Tag Archives: Premier League Darts

Premier League Darts: Table-toppers to face off in Glasgow

High flyers Michael van Gerwen and Dave Chisnall are set to face off in a top-of-the-table clash on the seventh night of the Premier League at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

Old foes Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor meet in the third game of the evening with the struggling Dutchman seeking to stave off relegation in a fortnight’s time.

Gary Anderson will play his first match in Scotland fas world champion when he takes on last-placed Kim Huybrechts while Stephen Bunting goes in search of a third consecutive win against Peter Wright.

Elsewhere, James Wade looks to strengthen his bid for the playoffs in his match with Adrian Lewis – the latter is without a victory in the competition since the opening night.

Dave Chisnall v Michael van Gerwen 

Chisnall’s stint as league leader was short-lived following his loss to Bunting in Nottingham while van Gerwen eventually eased to a 7-3 win against Taylor with an average in excess of 107.

The Dutchman won both of their meetings in last year’s Premier League and is currently on a seven-match winning streak against Chisnall – the St Helens thrower’s last triumph came at the 2013 World Grand Prix. However, their most recent meeting at the Masters in January went to a deciding leg, with van Gerwen needing a 110 average to prevail in an incredible contest.

Inconsistent scoring from Chisnall led to his demise last week and failure to correct this could see him punished again. The world number one has significantly improved his treble-hitting in 2015, a trait that has afforded him more opportunities at doubles, and fewer for his opponents. Chisnall will need to score heavily to keep it close.

Prediction: van Gerwen 7-4 Chisnall

Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor 

Van Barneveld’s defeat to Wade last Thursday has left the defending champion in a perilous position, and his troubles could get worse when he takes on arch-rival Taylor in Glasgow, who is also looking to bounce back after losing a week ago.

The Dutchman secured a first television victory over his nemesis in six years in last year’s semi-final but has been a pale shadow of his former self over recent months, regularly appearing uninterested on stage, and unsure whether to wear glasses or not. Meanwhile, Taylor has produced some up-and-down performances of late but has generally seemed comfortable in the Premier League – where he has played his best.

Much depends on which van Barneveld turns up and if the five-time world champion can start well, this will be a tight affair. A typical Scottish darts crowd can be expected which has a tendency to be anti-English, and boisterous audiences can bother Taylor. But judging on each other’s results this year, and their head-to-head record over the past few seasons, the Englishman should come through comfortably and keep pressure on those ahead of him.

Prediction: Taylor 7-3 van Barneveld

Kim Huybrechts v Gary Anderson

A raucous welcoming for Anderson is guaranteed as he throws his first arrows in his native Scotland as a world champion and after hammering Lewis with a 109 average he starts as favourite against the improving Huybrechts.

The Belgian was narrowly edged out by Wright in Nottingham and finds himself rock-bottom in the league table with just three weeks remaining before two players are eliminated.The two have never clashed on TV before but Anderson holds a 10-4 advantage in their matches on the floor. The Scot is also riding high after claiming a Players Championship win at the weekend in  Barnsley.

An expectant Glasgow could create nerves for Anderson who has been fallible in his home country in the past, and Huybrechts will cash in if given chances. The world champion has little to fear though, and he should cement his position in the top four with two points here.

Prediction: Anderson 7-3 Huybrechts

James Wade v Adrian Lewis 

These two will open the evening’s proceedings and a poor night for Lewis could potentially see him slip into the bottom two. A win over van Barneveld on week six has moved him into the top half of the table, while Lewis has not won in five games.

Wade, fresh from a strong weekend in Barnsley – he won one Players Championship and reached the final of the other – is enjoying a purple patch at the moment and another success here will confirm his playoff credentials. Lewis used a new darts for the first time last week and despite being thrashed by Anderson he did manage an average nigh on 104, which suggests they are worth sticking with.

The two’s extensive rivalry has seen them play 42 times but Wade holds a 6-2 lead in their Premier League encounters – they have also drawn twice. There isn’t too much to choose between them but their records in this competition indicate Wade nicking a tight one.

Prediction: Wade 7-5 Lewis

Peter Wright v Stephen Bunting

After a torrid start Wright has gone unbeaten in his last four outings – winning his first match of the tournament last week – and looks to have finally found an optimum setup with his darts. Bunting has also reversed a poor period, with wins in his last two firing him up into the mid-table.

Wright, who like Anderson is playing on home turf, whitewashed Bunting 10-0 at the UK Open earlier this month but he has lost their other three matches on TV. Both have five points to their name after six weeks, making this an important match as the winner will move close to the top four, while the loser could yet get dragged down into a relegation battle.

This could be the closest bout of the evening with both likely to average around 100, going by the last fortnight. Their scoring should be evenly matched, meaning double-hitting will be even more crucial than normal. The draw is a firm possibility.

Prediction: Peter Wright 6-6 Stephen Bunting

Premier League Darts: Taylor and van Gerwen to meet in Nottingham

Newly-crowned UK Open champion Michael van Gerwen will look to extend his unbeaten run in this year’s Premier League to six weeks against Phil Taylor in Nottingham on Thursday evening.

Dave Chisnall – the league’s early leader – takes on Stephen Bunting, while defending champion Raymond van Barneveld clashes with James Wade.

Adrian Lewis has the chance to condemn Gary Anderson to a third TV defeat in a week, before Kim Huybrechts rounds off the night against UK Open finalist Peter Wright.

Phil Taylor v Michael van Gerwen

Fresh from another TV title, van Gerwen comes into this showdown as the form horse in world darts. The Dutchman was held to a draw by Wright in Exeter last week, but it was their post-match fracas which stole the headlines, while Taylor overturned an early 4-1 deficit to defeat Wade.

Both are near the peak of their powers at the moment meaning a close affair here is likely. Taylor holds a 26-11 career advantage over van Gerwen but the latter has only been beaten once in their five Premier League encounters. Taylor, however, has prevailed in their last two meetings on TV.

Averages north of 100 should be expected, hence 12-darters will probably be required to break throw. Van Gerwen’s scoring has been heavier and more consistent of late, an edge that makes him a narrow favourite ahead of this contest.

Prediction: van Gerwen 7-5 Taylor

Stephen Bunting v Dave Chisnall 

Bunting and Chisnall will begin the evening’s action in a repeat of their UK Open bout at the weekend – which Bunting won 9-6. Chisnall has been superb so far in this competition, topping the table with nine points, and he averaged over 110 in beating Anderson a week ago.

Meanwhile, Bunting has started to regain some confidence lately, backing up his first Premier League win over Lewis with a run to the last four at the UK, before losing 10-0 to Wright. His victory over Chisnall in Minehead will encourage him ahead of their match in Nottingham, and with only four nights remaining until the bottom two are eliminated, the Liverpudlian could do with some points to break clear of the four-way tie for bottom.

It will be tough for Bunting to match Chisnall’s scoring power though, and providing the league leader doesn’t miss doubles – as he did at the weekend – he should secure another win.

Prediction: Chisnall 7-3 Bunting

Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis 

After losing to Chisnall in Exeter and suffering a horror loss to Mervyn King at the UK Open – he missed 13 match darts – Anderson aims to get back to winning ways this week against Lewis, who has also had a disappointing week.

World champion Anderson is currently fourth in the table with six points while Lewis has managed four, despite winningly only once (against van Barneveld) in five outings. The Scot leads their Premier League head-to-head 3-2, most famously beating Lewis in the 2011 final, and they have drawn three times.

Anderson’s doubling has been haunting him recently and failure to hit them early could see him struggle again. However, Lewis will have to improve on his 91 average against Bunting to punish him. It’s unlikely he’ll play that poorly again though, therefore this should be close.

Prediction: Anderson 6-6 Lewis

Raymond van Barneveld v James Wade

Van Barneveld looked uninterested in his 9-1 hammering by Wright at the UK Open and looks a shadow of the man who has won the world championship five times. His Premier League defence has also yet to kick-start and he finds himself joint-last after five weeks.

Minehead was not the most lucrative of weekends for Wade either who bowed out in the last 16 to eventual semi-finalist Andrew Gilding. Licking his wounds from a frustrating loss to Taylor last Thursday, a fragile van Barneveld presents Wade with a good opportunity to capture two points.

With van Barneveld seemingly more concerned about battling his mind rather than his opponent, a solid showing from Wade could be all he requires to win. Much depends on which van Barneveld turns up however, and if he plays like he did to dismantle Lewis 9-3 at the UK, he may win just as convincingly.

Prediction: Wade 7-5 van Barneveld

Kim Huybrechts v Peter Wright

Huybrechts sealed his first Premier League success in Exeter but faces a difficult task if he is to notch another in Wright. The Belgian reached the last 16 at the UK Open where he was beaten by van Gerwen, while Wright claimed a stunning victory over Taylor before coming unstuck in the final against Huybrechts’ victor.

With both footing the league table, defeat for either could see them cut adrift from the pack, a perilous position with Judgment Night a mere three weeks away. Wright is the only man yet to win a match in the tournament but he has drawn his last three games.

Huybrechts looks to have become comfortable with the Premier League arenas, which suggests he will turn in another decent performance. Still, Wright must fancy his chances of picking up a first league win and building on what has been an impressive few weeks.

Prediction: Wright 7-4 Huybrechts

Premier League Darts: Chisnall and Anderson to clash in Exeter

Dave Chisnall will attempt to continue his impressive start to this year’s Premier League when he takes on Gary Anderson on week five of this year’s tournament at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter, on Thursday night.

In a repeat of last year’s world final, Michael van Gerwen goes up against Peter Wright, while James Wade seeks a third-straight win over Phil Taylor on television.

Raymond van Barneveld will look to strengthen his defence of his title against newcomer Kim Huybrechts in the first match of the evening.

In the night’s other battle, Adrian Lewis looks to push on from his  fiery draw with van Gerwen in Belfast, as he plays a struggling Stephen Bunting who has just one point to his name.

Dave Chisnall v Gary Anderson

Chisnall and Anderson have been given top billing for their Devon encounter, fittingly considering their strong starts to the competition.

The St Helens thrower has accumulated seven points from his first four matches – leaving him joint-top with van Gerwen – in a run that has included wins over van Barneveld and Wright. Meanwhile, Anderson is lying third in the table with six points, courtesy of three wins and one loss.

After a flaky performance in week three against van Gerwen, Anderson bounced back with a 7-4 defeat of James Wade in week four. The world champion has beaten Chisnall five out of six times, with two triumphs in the Premier League.

However, ‘Chizzy’ is producing some of the best darts of his PDC career at the moment, demonstrating a much greater proficiency on his doubles, and this progress culminated last week with his win over Kim Huybrechts where he posted an average of 107.

The Scot is based in neighbouring county Somerset and should have the home support, which could play a factor as the crowd managed to irk Chisnall during his match with van Barneveld in Bournemouth three weeks ago. But his form has been strong and if he throws well again, trying to pick a fight would be foolish.

The quick pace should suit both and this will be a high-scoring affair . In a battle between two of the league’s early form horses, a draw would come as no surprise.

Prediction: Chisnall 6-6 Anderson

James Wade v Phil Taylor 

Taylor finds himself in a rather peculiar position ahead of his match with Wade, in that he has lost to him in their last two TV meetings. A major contrast to the stranglehold the 16-time world champion has traditionally imposed in front of the television cameras – ‘The Machine’ had previously never defeated Taylor in a TV knockout match.

Anderson is the only player in PDC history to notch three consecutive wins over ‘The Power’ on TV – a currently active streak – a feat Wade can emulate by winning this match.

After an opening night defeat, Taylor has risen to fourth in the table but his failure to beat Wright last Thursday has stemmed his momentum somewhat. Wade’s first loss of the tournament came against Anderson in Belfast but he has only recorded one victory in the first four weeks.

A dogged Wade has shown himself to be tough to beat but he can be vulnerable when his opponent scores heavily. Taylor’s scoring has been mixed so far but he looked imperious in his dispatching of Lewis a few weeks ago.

Taylor still has the edge more often than not when he takes to the oche, but the gap has narrowed and he is more regularly punished now for his off-colour performances. But taking into account their past few matches – and Taylor’s superior averages – Wade will need to be somewhere near his best to prevent his nemesis taking two points.

Prediction: Taylor 7-3 Wade

Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen

Van Gerwen succumbed sole possession of top spot following his draw with Lewis in Belfast, while Wright secured a fighting point against Taylor to kick-start his campaign.

The Dutchman heads in to the contest as the heavy favourite having beaten his opponent in all eight of their televised meetings. Wright has also lost four times in a row to van Gerwen in all competition, with his last win coming at a UK Open Qualifier in February 2014.

Current form also suggests there is only one winner here with van Gerwen shooting a plethora of 105-plus averages since being dethroned as world champion in January – a period which included a run of five titles from six tournaments.

On last week’s evidence, Wright should produce a respectable performance.  He has seemingly – after much tinkering with the set-up – found a more fruitful throwing combination, which allowed him to manage a draw against Taylor –  a far-cry from some of his earlier efforts in the season.

Still, he will have to significantly up his level again to challenge the world number one, whose brutal scoring is blitzing everyone this year. When at his peak, all of his rivals have proven mere cannon-fodder.

Prediction: van Gerwen 7-3 Wright

Adrian Lewis v Stephen Bunting

Over his Premier League career, Lewis’ only consistency has been his inconsistency, and it’s a trend he is continuing so far in this year’s edition, with one win, one defeat, and two draws from four games. He has the chance to push up the table on Thursday though when he plays Stephen Bunting, who lies at the foot of the table with a solitary point.

Bunting has failed to settle in his first Premier League, suffering three straight losses and he faces being cut adrift if he doesn’t arrest the slide soon. With this plight, it could make Lewis either the best or worst opponent. The two-time world champion was brilliant in averaging 114 to beat van Barneveld in week one, but a fortnight later he could only muster 92 in a draw with Huybrechts.

Nevertheless, even the latter Lewis may still see off Bunting. Guilty of panicking in his matches, and often conceding early leads, the Liverpudlian is low on confidence and looks to have forgotten how to win. The Premier League is an unforgiving format, as the likes of Mark Webster and Wes Newton have previously found out. Unless he relaxes and stops fighting himself, the likelihood of him fighting his adversary on the oche is minute.

Lewis was much-improved in his edgy fixture with van Gerwen a week ago but spurned a 6-4 lead to only share the spoils. Bunting, meanwhile, fell behind early against van Barneveld and lagged behind throughout the match to lose 7-4.

There is always an element of doubt with the enigmatic Lewis, but this match could well be lost by the inferiority of Bunting’s arrows, as opposed to the superiority of his.

Prediction: Lewis 7-2 Bunting

Raymond van Barneveld v Kim Huybrechts 

Few lose a match when averaging 107 but Huybrechts was consigned to a third defeat in four by Chisnall last time out despite doing just that. Less convincingly, van Barneveld clung on to beat Bunting – a match where his mentality appeared the greatest burden.

Their last showings make this Benelux bout all the more intriguing. The Belgian performed to a higher standard than the Dutchman in their respective matches, but it was the Dutchman who walked off with two points while the Belgian left empty-handed.

Van Barneveld’s defence of his Premier League title has stuttered and spluttered so far but his win over Bunting has hoisted him into the mix and he will be favoured to trump Huybrechts who is winless as of yet in his debut season.

The defending champion has looked a tad vulnerable – sometimes donning spectacles, other times going without. He collapsed from 5-1 up against Wright and also missed clumps of doubles when playing Chisnall. If the Belgian can churn out a solid 100 average game he will cause problems. Of course, van Barneveld has more in the tank but hasn’t been able to sustain his hot streaks for more than a handful of legs.

Interestingly, Huybrechts has won all six of their previous encounters, however the two have never met before on TV.

Until he nails a first win, Huybrechts will be nervous and he can ill-afford another pointless evening, but he seems to have settled into the event over the past couple of weeks. Van Barneveld has done nothing to indicate he will blow his opponent away and therefore, a draw or perhaps even a Huybrechts win could be on the cards.

Prediction: van Barneveld 6-6 Huybrechts

Premier League Darts: van Gerwen’s draw with Lewis allows Chisnall to share top spot

Dave Chisnall drew level at the top of the Premier League table after Michael van Gerwen drew against Adrian Lewis at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.

Chisnall beat Kim Huybrechts 7-4 in the first match of the night to pick up a third league win and maintain his unbeaten start after the fourth week of competition.

In the last match of the evening, a determined Peter Wright kept his unbeaten record against Phil Taylor in the Premier League intact, with a draw.

Elsewhere, world champion Gary Anderson defeated James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld saw off Stephen Bunting.

Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis

A late fightback saw Michael van Gerwen nick a draw in a dramatic encounter with Adrian Lewis.

Van Gerwen accused his opponent of “slowing him down” in an interview to Sky Sports after the match, also adding that believed he was “the better player”.

Rebutting the comments made, Lewis said he can play slow and fast and that “Michael obviously doesn’t have that calibre”.

There was only one player in that game and I should have won. But to come back from 5-2 down feels great! – Michael van Gerwen

A focussed van Gerwen started strongly but a nerveless 112 checkout from Lewis prevented the Dutchman from breaking early.

After holding again, a crucial 70 saw Jackpot snare a break and he consolidated with a calm 82 finish in the sixth leg while van Gerwen lurked on double eight.

A narrowly missed bull proved academical as Lewis opened a three-leg gap but sloppy scoring helped van Gerwen recover one break and he moved to within a leg after finishing the ninth in just 10 darts.

Lewis struck back to ensure a point but proceeded to slacken off again as his clinical opponent pinched four of the last five legs – rallying from a 5-2 deficit – to salvage a draw.

Kim Huybrechts v Dave Chisnall

An exhibition of power scoring saw Dave Chisnall secure a third Premier League win in four matches with a 7-4 victory over Kim Huybrechts.

In what was a high-quality contest, the pair shared 10 180s between them – Chisnall hitting six – as both averaged in excess of 107.

After sharing the opening two legs, a 90 finish in the third gave Chisnall an early break. A 10-darter from Huybrechts halted his opponent’s run of three straight legs but two missed darts at tops in the next allowed Chisnall to restore a two-leg cushion.

The Belgian kept in contention despite missing double 12 for a nine-dart finish however Chisnall’s strength on his own throw saw him to a 6-4 advantage – guaranteeing a point – before closing out the match in the next with a 100 checkout.

Gary Anderson v James Wade

A Gary Anderson surge saw him claim six of the last seven legs against James Wade to win 7-4.

Wade started brightly, breaking throw in the opening leg and a 14-darter in the next moved him 2-0 ahead.

Five missed darts at doubles for Anderson weren’t punished as he opened his account in leg three but further spurned chances in the fourth prevented him from levelling.

A 67 checkout galvanised the Scot to break with an 11-darter in the sixth, and he moved ahead for the first time after Wade missed double 16 for a 146 finish. The Machine arrested the slide – holding throw for four-all – but the world champion broke at the next opportunity, going 6-4 up to take a point.

And after Wade failed to apply pressure on the Anderson throw, the latter sealed the win with an assured 92 checkout and an average just shy of 99.

Stephen Bunting v Raymond van Barneveld

Reigning champion Raymond van Barneveld triumphed in a tense affair with Stephen Bunting, winning 7-4 in a battle of the early strugglers.

Bunting narrowly missed double 10 for a 128 and five further wayward darts aided a spectacled van Barneveld to an early break which he confirmed by holding for 2-0.

The former Lakeside world champion wasted another six darts in the next as the Dutchman eased to a controlling 4-0 lead.

Van Barneveld continued to capitalise tame scoring from Bunting who became visibly irritated once again on the Premier League stage, but he registered his first leg in the fifth with a two-dart 78-outshot.

Bunting restored one of the breaks after van Barneveld failed on double 18 and double nine, and those misses proved the catalyst for a collapse in his scoring.

However, vital checkouts in legs 10 and 11 ensured a first win for the five-time world champion, as Bunting was condemned to a third loss in four matches.

Phil Taylor v Peter Wright

The first four legs of the match went with throw as Wright was vastly improved on his previous matches.

After Taylor missed double top for a 160 finish, Wright nailed double 16 to snatch a break. But a poor leg allowed Taylor to immediately break back.

Wright was afforded a chance after the 16-time world champion couldn’t break again, and he took his chance, hitting double 10 for four-apiece.

Taylor was almost shell-shocked when Wright came close to finishing 161 but hit double 16 with one dart in hand to hold throw. However, Wright continued to be solid and left his opponent few chances.

The Power won the 11th leg to earn a point, but a 180 in the deciding leg gave Wright the breathing room to comfortably complete a draw.

League Table

Week 4Chisnall’s win sees him move level with van Gerwen at the top of the table while Anderson’s return to winning ways leaves him just one point behind in third.

A draw for Peter Wright moved him out of the drop zone, an area occupied by Huybrechts and Bunting after they suffered further defeats.

Next week’s Premier League will be held at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter, with darts remaining in the South West for the UK Open which takes place in Minehead between March 6-8.

Premier League Darts: Roadshow heads to Belfast for Week Four

Early leader Michael van Gerwen will seek to maintain his perfect start to this year’s Premier League against Adrian Lewis at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena, on the fourth night of this year’s tournament.

World champion Gary Anderson will aim bounce back to winning ways following his 7-4 defeat to van Gerwen last week, when he takes on James Wade.

Elsewhere, Peter Wright faces a tough task to secure his first win of the season in the form of a resurgent Phil Taylor. And Stephen Bunting – a 7-1 victim to Taylor in Liverpool – meets Raymond van Barneveld in a repeat of their world championship quarter-final in January.

In the other match of the evening, the unbeaten Dave Chisnall goes up against Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts.

Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis

Van Gerwen secured a third successive win of the competition against Anderson last week while Lewis managed a draw in a cagey match with Huybrechts.

The two have enjoyed some memorable battles in the past but the Dutchman has held the edge over recent times and is unbeaten in their last seven meetings on television – a run that stretches back to the 2013 Grand Slam of Darts.

Lewis fired in a near-114 average against van Barneveld in week one but has not reproduced that level since. Meanwhile, van Gerwen was imperious in his first two matches before prevailing in a more scrappy affair with Anderson.

This is sure to be a fast-paced game between two former world champions and they usually bring the best out of each other. However, judging on their league performances so far, van Gerwen’s newfound consistency should be the attribute that pulls him through.

Prediction: van Gerwen 7-4 Lewis

Gary Anderson v James Wade

Fragility on the doubles served to haunt Anderson in his loss to van Gerwen and the Scotsman will face a testing challenge to get back on track against Wade, who has claimed a win and two draws in his opening three matches.

Anderson scrambled over the line against Taylor before demolishing Wright and has been impressive during the first few weeks of his reign as world champion. Wade averaged 104 in beating Huybrechts in week two, but barely managed 90 to claim a draw against Chisnall last Thursday.

Wade reversed a 3-1 deficit when the two met in the World Grand Prix semi-finals back in October, but Anderson exacted revenge last month, with victory at the Masters. However, before that match, Wade had not lost on TV against the Scot for almost three years.

Providing Anderson can pin his doubles like he has over the past 12 months, his scoring power should be enough to grab the win. But if he is sloppy for a second week running, Wade’s vulture-like qualities will punish him.

Prediction: Anderson 7-4 Wade

Phil Taylor v Peter Wright

Following a post-Christmas lapse, Taylor has returned to form over the past few weeks – with two Premier League wins and a UK Open Qualifier title at the weekend – and he threatens to dispatch a vulnerable Wright in the final match of the night.

Paying the price for regularly fiddling with his darts, Wright has only a point to his name after three weeks and finds himself at the foot of the table. In contrast, Taylor has risen to third in the league, recovering promptly from his initial defeat to Anderson.

Wright did pinch a draw after van Barneveld spurned a 5-1 advantage in Liverpool, but a failure to chalk up more than one leg against Anderson and Chisnall suggests he is severely out of form.

The evidence points towards a drubbing, Wright will need his A game to prevent one, and will probably require Taylor to be off his.

Prediction: Taylor 7-1 Wright

Stephen Bunting v Raymond van Barneveld

These two will face off on the big stage for the first time since their memorable quarter-final at Alexandra Palace last month, where van Barneveld eked out a dramatic 5-4 win.

The five-time world champion has, however, been off-colour in the defence of his Premier League crown so far but he has the chance to record his first win of the tournament against a struggling Bunting.

Last year’s Lakeside champion has endured a difficult start to his Premier League career, with two losses and a draw so far. Both are desperate for a win here or they risk being cut adrift from the field, with the bottom two set to be relegated after week nine.

A scrappy contest is likely, a sharing of the spoils would come as no surprise here.

Prediction: van Barneveld 6-6 Bunting

Kim Huybrechts v Dave Chisnall

A draw against Lewis gave Huybrechts his first Premier League point last time out and a match with Chisnall presents him with the opportunity to capture a maiden win.

St Helens’ Chisnall has won the key moments in his matches so far, accruing five points from three games (won v Wright, won v Barneveld, drew v Wade) despite averaging below 95 in all of them – a run that has placed him at a handy second in the table.

The two’s last big meeting came in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts in November. Chisnall nicked a thrilling 16-15 win on that occasion – their only previous meeting on TV.

Huybrechts has the game to win but his opponent has developed a desirable winning habit. This should be tight, but going on their performances so far, Chisnall will edge it and continue his strong start.

Prediction: Chisnall 7-4 Huybrechts

The Odyssey Arena is hosting the Belfast leg of the Premier League for the eighth time. The venue first held the event back in 2008.

Premier League Darts: van Gerwen beats Anderson to move top

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.

Preview: 2015 Betway Premier League Darts – Week One

No sooner has the last tournament left us, the next one is upon us. The PDC tree is bearing much fruit as far as exposure is concerned and Thursday marks the start of this year’s Premier League – a 16-week jamboree which kicks off in Leeds before concluding at London’s O2 Arena in late May.

Participating in the 10-man event include the current top four in the PDC Order of Merit – Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor, newly-crowned world champion Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis. They are joined by defending champion Raymond van Barneveld, Peter Wright, and Dave Chisnall, while James Wade makes a return following a one-year absence.

This year’s edition also sees two new debutants in the form of 2014 BDO World Champion, Stephen Bunting, and the improving Kim Huybrechts.

Here is my preview for the first five 12-leg match-ups taking place at Leeds’ First Direct Arena.

Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright

Chisnall and Wright are due to kick off the action and both will be keen to leave an early mark as the tournament gets under way. Chizzy showed some devastating form at last weekend’s Masters in Milton Keynes, averaging over 106 to defeat Robert Thornton before being denied in an incredible 10-9 contest against van Gerwen who recorded an average in excess of 110.

Meanwhile, Wright was steady, but also bowed out in the quarter-finals to Adrian Lewis. This should be a close encounter but if Chisnall can reproduce his standard from the weekend, his scoring power should be enough to nick it.

Raymond van Barneveld v Adrian Lewis

Meeting for the first time since van Barneveld’s dramatic 4-3 win at this year’s world championship, the pair of them have reasons to fancy their chances ahead of this bout. The Dutchman reached the final of the Masters, while Lewis also performed well, making the semis – with both being halted by van Gerwen.

Van Barneveld holds a 9-3 lead in their Premier League meetings with two draws and hasn’t lost to the Englishman in the competition since 2012.  However, recent history suggests there isn’t much between the two and the draw seems a decent shout here.

Kim Huybrechts v Michael van Gerwen

These two played one of the more memorable matches of 2014 at the Grand Slam of Darts with an inspired Huybrechts pinning a nine-dart finish as he overpowered van Gerwen. The latter was unstoppable at the Masters though, notching two 110+ averages as he stormed to another television title.

Huybrechts was absent at the Masters – virtue of not being in the top 16 – and may come into his first Premier League match slightly cold. The fiery Belgian should still be primed for battle though, yet I expect the world number one will have a bit too much here and run out a relatively comfortable winner – as comfortable as a first-to-7-legs match can be, anyway.

Gary Anderson v Phil Taylor

Anderson is in the peculiar position of having consecutive triumphs on TV over Taylor, with victories at the Players Championship in December and more significantly, the world championship final at Alexandra Palace last month. The Scot was a tad rusty at the Masters but still managed to make the last-four – testament to his form nowadays. Taylor was bounced out in the first round by Terry Jenkins but the well-documented death of his mother means it’s perhaps not the shock it would otherwise be.

Given Anderson’s success of late, and Taylor’s regular malaise in the opening Premier League fixtures, I predict the Flying Scotsman to secure a third-straight win over The Power in front of the cameras.

Stephen Bunting v James Wade

The ease of Bunting’s win over Wade at Ally Pally was one of the more surprising stories of the championship and the two are set to clash again in the final match of the opening night. Wade has proven to be Bunting’s bunny over the past 12 months, with the Bullet prevailing in all four of their matches.

Wade’s Premier League experience means he won’t be phased by the huge crowds, yet little has bothered Bunting since he made the switch from the BDO after winning the Lakeside World Championship in early 2014. I’m going for Bunting to snatch the two points on debut.