It’s Judgement Night for the Premier League Darts 2019. But there’s not much judgement left to be doled out.
Perhaps whoever’s job it was to prevent any sort of draft in the Rotterdam Ahoy needs to have a word with themselves. But that’s about it. We know now that this will be the last time Raymond van Barneveld appears in a Premier League match. It’s truly the end of an era. Though if anyone can get a wildcard after retiring, it’s Barney.
Kicking off the second part of our Rotterdam double-header are the two most in-form Premier League Darts players right now. Not many would’ve thought a few weeks ago that those two players would be Daryl Gurney and Mensur Suljovic. Both are unbeaten in their last three games. Gurney drew with Peter Wright before beating Michael van Gerwen, and doling out a thrashing to van Barneveld. He is on a major high, safe in the knowledge that he will be returning to Belfast next week. Suljovic, meanwhile, is on a run of three wins in a row.
Was his 7-5 win over Rob Cross, from a seemingly insurmountable 5-1 deficit, the greatest Premier League comeback ever? Historic significance aside, the Gentle is also at his best right now. He could – mind-bogglingly – be top of the table going into the second phase.
Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price meet with both needing to get a win under their belts. Wright was completely blown away by van Gerwen, narrowly avoiding a whitewash. Meanwhile, Price’s third straight loss means he could be bottom of the pile once van Barneveld departs. Price will be buoyed by the fact that even his defeats – whether against Smith last night, or against van Gerwen at the European Darts Open – are only by fine margins. The Iceman just needs to get his coolness back at the business end.
Rob Cross has a title race to think about. Voltage will be fuming after gifting Suljovic plenty of chances to mount his incredible turnaround. His chance to get back in the swing of things comes against our final contender. Jeffrey de Zwaan thought he’d be a Premier League regular. His time will come. For now, this is a big chance to fulfill a dream and wow the Rotterdam faithful.
Bye bye Barney
It’ll be an emotional moment when the Rotterdam Ahoy rises to welcome the two Dutch sons back to the stage. Michael van Gerwen can focus on finishing top of the league for the seventh time in a row. Raymond van Barneveld, meanwhile, will want to say goodbye in style. He was, frankly, abysmal when Daryl Gurney ended his chances of survival on Wednesday night. It would be a real shame for his last season to end on a bum note. With the pressure off, maybe we’ll be treated to some vintage Barney.
Michael Smith goes into the last game of the night knowing survival is assured. A nerveless 90 finish on the bull was just the morale boost he needed after a tricky spell. Bully Boy now has an uphill battle to get to the play-offs, though fourth spot is only two points away. The man occupying that spot his his opponent in Rotterdam, James Wade. The Machine would have wanted to blow Dimitri van den Bergh away, but ended up getting flustered in a blustery Rotterdam Ahoy. He’ll want that to have been sorted out by Thursday night. Stage manager, beware.
Night Nine schedule
Daryl Gurney v Mensur Suljovic
Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
James Wade v Michael Smith
Author: Ed McCosh