Coverage continues on Friday with the final night of the first round of matches – join us from 7pm on Sky Sports Action when hopes will be high of a third nine-dart leg in as many nights
Last Updated: 09/04/21 10:32am
Jose de Sousa fired the Premier League’s second nine-darter in as many nights on his way to a draw with Nathan Aspinall, as he also equalled the record for 180s in a Premier League match.
The Portuguese thrower, nicknamed The Special One, watched on as Jonny Clayton achieved the perfect leg against him on Wednesday – but he was inspired in an astonishing display of scoring against last season’s runner-up.
De Sousa achieved the feat when he levelled the match at 1-1 before he went on to fire in 11 maximum 180s in total to equal Gary Andersons’s 2011 record. But to his credit, Aspinall stayed in the match and earned a point after De Sousa missed a dart for the match.
At the top of the table, despite a draw against Peter Wright, Dimitri Van den Bergh broke clear of Michael van Gerwen and Jonny Clayton who both dropped points in defeats to James Wade and Rob Cross respectively.
Premier League Darts: Night Four results
|Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-6 Peter Wright|
|Jonny Clayton 3-7 Rob Cross|
|Jose de Sousa 6-6 Nathan Aspinall|
|James Wade 7-3 Michael van Gerwen|
|Gary Anderson 7-2 Glen Durrant|
De Sousa strikes perfection but Asp rallies for draw
Jose de Sousa was forced to settle for a point against Nathan Aspinall despite firing the 12th nine-dart finish in Premier League history and equalling the tournament record for 180s.
Twenty-four hours after he walked into a Clayton whirlwind, De Sousa dished out a perfect leg of his own amid a barrage of huge scoring but The Asp stood firm to pinch a point in a thrilling contest.
Aspinall won the opener, as De Sousa fired in two 180s before busting his score, but in the very next leg, he mirrored the 180 feat and added the traditional 141 finish on double 12 to seal his nine-dart moment of glory.
The pair traded the next four legs, De Sousa averaging 108 and breaking in the eighth for the first two-leg advantage of the contest.
Errant doubling crept into both men’s game as Aspinall clawed back the deficit to level the contest.
De Sousa fired his 11th 180 to equal Anderson’s maximum record, securing his point in the process, only to miss a dart at bullseye for the match to allow a gutsy Aspinall to claim a share of the spoils.
For all his heroics, De Sousa remains winless in his debut season but his memorable moment on Night Four will ensure his first Premier League campaign will be remembered.
Premier League – Nine-Dart finishes
|2006||Raymond van Barneveld vs Peter Manley||BIC, Bournemouth|
|2010||Raymond van Barneveld vs Terry Jenkins||AECC, Aberdeen|
|2010||Phil Taylor x2 vs James Wade||Wembley Arena – final|
|2012||Phil Taylor vs Kevin Painter||AECC, Aberdeen|
|2012||Simon Whitlock vs Andy Hamilton||The O2, London – semi-finals|
|2016||Adrian Lewis vs James Wade||The SSE Arena, Belfast|
|2017||Adrian Lewis vs Raymond van Barneveld||Echo Arena, Liverpool|
|2020||Michael Smith vs Daryl Gurney||3Arena, Dublin|
|2020||Peter Wright vs Daryl Gurney||Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes|
|2021||Jonny Clayton vs Jose de Sousa||Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes|
|2021||Jose de Sousa vs Nathan Aspinall||Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes|
Wade dishes out Van Gerwen hammering
James Wade finally stirred into life after his late call-up to the field, dishing out a 7-3 hammering of Michael van Gerwen in a superb display that featured three 100+ finishes from The Machine.
After a draw on opening night, 2009 champion Wade had suffered defeats to Rob Cross and Nathan Aspinall to start his return to the Premier League slowly. However, he took full advantage of an out of sorts Van Gerwen.
The Dutchman, a five-time champion of this tournament, had looked to be returning to his best with wins over Peter Wright and Cross but he missed eight crucial darts at double and averaged just over 90 in his first defeat this week.
Wade set the tone in the opener, taking out 120 for the early lead and while Van Gerwen levelled up it was The Machine who opened up an early 3-1 advantage,
Both legs came after MvG missed two darts at double and his troubles continued in the fourth when he missed another two at the outer ring and Wade pounced for a three-leg cushion.
A 110 finish stopped the rot for Van Gerwen, but Wade was even better taking 121 to lead 5-2 and two legs later secure his point with a 15-dart leg that ended with a sizzling 135 check-out.
Wade missed a dart at tops for victory but Van Gerwen couldn’t punish him with a missed dart at bullseye that allowed Wade to wrap up a one-sided victory.
Wright battles back to deny Dimitri
Dimitri Van den Bergh and Peter Wright shared a house for the first months of the first lockdown last year and 12 months on they shared the points and 12 maximum 180s in a high-class start to Night Four.
Van den Bergh was the dominant player throughout but Snakebite battled bravely, rescuing a point when he won the final leg in 12 darts for a share of the points.
Van den Bergh stayed with Wright and his wife after travel restrictions prevented him from returning to Belgium last March but there was no room for sentiment early as The Dreammaker moved into a 3-1 lead.
A barrage of 180s were accompanied by finishes of 110 and 160 to boss the opening legs. Wright hit back with a sparkling 121 for a break of his own before Van den Bergh re-established his two-leg advantage.
However, he opened the door for a Wright comeback when he missed a dart for 5-2 and Snakebite snaffled the leg before levelling the contest at four legs apiece.
The final four legs were shared as Wright battled his way to a point but Van den Bergh will take huge credit into the last night of the opening week as he remains unbeaten in his debut Premier League year.
Premier League Darts: Night Five fixtures
|Gary Anderson vs Jonny Clayton|
|Peter Wright vs Rob Cross|
|Michael van Gerwen vs Nathan Aspinall|
|James Wade vs Glen Durrant|
|Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Jose de Sousa|
Voltage halts Clayton’s charge
Rob Cross brought nine-dart hero Jonny Clayton back down to earth and continued his own return to form, bouncing back from defeat to Michael van Gerwen on Wednesday with a 7-3 victory that saw the Ferret beaten for the first time this week.
Clayton has dazzled over the last eight months with victory at the World Cup and The Masters, while he achieved perfection on Wednesday night against Jose De Sousa.
However – having won his last three legs in nine, 11 and 12 darts to beat The Special One – Clayton was out of sorts as he missed seven of his first eight darts at double in the opening four legs.
Clayton stirred into life to level at 3-3 with what is now becoming a trademark burst, as he fired in back-to-back 14-dart legs to threaten a comeback.
But it was not to be for the Welshman this time, he won just one more leg as Cross cruised to the finish line.
The confidence flowed for Cross, who missed doubles of his own, but surprisingly coasted to the finishing line – winning four legs on the bounce – with a clinical 89-finish the highlight as he drew level on points with Clayton in the table.
Anderson piles on the pain for Duzza
Defending champion Glen Durrant suffered his fourth consecutive defeat as two-time winner Gary Anderson returned to winning ways with a convincing 7-2 success in the evening’s finale.
Durrant was whitewashed by Dimitri Van den Bergh on Night Three, but the three-time BDO world champion avoided a repeat with a comfortable hold of throw in leg two.
‘Duzza’ produced glimpses of quality, including a classy 108 combination in leg six to reduce the deficit to 4-2, but Anderson responded by following up a timely 180 with a two-dart 67 kill to restore his three-leg buffer.
The Scot’s scoring was simply too strong for the Teesider, and he avenged last year’s semi-final defeat at the hands of Durrant by wrapping up a comprehensive victory with a 97 average and four maximums.
Don’t miss an arrow thrown with Sky Sports as Premier League Darts continues on Thursday 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