Column #JB13 Premier League – Week 7

Friday, March 21, 2014
Column JB13
Premier League – Week 7

Taylor back to his best in front of a record crowd in Leeds

The Premier League went to Leeds for the first time last night and it is definitely a fantastic addition to the Premier League circuit. The biggest ever Premier League crowd of 11,000 was crammed into the newly built First Direct Arena which had a slightly different feel to the other venues. Instead of being a long arena, the crowd were all a lot closer to the action and despite being very high up, the crowd was deafening. Last night showed us how far the Premier League has come to have 11,000 spectators when only 10 years ago, Bournemouth was the biggest venue in the Premier League with no more than 4,000 fans. This shows why darts is one of the biggest success stories of the 21st century.

Dave Chisnall and Simon Whitlock kicked off the night with a topsy turvy tussle. In a relegation clash, Chisnall looked far from nervous as he was busting some shapes during his walk on song. Even before the match, the bookies had written off Whitlock at 1/7 to get eliminated but he was still determined to get some much needed points. Chisnall had the best start to the match as he averaged nearly 110 as he went 3:0 ahead. Whitlock then won 4 of the next 6 legs which culminated in a 100 finish to be only 5:4 behind. The match went into a last leg decider and Chisnall looked set to take a point until he bust his 80 finish and Whitlock claimed a point on D20. This match leaves Chisnall precariously situated 1 place above the bottom 2 and Whitlock remains rooted to the foot of the table.

The second game of the night was another draw as Robert Thornton couldn’t see out a much needed win against Adrian Lewis. Thornton looked far from a relegation candidate at the start of the match as he raced into a 4:0 lead. Lewis tried to fight back but despite hitting a 108 checkout, Thornton went into a 6:3 lead. However, Thornton then preceded to look nervous at the finishing line and lost the last 3 legs after missing 2 match darts. As a result, Lewis still remains in the play off spots but Thornton is relying on other results to hope he doesn’t get dragged further down the table.

The most entertaining match of the night came next between Gary Anderson and Michael Van Gerwen. The first 4 legs all went with throw but both players were playing excellent darts as Van Gerwen hit an 11 darter and Anderson was averaging nearly 110. The pair then exchanged breaks of throw as Van Gerwen hit a 112 checkout and Anderson replied with an 11 dart leg of his own after 5 perfect darts. Going into the last 2 legs, the score was at 5:5 and we knew that the game would go to the last leg again. But it would not be another draw as Van Gerwen turned on the style to win the last 2 legs and the match 7:5. Anderson should feel hard done by as he didn’t deserve to lose and now despite his great performances this year, he is looking over his shoulder at elimination. Is he playing too well this year to be relegated? Van Gerwen on the other hand is flying as he became the new leader of the Premier League.

In another relegation clash, Wes Newton then went up against Phil Taylor but it wasn’t much of a contest. Taylor was back to his best as he romped to a 7:1 victory while averaging over 106. The highlight of the match was when Taylor hit 6 perfect darts but he could not complete the 9 darter. Taylor is now out of the relegation zone for the 1st time this year and has moved up to 6th and only 2 points off the top 4! This shows how close the league is this year and how important back to back wins are. Newton however has had back to back losses and is in the bottom 2 but he will feel unlucky again to have lost as he also averaged over 100.

The final match of the night saw unbeaten Peter Wright up against 5 time World Champion Raymond Van Barneveld. As both players were already pretty much safe from elimination they could go out and enjoy the game and this was shown by a ferocious start to the match including a 180 with Wright’s first 3 darts. The quality was shown throughout with numerous 180’s and ton plus checkouts. Barneveld guaranteed a point in the 10th leg with a 156 checkout to go 6:4 ahead. However, Wright wasn’t about to give up his unbeaten record without a fight and hit an incredible 161 checkout in the final leg to draw the match. It was a great way to wrap up a great night and both players still look odds on to make it into the play offs at the end of the tournament.

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Jamie Barron
Hailing from Yorkshire, England, 16-year-old Jamie "Jambo" Barron is a passionate darts fan who is looking forward to taking A-Level Media Studies and pursuing a career in sports journalism. More of Jamie's excellent writings can be found at his blog:
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