The Premier League Darts is bound once again for the Emerald Isle.
Dublin plays host to Night Four of the Premier League Darts on Thursday evening. Last year, there was an outstanding atmosphere at the 3Arena as home hero Steve Lennon almost grabbed a surprise win. There’s another World Cup star for the Irish fans to cheer on this time – more on that later.
First up is a meeting between the Premier League Darts’ two debutants (excluding ‘contender’ appearances). As far as starts go, Glen Durrant and Nathan Aspinall are nailing it. Duzza sits top and is unbeaten; Aspinall inflicted defeat on van Gerwen in Cardiff to insert himself into third. This could be a great chance for one of this duo to continue building a strong case for play-off contention.
Rob Cross is well aware that this event doesn’t do much by way of generosity, particularly when battling for the top spots. A runner-up in the group stage by the narrowest of margins a year ago, Cross has been involved in three tight ties, and has come out with a win, a draw and a defeat. His loss against Wright was a reminder that even the slightest slip-up can be deadly. Gary Anderson’s got the same record as Cross, but needs to re-assert himself after letting Glen Durrant run away with it last week. He could’ve gone top, but instead sits eighth; the Flying Scotsman can testify to the cruelty of the Premier League Darts.
Redemption for Superchin?
Daryl Gurney normally gets a good reception in Dublin. He’s going to need it. A first point of the season doesn’t mask the wider malaise – Superchin is somehow two points adrift at the bottom already, and has lost 11 of his 18 competitive matches in 2020. The city where he famously claimed the World Grand Prix is an ideal place for a revival. Michael Smith will have something to say about that, however. The Bully Boy came into his own with a scintillating 7-1 smashing of Jonny Clayton, and if he can keep his momentum up, he’ll feel a worthy favourite.
Another week goes by, and another ‘challenger’ bites the dust. This time it was Clayton who was unable to beat the cameo curse, and we’ve now had 11 players stopping by the Premier League Darts as a one-off without grabbing a win (John Henderson’s had two goes at it). Can William O’Connor break that duck? The World Cup star of 2019 isn’t in the same hot form as during last summer, but he’ll feel he can win on home turf. He’s drawn the short straw in Michael van Gerwen. Yet the world number one didn’t exactly handle Hendo too well last year, and is fresh from a jarring defeat to Nathan Aspinall in Cardiff.
Another Ally Pally repeat
Last week, Aspinall’s success marked revenge for a World Championship semi-final loss. If that plays out again, we’d see Gerwyn Price defeat Peter Wright here. Of course, narratives don’t work quite like that. For one, we’d have to see Price do something other than draw. Winning Players Championship 6 is an ideal warm-up for the Iceman. Then again, Wright blitzing Players Championship 5 negates the impression of superior momentum. Snakebite keeps showing flashes of simply mesmeric play, though not as much in the Premier League Darts. A high-scoring showdown could be in the offing and it’ll be interesting to see what the tournament’s top 180-hitter can muster.
Premier League Darts 2020 schedule
Night Four, Dublin
19:15 Glen Durrant vs Nathan Aspinall
19:50 Rob Cross vs Gary Anderson
20:25 Daryl Gurney vs Michael Smith
21:00 Michael van Gerwen vs William O’Connor [challenger]
21:35 Gerwyn Price vs Peter Wright
Author: Ed McCosh