Premier League Darts 2020 preview and schedule: Night One, Aberdeen
The PDC Premier League Darts is back, and it's back with a bang.
We've had the Masters, and a dramatic triumph for world champion Peter Wright , to kick off the 2020 season proper. Now comes the Premier League Darts - whether or not you think it's a major, it's definitely a big deal. The 'contenders' remain, as does the hefty £825,000 prize pot. We've also got two exciting debutants. And it all begins in Aberdeen, which gave last year's competition one of its finest moments. Shall we get started?
Michael Smith could've been coming into this as the new Masters champion. Instead, having squandered two match darts, the Bully Boy has to piece together a shattered ego yet again. With his talent, Smith's day will come. But when? The Premier League Darts wasn't kind to him last year, with just three wins.
Glen Durrant makes his debut, though he was a contender last year - an inspired Daryl Gurney put paid to his hopes of a big win. From that point, Duzza went on to make it to three major semi-finals, claiming the Newcomer of the Year award off the back of it. There's a lot of excitement about Durrant's Premier League prospects, and he'll want to start with a win - especially considering that he has the last three PDC world champions in his last three games before Judgement Night.
Gary Anderson was pencilled in for the Premier League Darts in 2019, but had to drop out. In a roundabout way, it's thanks to the Scot that one of his compatriots features later this evening. Before that, the Flying Scotsman is looking in decent nick again and has Daryl Gurney in his sights. The Northern Irishman got to the play-offs last season, and will be after a repeat.
Hoping for seconds
Speaking of repeats, we've got a carbon-copy of the fixture which closed out last season. Michael van Gerwen met Peter Wright in the World Championship final and, against the odds, it was Snakebite who came out on top. He's already got a title in 2020; things are looking rosy for Wright. Van Gerwen, meanwhile, needs to impose himself on the Premier League Darts to reassert dominance. If he can do it, he'll make it six titles in eight appearances.
Wright may have won at the Ally Pally, but it was a different matter in the Premier League. They met twice, and van Gerwen won twice - the 7-1 and 8-1 scorelines speak for themselves. A newly confident Wright will feel he can reverse the charges this time.
The bagpipes. The noise. A spectacular performance and a draw against a bewildered then-world champion. John Henderson's Premier League Darts cameo in Aberdeen last year was the stuff of legend. It was a no-brainer that he should come back, once the contenders were retained. He meets a man who was a contender last year. In fact, Nathan Aspinall might have been the most forgettable contender of all. Away from that Nottingham sojourn, he was spectacular, and so a Premier League debut has been well-earned.
The world number three clashes with the world number four in the last game of the night. Gerwyn Price doesn't have disciplinary scandals hanging over him now, and it'll likely make the world of difference. Rob Cross will feel the pressure when he has to defend his World Championship ranking money in December, but that's a long way off. Voltage was runner-up in last year's Premier League Darts - if he's to do the same, he'll have to see off the likes of Price, because the Welshman is first in line to replace him in the top echelons.
Premier League Darts 2020 schedule
19:10 Michael Smith vs Glen Durrant
19:50 Gary Anderson vs Daryl Gurney
20:10 Michael van Gerwen vs Peter Wright