Column #JB18 Premier League – Week 11
Friday, April 18, 2014
Premier League – Week 11
Taylor triumphant in front of the amazing Aberdeen crowd
As the Premier League stars made their way to Aberdeen for Week 11 of the competition all the players knew that every match would be absolutely crucial in the challenge for the top 4. Despite not being the largest arena on the circuit, it was certainly one of the loudest as the Scottish crowd did themselves proud. In all fairness, they had every right to sing as they got to witness a dream line up where the world number 1 faced the world number 2 and 3 respectively.
Home favourite Gary Anderson kicked off the night against Adrian Lewis. Lewis was heavily booed throughout the walk on and the match as he went up against the Flying Scotsman. However, he already wasn’t in the good books of the Scottish crowd as on Twitter, he had branded it “a joke” that he had to play a Scotsman in Scotland. In the 1st leg, Lewis tried to silence the crowd with a 180 to leave D12 but Anderson didn’t even let him have a shot as he took out 138 to set the crowd roaring. That leg set the tone for the next 5 legs as Anderson won every single one while the crowd sang a deafening rendition of “Flower of Scotland” before breaking into a chant of “Easy, Easy, Easy!” Anderson even had darts at double to whitewash Lewis but when he missed, it sent the momentum swinging in Lewis’ favour and a comeback looked on as Lewis quieted the crowd by winning 4 straight legs. Despite this, he couldn’t see it through as even though Anderson missed another 7 match darts, he eventually hit D5 to secure the match 7:4. The result left Lewis in need of a win against Van Gerwen later on in the night but it left Anderson in contention for a top 4 place. He is definitely a dark horse for the title as he is playing his best darts since winning the 2011 Premier League.
The main match of the night was next on the schedule as 6 time Premier League champion Phil Taylor looked for revenge against current Premier League champion Michael Van Gerwen after he was whitewashed in week 1. The quality on show was clear from the very beginning as the pair traded 180’s in the first leg and despite Van Gerwen winning the first leg, Taylor took control by strolling into a 4:1 lead, breaking Van Gerwen twice. However, in leg 6, Van Gerwen punished Taylor for missing 2 double darts as he broke Taylor straight back. Van Gerwen then levelled the scores at 4:4 as he followed up his first break of throw by holding his throw and breaking again as Taylor squandered his opportunities to win both legs. Incredibly, that was the last leg Van Gerwen won in the match as Taylor took over the last 3 legs to win 7:4. Phil Taylor averaged over 106 in his victory and he is now my favourite to regain his Premier League crown.
Peter Wright was the second Scotsman to take to the Aberdeen stage as he took on Dave Chisnall. It all went wrong for Wright at the beginning of the match as he lost the first 4 legs and was only averaging 68 during leg 3! Wright then massively upped his game and won the next 3 legs but Chisnall won the 8th leg to lead 5:3 despite the Aberdeen’s crowd’s best efforts to distract him. In the next leg, Chisnall went on to hit 5 perfect darts before hitting D4 to secure a point. Wright didn’t want to give up without a fight as he produced a “miracle dart” to win the 10th leg on the bull but it wasn’t enough as Chisnall rounded off an impressive performance by hitting D20 to win 7:4. Wright had chosen a red outfit for the night and it spelled danger as his place in the top 4 now looks severely under threat even though he looked nailed on for a play off spot a matter of weeks ago. The win for Chisnall keeps his slim hopes of a play off place alive.
Robert Thornton became the 3rd man flying the Scottish flag in Aberdeen and the crowd nearly raised the roof as they sang along to The Proclaimers during Thornton’s walk on. Thornton knew that his Premier League hopes are pretty much over for this year but he was looking to carry on his form from the weekend where he won the 6th Players Championship. His opponent Raymond Van Barneveld was also looking to carry on his fine form but from last Thursday where he won both of his matches. The match kicked off with 3 breaks of throw before Van Barneveld held to go 3:1 ahead. Thornton then missed D20 on a 135 checkout before Van Barneveld broke his throw for a 3rd successive time. Van Barneveld then won the next 3 legs ensuring a 7:1 hammering of Thornton in which Thornton did not hold his throw once. The win ensures Van Barneveld has all but guaranteed his playoff position as he has been ‘Mr. Consistency’ in this year’s competition, only losing once.
The final match of the night saw Michael Van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis retake the stage after their earlier defeats. In a quick fire start to the match, the first 7 legs all went with throw as Lewis missed several chances to break Van Gerwen’s throw in the 5th leg. The mind games were rife throughout the match as Lewis threw extremely quickly and seemed unconcerned with where his darts were landing. Both players also decided to unnecessarily throw for the bull instead of setting up a finish to try and throw off their opponent. The first break of throw finally came in leg 8 as Van Gerwen hit D16 to go 5:3 ahead. It proved to be the only break of throw in the match as Van Gerwen went on to win 7:4. Van Gerwen went back to the top of the table but Lewis is in need of a darting miracle to make the top 4 after 2 defeats in 1 night.