Jonny Clayton and Dimitri van den Bergh will battle it out for the final play-off place on Night 16 of…
Jonny Clayton and Dimitri van den Bergh will battle it out for the final play-off place on Night 16 of the 2021 Premier League Darts campaign on Thursday.
The race to reach finals night is set to go down to the wire in Milton Keynes as the debutant duo face off for the right to clinch the last remaining spot.
Michael van Gerwen, Nathan Aspinall and Jose De Sousa have already secured their place in Friday’s Semi-Finals, leaving Van den Bergh and Clayton to tussle for the final coveted place.
The pair go head-to-head in the final match of the evening, with Clayton needing just a point to progress, while Van den Bergh must win.
Both players enter the night on 16 points, but Clayton’s superior legs difference gives him the upper-hand as he bids to continue his landmark season so far.
The reigning Masters Champion, however, goes into the game on the back of successive defeats, having lost 8-5 to both De Sousa and Peter Wright over the last 48 hours.
Van den Bergh, meanwhile, has also struggled for results of late, claiming just one point from his last four matches despite three ton-plus averages in the process.
The World Matchplay champion spent 11 of the opening 12 nights inside the top four but now faces the prospect of missing out on the play-offs barring a timely seventh win of the season.
Elsewhere, Michael van Gerwen aims to wrap up top spot and the £25,000 bonus by avoiding defeat to rival Peter Wright.
Van Gerwen needs at least a draw to be sure of finishing top but will be confirmed as league winner if Nathan Aspinall fails to win his match earlier in the evening.
Van Gerwen has clinched top spot in seven of his eight previous Premier League appearances and has gone on to reach the final on all seven of those occasions.
The Dutch star has won five of his last six Premier League games and is out to do the double over Wright, having coasted to a 7-2 victory in their previous meeting on Night Two.
Wright has enjoyed a superb return to form in front of the fans this week, winning all three of his matches, but Snakebite’s surge has proved to be too little, too late in terms of his play-off hopes.
The 2017 finalist would end on 17 points were he to win, but Clayton and Van den Bergh’s encounter means the Scot can only finish as high as fifth.
Last year’s beaten finalist Aspinall looks to apply the pressure on MVG in his quest for top spot by overcoming Grand Slam champion De Sousa.
Aspinall must win and hope that Van Gerwen loses to Wright in order to snatch top spot and become only the fourth different player in Premier League history to do so.
The 2019 UK Open champion has picked up a win and two draws this week but may be left to rue missed opportunities having led the table for a third of the campaign.
De Sousa has enjoyed a dream debut campaign, having notably hit a nine-darter and a record-equalling 11 maximums in a match, and will be keen to go into finals night on the back of a strong performance.
An 8-6 defeat to MVG on Thursday ended The Special One’s six-match unbeaten run, though he still averaged 100.8 in a solid display and missed two darts at doubles to claim a point.
The opening match of the night sees former champions Gary Anderson and James Wade bidding to end their campaign on a high.
Both players are unable to make the play-offs but will be keen to put on a show for the crowd and avoid finishing bottom of the pile.
Two defeats and a draw for Anderson this week ended his hopes of a seventh consecutive play-off qualification, while Wade has gone seven games without a win and has drawn five of his 15 matches.
Night 16 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 16 Schedule
Thursday May 27
7.15pm Gary Anderson v James Wade
8.00pm Nathan Aspinall v Jose de Sousa
8.45pm Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
9.30pm Dimitri Van den Bergh v Jonny Clayton