesday when he defeated rival Gary Anderson to reach 19 points and return to the top of the table.
Van Gerwen has now qualified for Finals Night in eight of his nine Premier League appearances and is out to seal top spot and the £25,000 winner’s bonus for the eighth time.
The five-time Premier League champion would rubber-stamp top spot with a night to spare if he was to defeat Jose De Sousa and Nathan Aspinall was to lose to Gary Anderson.
Van Gerwen defeated De Sousa 7-4 with a 104.7 average in their reverse fixture on Night Eight and will be eyeing a repeat performance as he looks to build up a head of steam going into Friday’s finals.
De Sousa may be renowned for his mathematical errors on the oche, but he faces a simple equation here; win and he is through to the play-offs in his debut campaign.
The Portuguese star could also go through with a point if Dimitri van den Bergh is beaten by James Wade earlier in the evening.
Van den Bergh is in the midst of an untimely run of three straight defeats and just one win in his last six which has left him a point adrift of the top four.
The World Matchplay champion, however, averaged 107 despite defeat to Peter Wright from 5-3 up on Tuesday and will be keen to replicate that scoring power against an opponent playing without pressure.
Wade’s winless run of six games has ended his hopes of gatecrashing the top four, but the 2009 champion will be looking to go out on a high and put on a show for the fans.
The UK Open champion took the final two legs to salvage a 7-7 draw with Nathan Aspinall on Tuesday with a 101.8 average – his sixth ton-plus average of the campaign.
Last year’s beaten finalist Aspinall, meanwhile, can secure a second successive play-off appearance with victory over his darting idol Gary Anderson.
Aspinall could also progress if he draws and Van den Bergh draws, or if the Belgian fails to pick up a point.
Aspinall has spent 13 of the 14 nights so far inside the top four and an eighth win of the season would see him eclipse last year’s tally of 19 points.
Anderson, on the other hand, is playing for pride after seeing his hopes of making the play-offs ended following a second successive defeat last night.
The 2011 and 2015 Premier League champion is currently bottom of the table on 12 points but could still finish as high as fifth, which would mean a £20,000 difference in prize money.
The opening match of the night sees Masters Champion Jonny Clayton take on European Champion Peter Wright.
Both players are still in the running for a Semi-Final spot, though fourth placed Clayton has destiny in his own hands knowing that a win, coupled with a defeat for Van den Bergh, would see him qualify.
The Welshman is out to bounce back from his 8-5 defeat to De Sousa 24 hours ago by ruining Wright’s hopes of a miraculous great escape.
Wright, the 2017 runner-up, has raised his game considerably following the return of fans and is now eyeing a third straight win to pile the pressure on The Ferret.
The Scot is three points adrift of Clayton, meaning only a win would be sufficient for Snakebite to take it down to the final night of round-robin fixtures
The pair played out a high quality 6-6 draw on the opening night last month, with Clayton averaging 105.5 to Wright’s 101.2.
Night 15 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 15 Schedule
Wednesday May 26
7.15pm Jonny Clayton v Peter Wright
8.00pm James Wade v Dimitri Van den Bergh
8.45pm Gary Anderson v Nathan Aspinall
9.30pm Jose de Sousa v Michael van Gerwen