Raymond van Barneveld beat Gary Anderson in Bournemouth Thursday night to guarantee a re-match with the Scotsman in the semi finals of the Premier League Darts in two weeks. Adrian Lewis also took control of the fourth and final playoff position as James Wade’s and Simon Whitlock’s hopes hang by a thread.
Barneveld was in imperious form against Anderson after a lethargic start, where the Dutchman missed 11 of his first 13 attempts at a double. The first three legs went with the throw despite opportunities to break, leaving Anderson with an early 2-1 lead. Barney almost lost the fourth leg after missing eight attempts at a double before finally levelling the scores. Both players then held their throw twice to leave the score at 4-4.
The momentum swung in the ninth leg. Anderson hit his fourth 180 and almost hit a 161 out shot, when his final dart hit the wire of the bull and bounced out. The Flying Scotsman then missed an array of doubles and Barney took advantage to break Anderson and take a 5-4 lead. Barneveld then comfortably held his throw and broke Anderson again after the Scotsman missed another out shot. Anderson had two more chances to break back in the 12th leg, but Barneveld clinically hit double top to win 8-4 and secure his semi final place.
Adrian Lewis was the other major winner on Thursday night. Terry Jenkins harboured outside hopes of claiming an unlikely playoff sport but Lewis blew him away. Lewis’ scoring was lacklustre at the beginning, but Jackpot was clinical on doubles, finishing with a success rate of 8/14. The first six legs all went with throw, leaving the players locked at 3-3 at the break.
Lewis came out strong and hit a 100 out shot in the seventh leg to secure an 11 darter. Lewis followed up with 112 and 144 out shots in the next two legs to claim a commanding 6-3 lead. Jackpot easily won two more legs to make it six in a row and secure a comfortable 8-3 victory. Lewis now only needs a draw next week to make the semis, but Jackpot holds a major legs difference over Wade and Whitlock and will likely progress regardless.
Wade’s hopes of overcoming a disastrous start to the campaign were almost certainly extinguished after the Machine lost 8-4 to Phil Taylor. Both players started well, with Taylor firing a 157 out shot in the second leg to announce his intentions. The game got away from Wade early, however, as the Machine missed two attempts at a double in the third leg and Taylor took advantage to break Wade.
The fifth leg produced some sensational darts. A Taylor 180 was met with a Wade maximum. Taylor then responded with yet another 180 before Wade checked out with a composed and timely 98 out shot. Taylor described Wade’s out shot as the best 98 checkout he’d ever seen, but it was not enough to shift momentum. Taylor took the sixth leg to lead 4-2 at the interval, with Taylor’s 112 average outshining Wade’s also impressive 105.
Taylor broke again after the break to create some more daylight, but Wade broke straight back to give himself a glimmer of hope. Taylor raced ahead in the ninth leg, but Wade hit a timely 105 to leave himself on 36. Taylor, in a very rare occurrence, missed three attempts at a double. Wade took the leg to reduce the deficit to 5-4. Unfortunately for the Machine, Taylor won the final three legs to win 8-4. Wade, despite averaging a creditable 103 average, is now almost certainly going to miss out on the semi finals.
The opening match pitted Simon Whitlock against Mark Webster. Both players had been on losing steaks, but Webster will have been happier than his opponent as he ended a Premier League record eight match losing spree with a 7-7 draw. The result is disastrous for Whitlock, who now needs a miracle to qualify for the semi finals.
The players started well and held their throw until the break. Webster broke Whitlock in the seventh leg, but Whitlock responded well and broke back immediately. Webster broke the Australian again in the 11th leg with a 127 out shot. Whitlock needed to win the final three legs to keep his hopes alive and the Wizard fired a 180 on the way to breaking Webster again.
Webster, however, broke Whitlock again in the 13th leg to strike a hammer blow to Whitlock’s chances. Whitlock, to his credit, came out fighting and won the final leg.
Simon Whitlock vs Mark Webster: 7-7
Gary Anderson vs Raymond van Barneveld: 4-8
Terry Jenkins vs Adrian Lewis: 3-8
James Wade vs Phil Taylor: 4-8