Glen Durrant has vowed to “come back and fight” after his painful Premier League elimination.
The three-time Lakeside Champion endured a torrid title defence in Milton Keynes, losing all nine of his fixtures to finish rock bottom of the table.
He claimed an unwanted record of becoming the first player in Premier League history to fail to pick up a single point and averaged below 90 in each of his outings.
The Middlesbrough ace, whose struggle for form began just days after winning the Premier League last October when he contracted Covid-19, insists he will fight to get his career back on track.
Reflecting on Premier League elimination, Durrant told Unibet: “Disappointed is a real understatement.
“I’ve had the greatest moment in my darting life holding this magnificent trophy here and I’ve had just the worst two weeks of my darting life here.
“It’s been horrible, it’s been awful.
“I know there’s something fundementally wrong with my balance and my throw.
“My throw is just unrecognisable. I ask anyone to watch a YouTube video even from eight or nine months ago and my throw is a shadow of its former self.
“I’m very weak on the right-hand side, I’m struggling to hold my arm up, which I’m hoping is the problem.
“I’ve joined a gym, I’m going back swimming and I’m going to come back leaner, fitter and stronger.
“This is not the end of me right now, I’m determined to come back and fight for what is rightfully mine.”
Durrant was due to travel to Germany this weekend for PDC Super Series 3 but opted out of the trip for personal reasons.
He tweeted: ‘I’m defending lots of money this year but I’ve still made the decision not to go to Germany.
‘It could cost me Grand Prix/Players Champs but genuinely feel it’s the right decision.
‘I just want my wife and daughter right now and darts doesn’t seem to matter… FOR NOW.’
Earlier in the week, Peter Wright revealed he has invited Durrant as a guest at his home for a weekend in the run up to the World Matchplay.
Wright said: “I’ve been talking to Glen, trying to keep his head up. He’s a champion and he’ll be back, he’s quality.
“I’ve invited him, when everyone’s allowed in June, for a long weekend to come and stay with us and have some relaxing time and a couple of darts before the Matchplay.”
Glen Durrant has been withdrawn from this weekend’s International Darts Open after testing positive for Covid-19.
Durrant, who claimed Premier League glory in Coventry last week, travelled on to Germany to compete in the European Darts Grand Prix 48 hours later.
Since returning to the UK earlier this week, Durrant underwent a Covid-19 test which returned a positive result.
He was due to head to Riesa, Germany for this weekend’s International Darts Open but will now be required to isolate in line with Government guidelines.
All other event personnel required to test prior to, or on, their arrival in Riesa have recorded a negative test.
Durrant is currently among the provisional field for the European Championship, which is due to take place in Oberhausen from October 29 to November 1, but a minimum isolation period of ten days would mean he is also set to miss that event.
Dutchman Niels Zonneveld has also withdrawn from the International Open after earlier informing the PDC of his self-isolation requirements after receiving a positive test earlier this month.
Kyle Anderson, Peter Wright, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Ryan Murray have also withdrawn due to travel reasons.
As a result, eight places will be available from the Host Nation Qualifier in Riesa on Thursday evening to complete the 48-player field.
Adrian Lewis and Stephen Bunting will return to action this weekend after receiving negative results to Covid-19 tests this week, having tested positive ahead of the recent World Grand Prix.
Glen Durrant added his name to the Premier League Darts roll of honour in fairy-tale fashion by taking the title in his debut season.
The 49-year-old had finished top of the table following 16 nights of competition and followed that up by securing the trophy on a dramatic Finals Night in Coventry.
The tenacious Teessider battled his way past two-time champion Gary Anderson in a nervy opening Semi-Final which went the distance, before overcoming Nathan Aspinall 11-8 in the final.
He becomes only the sixth different winner of the sport’s most prestigious invitational since it began in 2005 and picks up a total pay-cheque of £275,000.
“It’s unbelievable,” said an emotional Durrant. “This supersedes everything I’ve achieved before.
“Tonight I feel like the best player in the world and I’ve never had that feeling before.
“I’m feeling absolutely fantastic, I’m ecstatic. This means an awful lot to my family, friends and supporters.
“It’s a mammoth achievement and it makes my move over to the PDC worthwhile.
“The game against Gary will go down as one of the worst games in Premier League Play-Offs history but I knew I couldn’t play that badly twice.
“I stepped my game up massively for the final and I knew I had to to beat Nathan, who is a consummate professional and will go on to achieve many great things in darts.”
Durrant had dug deep in a gruelling encounter against Anderson, surviving four match darts from the Scot before falling over the line in the deciding leg.
The three-time BDO World Champion dusted himself down an hour later and went toe-to-toe with Aspinall in a tight contest which saw both stand their ground on throw.
There was nothing to separate the pair after the opening 12 legs, but two legs later Durrant punished five missed doubles from Aspinall to open up an 8-6 lead.
A clinical 127 checkout followed for Durrant, but Aspinall replied with a gutsy 96 finish to stop the rot and stay alive.
However, Aspinall was unable to find a break of throw as Durrant closed out the win on his favourite double 16, prompting a huge outpour of emotion
Aspinall, who was also enjoying a sensational debut season in the competition, defeated reigning World Champion Peter Wright 10-7 in the Last Four.
He landed eight 180s to Durrant’s four in the final and averaged 92.15 to his opponent’s 91.8, but was ultimately left to rue 25 missed darts at doubles in total.
“Obviously, I’m absolutely mortified to lose,” said Aspinall. “After beating the World Champion I felt I had another gear and that I was going to win the final, but credit to Glen.
“He came top of the Premier League, he’s probably been the best player throughout the competition and he deserves to win it.
“It’s still been a great debut year for me and I’ll be back next year to go one better.”
Durrant’s victory also secures him a place in November’s Grand Slam of Darts and sees him become the latest new winner of a PDC major, having previously lost in four Semi-Finals since securing his Tour Card in January 2019.
Thursday October 15
Glen Durrant 10-9 Gary Anderson
Nathan Aspinall 10-7 Peter Wright
Glen Durrant 11-8 Nathan Aspinall
Glen Durrant ended Michael van Gerwen’s reign as World Series Finals champion with a 6-4 victory in the Last 16 in Salzburg on Saturday.
Van Gerwen had won four of the tournament’s five previous stagings, but was subjected to an early exit by his new rival, who claimed a fourth win in six over the Dutchman.
A 1,500 sell-out crowd at the Salzburgarena saw Van Gerwen and Durrant share the opening eight legs before a pivotal 68 checkout from the Middlesbrough marksman punished MVG’s miss at double 16.
Van Gerwen then squandered a dart at tops to force a decider, and Durrant needed no second invitation to take out that very double for another impressive win with a 102.5 average.
“That’s a great win for me,” said Durrant, who finished six doubles from nine attempts. “I felt good tonight and I knew what was at stake – I realised I was playing the best player in the world.
“He’s the biggest challenge in the world right now and the second greatest player who’s ever picked up a set of darts.
“My CV compared to him is a million miles away – I think I’ve got an issue in his head, and that could be with the pace, but that’s something he has to deal with, not me.
“I know I’m a good player but this has all come really quickly. I’ve got to be really proud and I believe I’m up there with the best double hitters in the world right now. I’m in a fantastic place.”
James Wade, the 2018 champion, will face Durrant in the Last Eight after he opened up with a 6-3 victory over Canada’s Jeff Smith.
Smith fired in finishes of 123 and 111 as he levelled at two apiece, but Wade took the next three legs, including a 102 checkout, to pull clear, before closing out a solid victory with a 97 average.
“It was quite nice to play in front of a crowd, it was good fun,” said the number eight seed. “Perhaps the break has done me the world of good in some ways, and I’m grateful to be back.”
Gerwyn Price’s bid to win a third successive tournament began in superb fashion as the world number three averaged 102 in a 6-3 win over Vincent van der Voort.
Price’s break of throw in the opening leg proved crucial in putting him into the ascendancy, and after the pair traded 13-darters in mid-match the Welsh ace posted a 124 finish and then sealed victory with a 14-dart leg.
“I was under pressure all the way through the game but I stuck to my game and got over the winning line,” said Price.
“I knew I was in for a tough game but thankfully he wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I’m still playing well but I need to be on my A-game against Nathan.
“It’s nice to have the crowd back, I was enjoying it and it was a bit different. It was a little bit jittery in parts but I enjoyed it.”
Nathan Aspinall raced into the Quarter-Finals with a 6-1 demolition of Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas, who was only afforded one dart at a double.
Aspinall opened the tie with a 14-darter before taking out 142 to double his lead, while an 11-darter gave him the third before Labanauskas hit back by taking out 72 on tops.
However, Aspinall restored his cushion before following up a 13-darter with a 100 finish to move into Sunday’s final stages with a 101 average.
“I played well and I’m into the final day,” said Aspinall. “I used the five days in Germany as preparation for this weekend and I want to do the job – my target is to win it this weekend.
“I love playing in front of the crowd and the fans make the sport so good. We’ve missed them and tonight was special – I loved every minute of it.
“I was looking forward to it so much to play in front of people again. It felt like my TV debut again, I had butterflies before I walked on, and it’s one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in my career.”
World Champion Peter Wright overcame the challenge of Australian ace Damon Heta, enjoying a 6-3 win as he set up a clash with Daryl Gurney.
The Scot benefitted from the better start, finishing 70, 68 on the bull and double 16 as he took the first three legs to move halfway to victory.
Heta won three of the next five, but Wright followed up legs of 14 and 12 darts with a 13-darter as he wrapped up victory with a 101 average.
“It was okay – I wanted to go up and do better than that, but to get the win was the most important thing,” said Wright.
“It was amazing to have the fans back. I interacted with the crowd and they were fantastic.”
Gurney averaged an impressive 102 as he overcame Cody Harris 6-2 to book his spot on the final day in Salzburg.
The two-time World Series finalist produced checkouts of 107 and 124, landed two 14-darters and a 13-dart leg as he opened up a 5-2 lead, before ending the New Zealander’s hopes on tops in leg eight.
“I played well tonight, and as long as you’re winning that’s all that matters,” said Gurney.
“I’ve got to get used to playing in front of a crowd again, tonight there was an extra incentive because you want to go out there and put in a performance.
“I played okay in the Autumn Series and I’ve been trying to be more positive in myself. For the last year and a half I’ve been practising the best I’ve ever practised and I’ve not been taking it onto stage.
“Tonight I felt a lot fresher but I’m still learning and the best’s still to come.”
Rob Cross produced the night’s most dominant display by whitewashing an out of sorts Steve Beaton 6-0.
Cross denied Beaton a dart at a double in the opening five legs – finishing 90 in the opener and a 12-darter in leg three – before punishing four misses from the former Lakeside Champion to close out the win.
“I feel really good,” said Cross. “I’ve changed my set-up and my practice game is so much better than I showed tonight, but I’m glad to get the win.
“I enjoyed it. It was a little bit weird with Steve not playing his best, but it was amazing to have the crowd again. I can look forward to tomorrow now.”
Cross will now face Michael Smith after the 2018 finalist edged out Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 to progress to the final day.
Smith hit back from a leg down to lead 2-1, only to see the Polish ace take three of the next four to regain the advantage at 4-3.
However, double 14 for Smith levelled before he crucially broke in leg nine on tops, before hitting the same bed for a second successive 14-darter as he sealed his place in the last eight.
“I’m feeling good,” said Smith. “It was a bit of a struggle but I managed to keep my cool and finally get there in the end.”
Saturday September 19
James Wade 6-3 Jeff Smith
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Darius Labanauskas
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Cody Harris
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Rob Cross 6-0 Steve Beaton
Peter Wright 6-3 Damon Heta
Glen Durrant 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Gerwyn Price has issued an apology to Glen Durrant over comments he made on social media following defeat in the Premier League on Friday.
Price was beaten 8-4 by league leader Durrant in the opening match of the night at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
The Welshman took to Facebook shortly after coming off stage, posting:
He later deleted the post and tweeted a direct apology to Durrant on Saturday morning:
Want to publicly apologise to @Duzza180 the better man won I need to stay off socials for an hour after games. Playing day after day against the best 9 players in the world is high intensity and sometimes it gets too much. Onto tonight and a fresh start.
— Gerwyn Price (@Gezzyprice) August 29, 2020
The pair played out a frosty encounter in which they appeared to briefly exchange words during the latter stages of the contest.
Durrant, however, played down any possible needle between the two after the game, telling Live Darts: “People have said that there was an exchange between us, I’m not sure what people are talking about.
“There was nothing from my point of view.
“I totally enjoy playing him, you’re in the heat of battle with him.
“If I’ve roared and I’ve upset him then I’ll apologise but for 18 months I’ve talked really nice about Gerwyn and that’s not going to change.
“Hopefully there’s no problems from his point of view, because there’s none from mine.”
Durrant claimed his third straight win to remain four points clear at the top of the table and five clear of fifth spot as he looks to reach the play-offs in his debut campaign.
Despite averaging under 100 (98.5) for the first time since Tuesday’s restart, ‘Duzza’ kept his opponent at arm’s length throughout the contest.
Finishes of 140 and 116 from Price were not enough to spark a fire in the below-par Welshman as he suffered a second loss of the campaign to the Teessider.
Durrant now faces Gary Anderson on Saturday, while Price takes on defending champion Michael van Gerwen in another mouth-watering clash.
Glen Durrant pulled off a dominant 7-3 victory over Michael van Gerwen to go clear at the top of the Premier League table on Wednesday, as Daryl Gurney climbed off the bottom with a second successive win.
Durrant and Van Gerwen had entered their highly-anticipated clash locked level on ten points, but the tenacious Teessider produced another superb display to remain unbeaten against the world number three after three meetings.
Durrant, who was labelled as “boring” by the defending champion heading into the match, let his darts do the talking as he averaged 104.4 with 58 per cent on the doubles.
“The ‘boring’ word was the one that was highlighted but I think I’ve got his respect and it’s a big win for me,” said Durrant.
“Whatever sport you’re in, it’s special to beat the best player in the world and this is up there with any night in my career.
“Michael’s the best player in the world right now and the second best player ever to pick up a dart, and tonight I beat him.
“It’s amazing – I’ve got so much respect for him and I’m going to enjoy the moment.
“I feel that I’m right up there now as one of the top ten in the world and I’m only going to get better.
“I’m top of the Premier League and I’m proud of that, but I just want to stay in the top four now and make sure I’m in the Play-Offs.”
After sharing the opening four legs, Durrant lit the fuse with a magnificent 167 checkout to break the throw and go ahead.
That sparked a run of four straight legs, including a 90 checkout in leg eight, to guarantee a point and move clear at 6-2.
Van Gerwen clawed one back, but it was only delaying the inevitable as Durrant finished 62 to secure a huge win.
Meanwhile, Rob Cross is left propping up the Premier League table going into Judgement Night on Thursday after a 7-3 defeat to Michael Smith.
Having suffered a 7-2 defeat to Van Gerwen on Tuesday, Cross now finds himself one point adrift of safety, with Durrant to face on Judgement Night as he bids to avoid elimination.
Cross was under pressure going into his tie with Smith, with Daryl Gurney having just seen off Nathan Aspinall 7-5 to move above him in the league table as things stood.
Smith raced into a 3-0 lead, but Cross showed some resilience – including a sublime 143 checkout – to level at 3-3 and give himself a lifeline.
However, he was unable to use that checkout as a turning point, and Smith regained his composure to string together four straight legs to leave ‘Voltage’ staring elimination in the face.
“I’ve turned up this week and tried every time I’ve gone up there but it’s not happened and I suppose that’s darts,” admitted Cross.
“I missed a fair few doubles. Off the top of I’ve missed 32 twice with three darts in my hand, which is unforgivable.
“I’m looking forward to the game with Glen and it’s nice to be back playing.”
Gurney’s Premier League revival has come courtesy of back-to-back wins to resurrect what looked a doomed campaign ahead of the enforced break due the coronavirus pandemic.
The Northern Irish ace had claimed just two draws in the opening six weeks in February and March, but having seen off Challenger Chris Dobey on Tuesday, he backed up that success with a hard-fought 7-5 victory over former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall.
In a tense start, the pair traded the opening six legs before Gurney – who had landed a 144 checkout in leg four – found his rhythm and moved into a 5-3 lead.
Gurney then guaranteed a point at 6-4, but Aspinall once again piled on the pressure as he moved within one leg at 6-5.
However, a strong final leg, finished with an 82 checkout, saw Gurney clinch a valuable two points and improve his leg difference over Cross.
“Before this week started I wanted to win my three games and if I get eliminated then so be it,” said Gurney. “I’ve won two games so it’s so far, so good.
“I was taking out some finishes with my last dart, there was the 144 and I think a 68 which really hurt him. I’m glad to play a game for once that was as good as I’ve been practising.
“I hung in there and took my opportunities. If I can keep that up, I’ll be hard to beat. I’ve got Peter Wright tomorrow and if I can win that, I’ll be very happy – there’s not much more I can do.”
Gerwyn Price effectively secured his survival with a thumping 7-1 victory over Gary Anderson to kick off Night Eight, meaning that he now needs just one leg from his Judgement Night tie with Jermaine Wattimena to ensure a place in the second half of the season.
Anderson – who cruised past Smith with a 109 average on Tuesday – struggled to get going as Price quickly raced into a 4-0 lead.
The Scot had his one shining moment as a 116 checkout gave him his one and only leg, but Price quickly rattled off the remaining three to secure a huge two points.
“I needed to win to put the pressure on the other players and I’ve done that,” said Price. “I’m still under pressure and it still depends on other results but I just want to prepare and try to win tomorrow now.
“I’m happy with the win – 7-1 is a bit flattering but I think I deserved to win. I don’t think Gary played particularly well but I got ahead of him early, put him under pressure and took my chances.
“I’m playing well, I just need to be a little bit more confident. Having five months off, you need games to get yourself going and I just need to play more regularly.”
In the final game of the night, Wright kept up his charge on the Play-Off places as he comfortably saw off Challenger Jeffrey De Zwaan 7-1 to move into third place, level on ten points with Van Gerwen.
A stunning 130 checkout was the crowning moment for the World Champion as he rarely looked troubled, cruising to victory with a 102 average.
“I saw the other results earlier so I knew I had to get a big win and I’m happy with that,” said Wright.
“If you give Jeffrey a sniff he’ll trounce you – he’s beaten Michael in two big matches and he’s a quality player. I had to try and pounce on him as much as possible.
“There’s loads more to come with the darts I’m using at the moment; I can hit more 180s, I finished well tonight and I’m excited about the future with them.”
Thursday plays host to Judgement Night, with the bottom-placed player set to be eliminated following the five fixtures at the Marshall Arena.
Night Eight – Wednesday August 26
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Gary Anderson 1-7 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 5-7 Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith 7-3 Rob Cross
Michael van Gerwen 3-7 Glen Durrant
Peter Wright 7-1 Jeffrey de Zwaan (C)
Glen Durrant has entered the world’s top 20 for the first time following the latest pair of Players Championship events.
Durrant, who secured a PDC Tour Card in January 2019, has climbed to 20th in the main Order of Merit with a further ten months of prize money to be added to his tally.
As well as winning two ranking titles, ‘Duzza’ reached three major Semi-Finals in his debut season on the PDC circuit and was a quarter-finalist in December’s World Championship.
The Middlesbrough ace is now less than £20,000 adrift of the elite top 16, which appears a formality given that he has no prize money to defend for the remainder of the season.
Meanwhile, Stephen Bunting has leapfrogged Jonny Clayton into 16th spot after reaching the Semi-Finals of Players Championship Six combined with back-to-back First Round exits for the Welshman.
Brendan Dolan has climbed back into the world’s top 32 at the expense of Steve West, while Krzysztof Ratajski occupies 18th spot and continues to close the gap on those above him.
A resurgent Devon Petersen, who is battling to save his Tour Card for the third season running, is up to 57th after reaching the Semi-Finals and the Last 16 over the weekend.
Former World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis has slipped to 58th but did pick up ranking prize money (£1,500) on Saturday for the first time since October.
Six new Tour Card holders are yet to register any prize money from the opening six Players Championship events of the season.
|Position||Name||Total Prize Money|
|1||Michael van Gerwen||£1,582,500|
|21||Jeffrey de Zwaan||£234,750|
|29||Dimitri Van den Bergh||£184,750|
|34||Vincent van der Voort||£153,500|
|52||Benito van de Pas||£76,000|
|60||Jose de Sousa||£67,250|
|84||Vincent van der Meer||£10,000|
|93||Mike van Duivenbode||£6,500|
|94||Dirk van Duijvenbode||£5,500|
|105||Kai Fan Leung||£2,000|
|105||Mike De Decker||£2,000|
|124||Jitse van der Wal||£1,000|
|127||Martin Atkins (Wigan)||£500|