September 20, 2021

Imperious Duzza extends PL lead as big guns lurk

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Coverage resumes on Wednesday night with a repeat of the World Championship final between Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright, while leader Glen Durrant faces Michael Smith

By Paul Prenderville at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes

Last Updated: 30/08/20 10:02pm

Glen Durrant leads the way in the Premier League after six nights of action came to a close with Duzza claiming a dominant win over Daryl Gurney Glen Durrant leads the way in the Premier League after six nights of action came to a close with Duzza claiming a dominant win over Daryl Gurney

Glen Durrant leads the way in the Premier League after six nights of action came to a close with Duzza claiming a dominant win over Daryl Gurney

After 27 games in six days and one elimination, the 2020 Premier League is poised more dramatically than any previous year after Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Gerwyn Price all won on Sunday night, but it is Glen Durrant who leads the way after a relentless week of action.

This year’s competition is being played in batches as the sport of darts joins the rest of the world in finding a way to continue during the coronavirus pandemic, and the condensed nature of this year’s event has led to plenty of drama – with the promise of more to come.

Play will recommence on Wednesday, with four more nights of action before the planned Play-Offs at The O2 in October, and the man who occupies top spot is three-time BDO world champion Durrant – who has extended his advantage after a remarkably consistent week.

Having led the table when play was halted in March, ‘Duzza’ was already guaranteed to be leading heading into the latest mini-break and, while he sits four clear of second place and six clear of fifth, the race behind him is hotting up.

Premier League Darts – Night 12 results

Nathan Aspinall 6-8 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 6-8 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen 8-5 Michael Smith
Glen Durrant 8-3 Daryl Gurney

Duzza on brink of Play-Offs debut

One year on from his debut as a Premier League ‘Challenger’, Durrant underlined his status as the favourite for top spot in the league phase, and the man to beat, with an 8-3 demolition of Daryl Gurney.

Duzza wrapped up a fourth win since the restart to stretch his unbeaten run to eight games, which sees him sitting six points clear of fifth-placed Nathan Aspinall with four games left, and, with a considerable leg-difference advantage, he is all-but secure of a place in the Play-Offs.

Durrant got the better of the early exchanges as Gurney missed a couple of chances and the man from Middlesbrough is proving to be a ruthless front-runner.

Relentless scoring and clinical finishing is tough to compete with and while Gurney kept pace in the score phase, he missed his first five darts at double as Durrant cruised into a 7-0 lead to secure a point.

‘Super Chin’ got on the board in the eighth leg and then punished Duzza’s first missed match darts to grab a second and then a third before Durrant finally got over the line, pinning double 10 to complete a fine week’s work that saw him collect 10 points from a possible 12.

Van Gerwen fires warning with crucial win

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Michael van Gerwen insists he is still the man after claiming victory over Michael Smith

Michael van Gerwen insists he is still the man after claiming victory over Michael Smith

Van Gerwen, king of the Premier League, faced the prospect of ending the evening second from bottom in the standings, but an 8-5 victory over Michael Smith left him third and five points behind Durrant.

The Dutchman has finished top of the table for each of the last seven seasons and has never failed to reach the final but he entered his meeting with ‘Bully Boy’ having lost three of his last four matches.

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Van Gerwen’s celebrations were notable after a tough few days

Van Gerwen’s celebrations were notable after a tough few days

A pair of huge finishes, four 180s and an average of 102 was enough to see off a spirited performance from Smith who again found a way to lose despite an impressive display

Smith’s 117 gave him the opener and was the first of four huge finishes between the pair, but ‘MVG’ was in the mood, firing in a 110 of his own along with a huge roar as he opened up 3-1 and 6-2 leads.

Bully Boy stopped the rot with a classy 145 check-out and hauled himself back into the contest for a win he needed to boost his own Play-off hopes, but it was not to be as Van Gerwen held firm with another three-figure outshot on his way to two precious points.

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‘That is just world-class’, Smith hits 145

‘That is just world-class’, Smith hits 145

Premier League Darts – Wednesday’s fixtures

Night 13 Glen Durrant v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Gary Anderson
Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall

Live Premier League Darts

September 2, 2020, 7:00pm

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The Darts Show podcast

Download & subscribe wherever you get your podcasts – next episode on Tuesday with Rod Studd and Premier League leader Glen Durrant

Iceman into play-off spot as Wright goes close to perfection

Price began the six days this week concerned that the lack of a crowd was not the right atmosphere for him, but he ends it in pole position for a place in the semi-finals after beating Peter Wright 8-6 in a classic.

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Gerwyn Price has also moved into contention in a Premier League race for the top four that looks like going all the way

Gerwyn Price has also moved into contention in a Premier League race for the top four that looks like going all the way

The pair shared four 100+ finishes, both averaged more than 107 and fired in eight 180s, while Wright was within a single dart of another nine-dart finish, but it was Price who emerged victorious.

With averages well in excess of 100, the pair could not be separated early on, so it was no surprise to see Price’s double five to draw level bring the biggest celebration.

Having faced the slimmest of chances of elimination on Thursday, ‘The Iceman’ has won three of his last four matches and he claimed the lead with a break of throw and his third successive successful dart at a double.

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Peter Wright was inches away from hitting his second nine-darter in consecutive nights in the Premier League!

Peter Wright was inches away from hitting his second nine-darter in consecutive nights in the Premier League!

Price stayed perfect on the outer ring to go two clear before Wright came within a single dart of another nine-dart finish. Having pinned double 12 on Saturday night – two days after missing the target – the world champion did so again after eight perfect darts.

The pair traded 127 finishes as the finish line loomed into view, Price keeping his nose in front to seal victory with a 128 finish befitting the contest.

Anderson resurgence gathers pace

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Gary Anderson told Sky Sports he was worried that history was repeating itself after he let another big lead go, this time against Nathan Aspinall, but he managed to get over the line this time

Gary Anderson told Sky Sports he was worried that history was repeating itself after he let another big lead go, this time against Nathan Aspinall, but he managed to get over the line this time

As a two-time Premier League champion, Anderson ought not to have slipped under the radar in this year’s event, but he completed an impressive return to action with an 8-6 victory over Aspinall.

The 2011 and 2015 champion averaged 101 and fired in six maximum 180s on his way to securing second place ahead of Aspinall going into the two-day mini-break.

A blistering Anderson broke to win the opener, followed up with an 11-dart hold of throw, having left 41 after nine darts, and then claimed a third leg on the bounce with an average hitting 115.

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Aspinall played his part in a memorable contest with Anderson

Aspinall played his part in a memorable contest with Anderson

Having lost four of the first five legs to a near-flawless Anderson, Aspinall regrouped and underlined his competitiveness by claiming a scrappy sixth leg in 19 darts and then taking out a superb 108 on his way to hauling himself level at 4-4.

However, Anderson found another burst and regained a two-leg advantage thanks to a 110 finish, and, while Aspinall refused to buckle, it was Anderson who got over the line to complete a return of nine points from a possible 12 since the restart.

Coverage of the 2020 Premier League continues on Sky Sports Arena on Wednesday with the first of four consecutive nights of action begins and the race to the O2 hots up