Column #JB44 The Premier League Finals 2015
Thursday, May 21, 2015
The Premier League Finals 2015
After 16 weeks of competition, this season’s Premier League has finally reached its conclusion. Tonight, the O2 awaits one of the highlights of the darting calendar as the four best players this year go head to head. Incredibly, this year’s finals line up contains the same nationalities as 12 months ago, with Dutchmen Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld retaining their places alongside Scotsman Gary Anderson. The newbie at the O2 is Dave Chisnall replacing fellow Englishman Phil Taylor from last year’s line up.
In my previous post, there was three weeks to go until the Top 4 were decided and it looked to be an incredible race to the finish between Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis. However, in a slightly underwhelming finish to the league phase, van Barneveld secured his place with a week to spare.
My Premier League predictions have never been very good over the last two years but this time I was pleased to see van Barneveld evade my jinx and make the Top 4. It wasn’t just me who succeeded in this prediction game however, with more votes cast for van Barneveld to reach the Finals than any other player in my side poll. It was incredible to see the legend that is Mr. Taylor miss out on the Premier League Finals for the first time ever and are we realistically now seeing his reign of dominance come to an end? He may have won the 9th Players Championship the weekend after missing out but the real test will be at the World Matchplay in July to see whether over the longer format, he can still win the major trophies.
Despite this aforementioned underwhelming finish to the league phase, again the entertainment, quality, and drama of the Premier League has been incredible. I believe it is unrivalled for Thursday night entertainment and I am delighted to note I have the opportunity to put my feet up and watch the finals tonight with no other distractions. Again however, for the 3rd year running there has not been a 9-darter in the Premier League! It is literally mystifying with the quality being so high but when anyone reaches the D12 this year it appears like a magnet repelling the darts away. I’m not going to predict there will be a 9-darter tonight so let’s just forget about it… maybe then it will happen?
What will definitely happen tonight is that our Premier League Champion 2015 will be crowned and I now believe that, excluding the World Championships, it is the most challenging tournament to win in world darts. It relies on players performing consistently week in week out testing both ability and equally mental strength. The travelling for the players is one thing but to play the best players in the world every week is a huge challenge. I believe that the right four players have made it to the O2 however, with the World Number 1, World Champion and Reigning Premier League Champion all involved. Most darts fans will agree that Dave Chisnall has certainly been this year’s surprise package but with his majestic scoring and form, who says he can’t upset the apple cart and steal the crown himself?
This year, I am not going to make the same mistake as last year however, I think that Raymond van Barneveld will become the only man besides Phil Taylor to successfully defend his Premier League crown. When van Barneveld is confident, he can seem unbeatable and if he gets off to a good start I would not like to back against him. That’s just my opinion though… I have added a new poll down the right hand column at Jambo’s Blog and I want you to tell me who will win this year’s Premier League.
So the lineup is decided, the predictions are done and the O2 is set. Get your drinks poured, your feet on the sofa and prepare for a night of incredible darts. There’s only one thing left to say…
Let’s Play Darts!