The jostling for position continues in the 2020 Premier League on Saturday with a further four fascinating fixtures in the…
The jostling for position continues in the 2020 Premier League on Saturday with a further four fascinating fixtures in the offing.
In what is shaping up to be one of the most closely-matched stagings of the elite invitational, just one point separates second from sixth in a congested league table.
The opening four days in Milton Keynes have provided high quality, drama and controversy, and more the same cannot be discounted this weekend.
Glen Durrant has taken the competition by storm in his debut season and is showing little sign of relenting at the top of the table.
The three-time BDO World Champion has opened up a four point lead at the summit and is already within a potential three points of securing his place in the play-offs.
Durrant enters his clash with Gary Anderson on the back of three consecutive wins, having stretched his unbeaten run to six Premier League games since before the enforced break in action.
The tenacious Teessider, who reached the Semi-Finals of the recent World Matchplay, appears to be thriving in the unique conditions at the Marshall Arena and has registered three ton-plus averages and a 98.5 so far this week.
Anderson is looking to avenge his 7-4 defeat in the reverse fixture back in February, having also enjoyed an impressive four days so far.
The two-time Premier League champion has recorded three wins from four, climbing into the play-off places as one of three players level on 12 points.
Michael van Gerwen bounced back from successive defeats by edging past Nathan Aspinall 8-6 on Friday, and now aims to continue his revival when he faces Gerwyn Price in a box office show-down.
Van Gerwen, who has never lost more than four matches in an entire league campaign, has already suffered four defeats in his opening ten games to leave him four points adrift of top spot.
The world number one has finished top and gone on to reach the final in all seven of his previous Premier League appearances and will be determined to maintain that prolific record.
Despite recovering from 4-1 down to deny Aspinall, question marks remain over the Dutchman’s form and confidence, but he will look to give himself a boost by adding to his dominant record over the Welshman.
Van Gerwen has won 21 and drawn one of their previous 24 meetings, including victories in the UK Open final and the reverse fixture in the Premier League this year.
By his own admission, Price has struggled to adapt behind closed doors conditions on Milton Keynes and was beaten 8-4 by Durrant on Friday with an average of just 93.5.
The back-to-back Grand Slam champion had recorded 7-1 and 7-0 thrashings of Anderson and Jermaine Wattimena in the previous evenings, but has now dropped to seventh in the table and three points adrift of the play-off places.
Price was critical of Durrant in the aftermath of Friday’s defeat and apologised for comments he made on social media, but will look to put that behind him and make headlines for the right reasons here.
Michael Smith aims to avenge his gut-wrenching defeat to Nathan Aspinall 48 hours ago when the pair collide again over the slightly extended format.
Smith squandered eight darts at doubles in the final leg and was subsequently beaten 7-5 by ‘The Asp’, but bounced back with a win over Daryl Gurney the following evening.
Smith, who has hit more 180s than any other player in the league so far, is one point outside of the top four and ahead of Aspinall by virtue of legs difference.
Aspinall will feel he blew a golden chance to make it successive Premier League wins over MVG last night, losing seven of the last nine legs from 4-1 up.
The former UK Open and US Masters champion, however, remains firmly in the hunt for a top four spot and is second only to Smith in the overall 180s column.
The opening match of the night sees reigning World Champion Wright take on two-time major winner Gurney in a repeat of their Judgement Night clash.
Wright averaged 99 in a 7-4 success on Thursday, but defeat for Rob Cross meant that result was sufficient for Gurney to avoid elimination.
Wright was then left to ponder what could have been on Friday as he squandered a 5-2 lead in an eventual 8-5 defeat to fellow Scotsman Gary Anderson, with both players averaging 101.
That defeat saw Wright drop to third position, but a win here would see him remain in contention for top spot and the £25,000 bonus.
Gurney finds himself cut three points adrift of the pack following back-to-back defeats, propping up the pile on six points.
The Northern Irishman knows he can ill-afford to drop more points here if he is to have any chance of mounting a late push for the play-offs, having done so last season.
The action gets underway from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 14 legs.
Premier League Darts 2020 Match Schedule
Night 11 – Saturday August 29
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
7.15pm Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright
8.00pm Michael Smith v Nathan Aspinall
8.45pm Gary Anderson v Glen Durrant
9.30pm Michael van Gerwen v Gerwyn Price