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Van Gerwen coasts to Players Championship Three triumph

Van Barneveld battles back to hold Price as Gurney denies Durrant in Glasgow

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 14 Feb 2019
Van Barneveld salutes the Glasgow faithful (credit:Steve Welsh/PDC)
Raymond van Barneveld battled back from 6-2 down to earn his first point of his final Premier League campaign against Gerwyn Price in Glasgow, while Daryl Gurney produced a strong display to defeat debutant Glen Durrant.
Crowd favourite Van Barneveld, appearing at the SSE Hydro for the final time before retiring at the end of the season, came from 4-1 and 6-2 down to snatch a share of the spoils with the Grand Slam champion.
Price, who registered his first ever Unibet Premier League win on opening night in Newcastle last Thursday, was left to rue what might have been as he squandered four match darts across three legs.
“From 6-2 you have to be happy with a point, I couldn’t have done it without the crowd – they were amazing as always,” said Van Barneveld.
“I feel really proud of myself to get that point, I want to enjoy my last Premier League campaign and I think tonight was the start of that.
“Maybe I beat a couple of demons in my head tonight.”
Clinical finishing proved to be the difference for Gurney as he missed just two darts at double in defeating three-time Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant 7-3.
Durrant was making his first televised appearance since securing his PDC Tour Card last month and gave a fine account of himself, averaging 99, but was ultimately punished for missed doubles at crucial times.
A brace of 121 checkouts from Players Champion Gurney helped him on his way to a 5-1 lead, before Durrant missed two darts at double 18 to allow the Northern Irishman to finish 78 to secure at least a point.
Durrant landed double 16 and an 81 checkout to close the gap to 6-3, but a 14-darter on double 16 sealed the deal for Gurney in the following leg.
“I know I can outscore anybody but I’ve been doing a lot of practising on my finishing and I think that showed tonight,” said Gurney.
“I really needed the win to get some points on the board because if I’d lost tonight then the pressure would’ve been on me, so now I can look to kick on and do some damage in this competition.”
Four-time Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen became the only player to maintain their perfect start to the competition as he overcame Mensur Suljovic 7-3.
The reigning World Champion raced into a 3-0 lead, before Suljovic showed resistance to get himself back within a leg of the Dutchman at 3-2.
That was as close as the World Matchplay finalist came to restoring parity, however, as Van Gerwen reeled off four of the next five legs to go top of the table.
“I wasn’t playing well in practice and I wasn’t at my best tonight but a win is a win and overall I’m happy with my game,” said Van Gerwen.
“I did what I had to do at the key moments and now I’m top of the table I want to stay there, but there’s a long way to go.”
An entertaining opening fixture saw Peter Wright fight back from 4-1 down to earn a 6-6 draw against Michael Smith.
Last year’s finalist Smith, who landed six 180s in the contest, stormed into a commanding three-leg advantage and was averaging over 20 points more than his opponent.
Home favourite Wright then sprung into life, winning four of the next five legs to make it all-square at 5-5 after Smith missed six darts to secure a point.
Wright found double 16 once again to go in to the lead and guarantee a point, but Smith held his nerve in the final leg, finding double six with his last dart in hand to ensure a share of the spoils.
Former World Champion Rob Cross produced a ton-plus average for the second week running in his 7-4 triumph over James Wade.
Cross, who reached the Play-Offs in 2018, missed doubles early on in the piece and was typically punished by a clinical Wade but fought back to level at 3-3.
World number two Cross hit the bull for a magnificent 85 finish to go 5-3 in front, and that turned out to be the turning point as Cross made no mistakes from thereon in, ending the match with an impressive 102.58 average.
“I missed a few darts early, maybe there were a few nerves but I’ve been working hard on my game and it’s paying off,” said Cross.
“I lost my smile last year, everything was difficult for me in my first Premier League season, it’s a ruthless competition but this year I’m playing properly and I’m enjoying it.”

Unibet Premier League 2019 Results

Night Two – Thursday February 14
Peter Wright 6-6 Michael Smith
Rob Cross 7-4 James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney 7-3 Glen Durrant
Mensur Suljovic 3-7 Michael van Gerwen

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