Raymond van Barneveld enjoyed a double triumph with Betway Premier League Darts victories over Dave Chisnall and Peter Wright at a packed Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, writes Graham Walker.
Dutch ace van Barneveld moved up to second in the Premier League table with his brace of triumphs in Sheffield, twice claiming 7-5 victories to continue his fine season.
SLIDESHOW: Press the play button to watch a slideshow of photos taken at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena. Photos by Lawrence Lustig/PDC.
He firstly edged out Chisnall in a thriller, with the World Grand Prix finalist hitting five 180s and a 164 finish only to miss two darts to claim a draw in the game’s final leg, as van Barneveld followed up earlier finishes of 116 and 110 to claim the win.
The five-time World Champion later returned to the stage to defeat Wright by the same scoreline - moving him above the Scot in the Premier League Darts table.
Van Barneveld hit a 136 finish in the game’s second leg, and though Wright posted a superb 11-darter as he shared the opening eight legs, van Barneveld hit tops for a 5-4 lead before a crucial 129 checkout secured him at least a draw.
Wright hit back to send another game into a deciding leg, but van BArneveld hit double eight as he sealed two more points.
“It’s tough playing twice but I wanted to win both matches and I did, so I’m very happy,” said van Barneveld, who had drawn his last five games ahead of the visit to Sheffield.
“Dave played some absolutely awesome darts in our game and hit so many 180s, but his missed his chance to get a draw at the end and I was happy with that win.
“The game with Peter could have been a draw too, but that 129 finish was the biggest shot of the night for me and I’m over the moon to have won both games.
“I’m working hard and I want to make the top four, and I know I can do that but hopefully I can go all the way and win this tournament.”
Wright left Sheffield without a point from his two matches on the night, having also lost 7-4 to Gary Anderson as the 2011 Premier League champion followed up the birth of son Tai last Friday with a fifth victory of the season.
Anderson never trailed after taking a 2-0 lead early on, and a showpiece 105 checkout of outer bull and two double tops moved him 6-2 up before he went on to complete the victory.
“It’s been a brilliant week for me and I’m glad that Tai arrived safely,” said Anderson. “Since last Thursday I’ve not thrown a dart - I’ve been too busy changing nappies - so it’s great to get a win like this.
“I’m having a big push to make the top four. The year’s been going well so far, and I’m scoring well and hitting my finishes, and though I’m not 100 percent yet, life’s good!”
Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen maintained his position at the top of the table with a high-quality 7-5 win over Robert Thornton, who missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish during the gae.
Thornton also led 3-2, but van Gerwen won the next three legs to turn the game in his favour before hitting two 180s in an 11-dart leg after the Scot sent the game into a decider.
“This was a very important win and I’m feeling really good after that,” said van Gerwen. “At one point Robert broke me and got ahead, and hit some good shots.
“I was strong enough to take the game at the end and I was the better scorer. My form’s still good and I’ve shown I can hit my darts at the right moments, and I’m fighting hard for every point.
“I want to keep this position I won’t be relaxing even though I’m top. I play twice next week, so I’ll be aiming for four points.”
Six-time Premier League Darts champion Phil Taylor, meanwhile, moved into the top four for the first time this season as he picked up a 7-4 win over Adrian Lewis.
Lewis held leads of 3-2 and 4-3 but paid the price for missing two darts at doubles to extend that lead, as Taylor finished 102 to level in the eighth leg and took out a sensational 144 checkout in a run of four successive legs to claim the win.
“That was an important win and a massive game,” said Taylor. “He kept going in front and I’d pull back, and the 102 finish was the shot of the match and I had to hit that.
“Then 144 was a big shot too and I’m really pleased. It’s been in my mind all week that I could get into the top four and it’s all about getting into the semi-finals now - but I want to get back to number one and I’m fighting to do that.”
The tournament continues at a sold-out GE Gas & Oil Arena in Aberdeen next week, with van Gerwen taking on both Taylor and Lewis in his double-header.
Lewis also plays Gary Anderson in a repeat of the 2011 Premier League final, while van Barneveld takes on Thornton and Chisnall plays Wright.
Betway Premier League Darts
April 10, Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield
Dave Chisnall 5-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright 4-7 Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen 7-5 Robert Thornton
Phil Taylor 7-4 Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 Peter Wright
All games the best of 12 legs
Dave Chisnall v Raymond van Barneveld
0-1 - Chisnall lands a 180, but misses double eight for a 136 finish as van Barneveld follows three 140s by taking out 81 on the bull to break.
0-2 - Chisnall posts another maximum, but the Dutch ace finishes 116 to double his lead.
1-2 - Chisnall opens with a third 180 of the game before double ten gets him off the mark.
1-3 - Chisnall lands yet another maximum, but misses the bull for a 124 finish and two darts at double eight, allowing van Barneveld to hold on double 16.
2-3 - The pair trade 180s before Chisnall takes out 73 on tops to hit back.
3-3 - Chisnall breaks to level with a superb 11-darter, taking out 81 on double 12.
3-4 - van Barneveld misses double 19 for a 118 finish, but when Chisnall misses two darts at double eight to take out 64, the Dutchman returns to pin double 19 for a break of throw.
3-5 - A 110 finish, taking out double 18, sees van Barneveld regain a two-leg cushion.
4-5 - van Barneveld lands his second maximum of the game to leave 121, but Chisnall finishes a brilliant 164 checkout to hit back.
4-6 - Double eight sees van Barneveld secure at least a point from the game.
5-6 - Chisnall lands double ten to win a fifth leg and take the game into a decider.
5-7 - van Barneveld lands his third 180 of the game, but misses the bull for an 85 finish to claim the win - only for Chisnall to miss two darts at double 19 to claim a point, allowing the Dutchman back in to hit double eight an take the victory.
Peter Wright v Gary Anderson
0-1 - Anderson misses the bull for a 121 finish, but Wright misses double 16 to take out 101, allowing the 2011 champion in to land double 12 to break immediately.
0-2 - Wright misses double 12 to take out 91, and Anderson lands tops to double his advantage.
1-2 - Anderson opens with a 180, but misses two darts at double eight to finish 76 and break again, and Wright returns to land tops with his third dart to get off the mark.
1-3 - Anderson replies to regain his two-leg cushion.
2-3 - Wright lands a 180 and tops as he hits back.
2-4 - Anderson finishes 48 on tops to regain his advantage.
2-5 - The Scot breaks, hitting a 180 to leave 98 and taking out the combination on double 12.
2-6 - Anderson secures at least a point with a clinical 105 checkout, hitting outer bull and two double tops.
3-6 - Wright finishes a showpiece 96 with single 20, double 18 and double top.
4-6 - Wright takes out 136 to keep alive his hopes of securing a draw.
4-7- Anderson hits a third 180 of the game as he leaves 24, and when Wright misses double top for an 81 checkout, the 2011 winner returns to pin double 12 for a 14-darter to secure the victory.
Michael van Gerwen v Robert Thornton
1-0 - van Gerwen finishes 96 to win the game’s opening leg.
1-1 - Thornton takes out 95 as he replies to level.
2-1 - van Gerwen opens with a 180 and finishes 41 on double 16 for an 11-darter.
2-2 - Thornton initially misses the bull to finish 81, but returns to land double 19 to level again.
2-3 - Thornton punishes two misses from van Gerwen by landing double two to break.
3-3 - Thornton hits a 180, but van Gerwen breaks back on double eight.
4-3 - Tops sees van Gerwen hit the front.
5-3 - van Gerwen finishes 81 on double 13 to break and move two legs clear.
5-4 - THORNTON MISSES DOUBLE 12 FOR A NINE-DART LEG! The Scot opens with two 180s before hitting treble 20 and treble 19, only to miss double 12 for a perfect leg, and he also misses three more darts to win the leg before punishing one miss at double 12 from the Dutchman by hitting double six.
5-5 - Thornton opens with another 180 and adds a second maximum later in the leg - before both players initially miss doubles in two visits as the Scot returns on double four to level.
6-5 - van Gerwen misses the bull for a 124 finish, but returns to land double 16 as he secures a point.
7-5 - van Gerwen opens with two 180s to set up his own nine-dart chance, but misses the treble 19 on the 141 combination - although he has enough breathing space to return and finish 56 o tops for an 11-darter to secure the win and remain top of the league table.
Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis
1-0 - Taylor opens the game by posting tops to win the first leg.
1-1 - Lewis hits a 180 and finishes 80 on tops to level.
2-1 - Lewis lands another maximum, but misses the bull for a 121 finish to break as Taylor steps in on double 19.
2-2 - Lewis finishes 79 on double 11 to level again.
2-3 - Lewis posts a 180 to leave 40, and when Taylor misses three darts to win the leg - at double top, ten and five - the youngster steps in on tops to break for the first time.
3-3 - Taylor breaks back, punishing Lewis for two misses at double 18 and two further misses at double nine, allowing Taylor back in on double 16.
3-4 - Lewis takes out 90 on double ten for another break of throw.
4-4 - Taylor hits a 180 to leave 102, and when Lewis misses two darts at double ten for a 77 finish, the 16-time World Champion clinically finishes the combination on double 16 to break and level.
5-4 - Taylor posts a 177, and though he initially misses two darts at double 16, Lewis’ miss at the bull for a 90 finish allows him back to hit the double and move back ahead.
6-4 - Lewis hits a 180, but Taylor breaks with a sensational 144 checkout, as double 12 secures a point.
7-4 - Lewis adds his fifth 180 of the game, but Taylor posts tops to complete the win as he avenges his defeat to Lewis earlier in the season by moving above his Stoke rival in the table and into the top four for the first time this season.
Raymond van Barneveld v Peter Wright
0-1 - Wright breaks throw to win the opening leg on double eight.
1-1 - van Barneveld breaks back with a 12-darter, taking out a superb 136 finish.
2-1 - Wright misses double 19 to take out 118, and van Barneveld finishes double 18 to move ahead.
2-2 - Double three sees Wright level again.
3-2 - van Barneveld lands a 180 and double nine to move back ahead.
3-3 - Wright levels in 14 darts by taking out 76.
4-3 - Double eight edges van Barneveld back in front.
4-4 - Wright fires in a 180 before taking out 84 for a sparkling 11-darter.
5-4 - Wright misses the bull for a 122 finish, and van Barneveld takes out tops to regain the edge.
6-4 - Wright lands a maximum, but a superb 129 checkout from van Barneveld, finishing double 18 for a 12-darter, secures him at least a point.
6-5 - A 14-darter from Wright sees him take the game into a deciding leg.
7-5 - van Barneveld secures both points by finishing double eight to complete a perfect night.