Comment & Analysis @paulprenders
Coverage continues on Wednesday with Night Three of this year’s event – join us from 7pm on Sky Sports Action when Rob Cross vs MVG and Gary Anderson vs Peter Wright takes centre stage
Last Updated: 07/04/21 10:04am
Michael van Gerwen claimed he put Peter Wright in his pocket despite being far from his best in a 7-2 victory over Snakebite that saw him move to the top of the early Premier League table.
Van Gerwen is out to make amends for last year where he missed out on the Play-Offs for the first time but the five-time champion made an early statement with a comprehensive win over an out-of-sorts Snakebite, who had recently claimed that MVG would not win a TV title this year.
After an opening night that had featured four draws, Night Two was more decisive with Gary Anderson and Rob Cross picking up wins alongside first Premier League maximum returns for this year’s debutants Jonny Clayton and Dimitri Van den Bergh.
But it’s Van Gerwen who has the lead, courtesy of leg difference and a dominant victory over the man he seems to enjoy beating more than most.
Premier League Darts: Night Two results
|Gary Anderson 7-5 Jose De Sousa|
|Jonny Clayton 7-3 Glen Durrant|
|Dimitri Van den Bergh 7-5 Nathan Aspinall|
|Michael van Gerwen 7-2 Peter Wright|
|James Wade 3-7 Rob Cross|
Van Gerwen eases past below-par Wright
Five-time Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen blew away Peter Wright, but it was a performance that left both men asking questions despite the five-time champion’s 7-2 victory taking him top of the table.
Van Gerwen was unable to push his average much higher than the low 90s but he did not need to be much better as Wright, who again changed his darts mid-match, was unable to get above 90 himself.
The pair are used to playing out high-quality contest with three-figure averages, but both men’s form has been indifferent over the last 12 months.
Van Gerwen is yet to win a title this year, while Wright claimed the last event at the most recent Super Series events and that scratchy form was evident as the first four legs were shared.
Having edged in front at 3-2 when Snakebite missed darts for the lead himself, Van Gerwen produced the first moment of class to claim the sixth leg in 14 darts and another followed as the Dutchman moved towards the winning post.
He secured a point when he pinned double 16 and with Wright unable to find anything like his second or third gear, it was MVG who eased to the two points on offer – his first of this year’s tournament.
Anderson off and running with De Sousa triumph
Gary Anderson claimed his first victory of this year’s Premier League, finally ending the challenge of Jose de Sousa with his fourth match dart for a 7-5 victory.
Both men had kicked off this year’s event with a point on Monday and Anderson carried on where he left off with a brilliant three-dart finish. The Scot had taken out 156 to secure a point against James Wade and in the opening leg, the two-time champion fired in a 112 to hit the front.
De Sousa hit back to level but Anderson was imperious early on, reeling off three legs on the bounce with another big finish helping him into a 4-1 lead.
However, The Special One has proved to be a tough nut to crack over the last 18 months and in his first meeting with Anderson he fought back well to claim the next three himself with a 14-dart break of throw along the way.
Another draw looked on the cards for both as Anderson’s doubling faltered, but with a point already secured he cashed in on De Sousa’s three missed darts for a point to secure his first win in the quest for Premier League crown number three.
Premier League Darts: Night Three fixtures
|Rob Cross vs Michael van Gerwen|
|Glen Durrant vs Dimitri Van den Bergh|
|Peter Wright vs Gary Anderson|
|Nathan Aspinall vs James Wade|
|Jose De Sousa vs Jonny Clayton|
Ferret piles on the misery for defending champ Duzza
The form of Jonny Clayton and Glen Durrant has gone in opposite directions since the latter claimed his maiden televised title at last year’s Premier League.
By his own admission Duzza is lacking in confidence, while Clayton has thrived – winning the World Cup, The Masters and a couple of Pro Tour titles since October – and it was the Welshman who prospered again to register his first Premier League victory.
Durrant’s best chance early on came in the opening leg where both men took their time to get going, but when Clayton pinned the winning double for a 17-dart hold of throw he went from strength to strength.
The Ferret reeled off another four legs, including a brilliant 11-darter that was finished with a clinical 96 finish, and he was within two of the finishing line with an average north of 100.
Duzza managed to stop the rot, claiming three of the next five legs and picking up his pace and average, but Clayton was too far in front and the Ferret held firm to capture two points.
I’m down but not out
Can’t believe the nice messages I’ve received
Not a single nasty message, just people having that understanding that I’m going through a period of play that no player wants
You are keeping me strong and I thank you for that pic.twitter.com/uy9xNI3sS2
— Glen Durrant (@Duzza180) April 6, 2021
Dimitri dazzles to see off Asp
Dimitri Van den Bergh picked up a hugely impressive victory over last season’s runner-up Nathan Aspinall – rallying from 5-3 down to reel off four successive legs for his first victory of the league.
The Belgian, who won the Matchplay in this venue, got the better of a scrappy opening four legs to open up an early 3-1 advantage but a high-class fifth leg saw the match burst into life.
Aspinall took out a brilliant 144 finish to kickstart his night’s work and he added another three legs in a stunning run to lead 5-3 and stand on the brink of a victory that would have given him a perfect two wins from his opening two games.
But Van den Bergh kept his cool – fast becoming his trademark – and when The Asp missed a dart for 6-4 lead, the Dreammaker levelled the match at 5-5 with a 13-dart leg and then sealed a point with a stunning 11-dart leg.
A quality contest had a high-class finish when Aspinall raced towards the finish line to leave 52 after 12 darts in pursuit of a point, but Van den Bergh produced an ice-cool 87 finish on the bullseye to claim both points and a 7-5 success.
Voltage too good for Wade
Rob Cross maintained his unbeaten start to life in this season’s Premier League, putting his recent struggles behind him with a 7-2 victory over James Wade that saw him join a host of players on three points.
Voltage, eliminated on Judgement Night last year after reaching the final on his Premier League debut in 2019, fought back brilliantly to secure a point against Jose De Sousa on Monday night.
However, he bossed his match against The Machine from the outset moving into a 3-0 lead early on and while Wade stemmed the flow by claiming the fourth – two more quick legs followed as Cross moved to within one leg of another point.
Wade, a late replacement on Monday following Gerwyn Price’s positive test for coronavirus, managed to keep the contest alive when he took out 101 but it only delayed the inevitable as Cross claimed the win to keep an encouraging start going.
Cross will face the ultimate test, when he faces fellow early pacesetter Van Gerwen on Wednesday night.
Don’t miss an arrow thrown with Sky Sports as Premier League Darts continues on Wednesday at 7pm on Sky Sports Action – and stick with us through the week for updates, interviews and reaction from start of this year’s competition