We’re Berlin-bound as the Premier League Darts tour makes its way over to Berlin. Los geht’s!
Max Hopp is no doubt the star attraction for the home support at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. But before he takes to the stage, there are four other Premier League Darts ties to be played. And after the Berlin action ends, the PDC European Tour kicks off in Leverkusen. It’s definitely a good time to be a German darts fan.
Second plays fifth in the first tie of the evening. Rob Cross is, to all intents and purposes, joint top at this stage. At the end of the season tiebreakers can be applied if needs be, but for now Voltage is level with Michael van Gerwen in the race for top spot. It’s seriously impressive how well he has bounced back from a damaging defeat to the Dutchman in Dublin. Gerwyn Price deserves praise too, for improving markedly on a terrible Premier League Darts debut. Neither need to worry about Judgement Night, so this is all about gaining momentum. That’s especially true for Cross, who has won his last three on the spin.
Hunt for points
James Wade and Peter Wright go into their clash level on points, and in the play-off spots. It’s looking rosy for the pair after inauspicious starts to the season. Wade brutalised Daryl Gurney in Aberdeen, but then failed to back it up against Mensur Suljovic in Nottingham. Pound-for-pound, however, the Machine has been the most impressive player in the Premier League thus far. Wright, frankly, hasn’t. Not that he has been awful. On occasions, Wright has brought out the magic we all know he’s capable of. The results just aren’t showing it. His only wins have come against whipping boy Raymond van Barneveld and contender Steve Lennon, a relative rookie on the big stage. Yet Snakebite could be top of the Premier League at the end of the night. It’s a funny old game.
The latest beneficiary of Wright’s generosity was Daryl Gurney, who may still be wondering how he got a point in Nottingham. It was a vital one too; a drop in form means that the Northern Irishman is fighting for his Premier League Darts future. Should he win in Berlin, and Raymond van Barneveld loses, he’ll be safe, and won’t have to worry about a tense tussle with the Dutch icon in Rotterdam. The only problem is that he’s playing Michael van Gerwen. Mighty Mike put Gerwyn Price to the sword in Nottingham to arrest a disappointing mini-run, and he’s back atop the Premier League. His killer instinct will drive him to keep hold of top spot. Yet history tells us that Gurney knows how to throw a spanner in the Green Machine’s works.
Michael Smith and Mensur Suljovic aren’t safe from an early exit yet. But it’s heavily unlikely that either will be dragged into the fight. That being said, the loser of this game (if there is one) would be within reach of bottom spot, with just two games left. Having suffered elimination on his Premier League debut, Suljovic will be desperate to avoid a repeat. If he plays like he did against James Wade last week, he’ll be just fine. Smith, meanwhile, isn’t pleased with how he is playing despite comfortably seeing off Nathan Aspinall. If his head goes down early on, it could be a rough evening in front of a Berlin crowd likely to get behind the Austrian.
It’s a real treat for that Berlin faithful in the last tie of the night. Max Hopp is the ideal PDC ‘contender’. He’s not good enough for a regular spot (yet), but he’s a massive crowd favourite, and someone who puts in his best performances on the stage. There’ll be real interest from neutrals as well, with Hopp among the players who may or may not kick on soon and become real superstars. Then there’s Raymond van Barneveld, suddenly in fine fettle thanks to Players Championship progress. If he beats Hopp, Barney then takes on fellow elimination battler Daryl Gurney. Win that, and he sets up a Judgement Night showdown with Dutch compatriot Michael van Gerwen, in Rotterdam. Drink it in.
Click here for more information about the Premier League Darts, including all the fixtures and the prize fund breakdown.
Week Seven schedule
Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross
James Wade v Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney
Michael Smith v Mensur Suljovic
Max Hopp v Raymond van Barneveld
Author: Ed McCosh