Michael van Gerwen overturned an early deficit to defeat world champion Gary Anderson 7-4 at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, on the third night of this year’s Premier League.
In the night’s other matches, Phil Taylor battered local hero Stephen Bunting 7-1, while the other three contests (Dave Chisnall v James Wade, Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld, Adrian Lewis v Kim Huybrechts) all ended in draws.
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Playing each other for the second time within a week, Gary Anderson earned an early 3-1 advantage against Michael van Gerwen before paying the price for missing doubles in clumps.
Two darts wasted in leg five followed by three more in leg six proved costly for the Scot as his Dutch opponent seized the initiative. After taking the lead, van Gerwen soon broke for 5-3 as a charitable Anderson missed a further five on the outer ring.
The world champion hinted at a revival when he checked out 68 in the 10th leg but a missed dart at bullseye to break, presented van Gerwen with an opportunity to seal the match, which he duly took on double 12. The victory sees him move clear at the top of the table as the only player to win their first three games.
Neither were able to replicate their form from last Sunday’s mesmeric German Darts Championship final with Anderson’s paltry 4/27 finishing statistics condemning him to his first loss of the competition. Van Gerwen’s 101 average was a far cry from his staggering numbers of late, but it was more than enough to take care of his off-colour adversary.
Phil Taylor v Stephen Bunting
Phil Taylor cruised to a second Premier League win in a row with a 7-1 demolishing of Stephen Bunting. Playing on home soil, the Liverpudlian was afforded few chances, but sloppy scoring early on prevented him from gaining any momentum against a rampant opponent.
Taylor snared the first five legs and threatened a rare whitewash, but was stopped in his tracks after Bunting hit double top to get on the board. The Bullet looked poised to break throw after leaving 50 from nine darts in the next leg, but any hopes of a comeback were squashed by a crippling 121.Taylor fittingly rounded off a dominant performance in style, wrapping up the match with a 151 checkout.
The win moves Taylor on to four points while Bunting is left as one of four players without a win after the first three rounds.
Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld
Defending champion Raymond van Barneveld spurned a 5-1 lead as Peter Wright fought back to secure a draw in a clash between two of the tournament’s early strugglers.
The Dutchman surged clear – averaging 120 during the opening stages – but Wright kept himself in the contest with checkouts of 147 and 121 to limit the damage to 5-3. Van Barneveld pinned double 16 to take a point, but failed twice to close out the match on his own darts, allowing Wright to land double six for a 14-darter in the final leg, and pinch a fortunate draw.
The draw sees both men open their account in this year’s competition, but still firmly rooted at the bottom-end of the table.
Dave Chisnall v James Wade
Dave Chisnall and James Wade could not be separated in a scrappy affair that opened the evening’s proceedings.
Wade – suffering from a stubbed toe – missed a cluster of doubles in the opening phases but Chisnall’s equally shoddy finishing failed to punish him. After Wade leveled from 2-0 behind the standard improved, however neither were able to forge clear.
A crippling 142 out-shot in the 11th leg guaranteed Wade a point, but a clinical 14-darter from Chisnall in the final leg ensured both remained unbeaten after three weeks of play.
Adrian Lewis v Kim Huybrechts
In the last match of the evening, Kim Huybrechts won his first Premier League point with a 6-6 draw against two-time world champion Adrian Lewis.
The two exchanged breaks in the opening two legs but neither managed to make inroads thereafter. The Belgian tilted at a nine-dart finish in the sixth leg – hitting seven perfect darts – but aside from that the match was relatively low-key – with both averaging around 90.
Lewis attempted to apply pressure on Huybrechts’ 62 in the last leg but a cool two-dart checkout culminating on double 16 gave him a share of the spoils.
Next week’s leg will take place at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. Huybrechts is due to play Chisnall, Anderson meets Wade, van Gerwen faces Lewis, Bunting clashes with van Barneveld, and Taylor rounds off the night against Wright.