The 2021 Premier League Darts season resumes in Milton Keynes on Monday for Night Six of the competition as the…
The 2021 Premier League Darts season resumes in Milton Keynes on Monday for Night Six of the competition as the run-in to Judgement Night gathers pace.
Come the end of Thursday’s action, the bottom two players in the league table will be eliminated from the tournament at the halfway stage, leaving the remaining eight to battle it out for play-off places.
As it stands, defending champion Glen Durrant is heading for an early exit, which could be confirmed as early as Tuesday if results go against him.
Durrant, who has struggled for form since contracting Covid-19 shortly after winning this title last October, endured a torrid first week at the Marshall Arena, losing each of his opening five matches.
No player has ever been eliminated from the Premier League without a point to their name, and the tenacious Teessider will be determined to ensure he averts that unwanted record.
However, his task becomes no easier as he takes on five-time champion Michael van Gerwen on Monday, with the Dutchman out to end his winless record against Duzza in televised competition.
Durrant prevailed in the 2019 World Matchplay and their opening Premier League encounter last season before the pair played out a 7-7 draw in the second fixture.
Van Gerwen, who missed out on the top four for the first time last season, has picked up six points so far, having lost to James Wade before drawing with Nathan Aspinall in his two most recent outings.
The world number two remains only a point adrift of top spot and will be demanding nothing less than two points from this fixture based on current form.
Jonny Clayton leads the way at the top of the table going into Week Two and the Welsh ace looks to maintain that position by overcoming fellow debutant Dimitri van den Bergh.
Clayton is clear at the summit with seven points and boasts the highest tournament average of 100.9, as well as a stunning nine-dart finish on Night Three.
The reigning Masters champion is looking to follow in the footsteps of Durrant – who finished top of the table last season before going on to lift the title in his debut campaign.
Van den Bergh has also settled superbly into Premier League life and starts the night in second spot as one of four players on six points.
The World Matchplay champion has a tournament average of 99.3 and a tournament high checkout of 164 to his name, with only Jose De Sousa having hit more 180s than the Belgian so far.
The opening match of the night sees two-time Premier League winner Gary Anderson take on 2019 runner-up Rob Cross.
Defeat for Anderson at the hands of Clayton before the break has left The Flying Scotsman looking over his shoulder in eighth spot, but he remains just one point outside the play-off places in a congested table.
Anderson boasts a dominant head-to-head record over Cross, having won ten of their previous 12 meetings, including each of their last four in televised competition.
Cross has proven a somewhat of a reformed player in this event so far and joins Anderson on five points – two more than he managed after nine games last season.
Playing with arguably a point to prove after a below-par 2020 by his standards, the former World Champion has already defeated Wade and Clayton and could take a huge step towards securing his place beyond Judgement Night with a further win here.
Meanwhile, a repeat of last November’s Grand Slam final sees Jose De Sousa take on James Wade.
A fascinating clash of styles sees the relentless scoring power of De Sousa come up against the clinical finishing of ‘The Machine’ – who is bidding to avenge his 16-12 defeat in that final.
De Sousa starts the night in the relegation places with four points, perhaps a harsh reflection on what has been a hugely impressive debut so far for the Portuguese star.
The highlight saw ‘The Special One’ hit a nine-darter on Night Four as well as a record-equalling tally of eleven 180s in a single Premier League match.
He went on to gain his first win at the fifth attempt by overcoming Van den Bergh with a 104.3 average and will be aiming to pick up from where he left off before the break.
Wade, the 2009 Premier League champion, is one of three players level on five points and enters the clash on the back of successive wins before the break.
The reigning UK Open champion will be out to improve on his tournament average of 92.2 as he bids to remain in and around the chasing pack for play-off places.
The final match of the night sees two Premier League finalists face off as Peter Wright meets Nathan Aspinall.
The duo met in last year’s Semi-Finals as Aspinall prevailed 10-7 in a cagey contest before falling short to Durrant in the final.
They have picked up six points apiece so far, with ‘The Asp’ having drawn his last two games and Wright unbeaten in his last three.
Wright leads the tournament checkout percentage chart with 49.12% ahead of Aspinall with 46.97%.
Premier League Darts Night Six gets under way from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 12 legs. Two points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw.
Premier League Darts 2021 Night Six Schedule
7.15pm Rob Cross v Gary Anderson
8.00pm Jose de Sousa v James Wade
8.45pm Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh
9.30pm Glen Durrant v Michael van Gerwen
10.15pm Nathan Aspinall v Peter Wright