Professional play continues in Exeter at the Westpoint Arena, and one of the top ranking players, Phil Taylor, continues to struggle with defeat in Premier League Darts matches. He lost his fourth match with a 7-5 blow from Gary Anderson. Once Taylor grabbed 76 after the first four legs went against the throw to establish the game’s first hold, Anderson retaliated to regain the lead on double six following four missed doubles from Taylor. He held his lead for two legs at which point Taylor snapped up a double 16 to revive the competition. In the end, Taylor missed two shots trying to reach a double 14 and Anderson topped out with 97 on a double 10 for his season’s third victory. This puts him into the top four. As a 16 time world champion, disappointed Taylor was vying for a win in Exeter to start the round of competitions off with a bang and fans of the game are also disenchanted by The Power’s poor showing and wonder if this is the start of his career fading.
Adrian Lewis and Michael Van Gerwen also battled it out with a finishing tally of a 6-6 draw, stalemating on the first three matches. The players were competitive and focused and were both somewhat surprised by the outcome. Both had complimentary remarks to make of their opponent’s play and handled their rivalry with the utmost of panache. Although Lewis played while fighting a chest infection, he managed to rise to the occasion providing spectators with an immensely entertaining level of play. Both players admit to believing they are the top competitors and say that the year ahead will be the telling factor in determining who is right about that.
And more draws clouded the victory light for Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall with a tight six legs to start until Chisnall took a lead. Van Barneveld rallied back with his own break on double 10 following Chisnall’s triple dart misses. This pattern continued for the two players, again really keeping the edge on the spirit of competition throughout the match to finally rest on the draw.
In the evening’s last match, Robert Thornton took a beating from Simon Whitlock with a finishing score of 7-5. They played head to head in a level start in the first few legs with Whitlock grabbing the lead with 70 on double top, maintaining for three more legs. The next couple of legs swung over in Thornton’s favour but Whitlock rallied back to take the next four legs to solidify his win. Thornton finished with a 6-6 draw with Peter Wright earlier in the day.
Wes Newton was unable to engage in the competition due to a viral infection that struck him down earlier thus ruling him out. Newton will return to play Simon Whitlock in Dublin, Ireland later in March.
After the fifth week of play, the top four spots now belong to Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson. Play will continue in the Premier League until May’s final matchups at the O2 arena in London.