Next on the Premier League Darts schedule is a trip north of Hadrian’s Wall to Glasgow.
Week One in Newcastle was full of intrigue. Michael van Gerwen won, as per usual. There was also a win for James Wade on his Premier League return, and a rollicking 6-6 draw between Peter Wright and Rob Cross. The identities of the two top 180 hitters were cause for serious surprise. One was Gerwyn Price, who stormed to a maiden Premier League win. And then there was Chris Dobey, proving that the PDC ‘contenders’ are just that. Glasgow is sure to witness more top class drama.
Peter Wright’s normally a good source of drama. And so it proved last week, where he and Rob Cross kept the Newcastle crowd in suspense throughout an excellent 12-leg battle. He’ll want to pick up a win now, and avoid a repeat of last year’s slow start. Michael Smith went off like a train last year; this time, Michael van Gerwen has set Bully Boy off to a losing start. There’ll be no need to panic, though. Everyone at this point would expect to lose to the Dutchman. Two defeats in a row might set off alarm bells, however.
James Wade is back, and he’s Wading like never before. A classically ruthless performance from the Machine got his 2019 Premier League campaign going. He may have expected to beat Raymond van Barneveld, however. Rob Cross has admitted that he’s not at his best right now. Some darts are still being dragged, a few attempts at double are loose. But a rusty Cross is still a serious challenge. Voltage will fancy this, if he’s clinical at the back end of key legs.
A fair few people were tipping Raymond van Barneveld and Gerwyn Price to be battling relegation by the time Judgement Night rolls around. Now the pair have the chance to prove why that assessment would be unfair. There’s no doubting who the Glasgow crowd will be backing. Not that Price cares. Another superb showing like that which felled Daryl Gurney a week ago will stand him in very good stead. Two wins from two, with winnable games against Wade, Luke Humphries and Mensur Suljovic coming up, would surely banish last year’s demons. Barney doesn’t need it to be Valentine’s Day to guarantee a love-in with his adoring public. He risks disappointing them here, and handing more ammunition to his detractors.
Back seat for Duzza
Of all the nine ‘contenders’ announced for this year’s Premier League, none attracted more interest than Glen Durrant. As well as being the three-time back-to-back Lakeside champion, the Teessider is hugely popular. Darts Connect revealed that no player’s progress was tracked at the Players Championship events last weekend as much as Durrant’s. But for all the acclaim, he’s not the main attraction here. While this is an exciting one-off for Duzza, Daryl Gurney needs to pick up Premier League points. A 7-4 defeat to Price wasn’t pleasing. Gurney didn’t play badly however, and he’ll feel more than equipped to prevent another contender denying points.
Michael van Gerwen rounds off the night in Glasgow, in what should be an excellent match against Mensur Suljovic. That being said, van Gerwen has held the upper hand over the Gentle for quite some time. The Green Machine has won seven of their last eight encounters. That includes a fairly comfortable Masters quarter-final win last month. Van Gerwen is in devastating form, but Jonny Clayton reminded us all that the world champion is fallible. Suljovic, who will be bitterly disappointed not to have done better against Dobey last week, needs to at last put in a performance – even if the right result isn’t forthcoming.
Click here for more information about the Premier League Darts, including all the fixtures and the prize fund breakdown.
Night Two – Thursday February 14
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Peter Wright v Michael Smith
Rob Cross v James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld v Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant
Mensur Suljovic v Michael van Gerwen
Author: Ed McCosh