In a rematch of the World Championship final, Michael van Gerwen beat Michael Smith 7-5 to get his Premier League Darts campaign off to a winning start.
With an average of 105, Mighty Mike hit five 180s and successfully landed seven of his 12 doubles in a brilliant display. Bully Boy averaged only 10 points less with 95 while also hitting three fewer maximums and the highest checkout of the match with a 150. Smith even broke the van Gerwen throw in the opening leg with a finish of 93, but the lead wasn’t to last long as MVG wiped out with a 12-darter before breaking Smith back in the sixth saw to go 4-2 ahead. The scoreline read 5-5 not too long after as Smith broke again before banking a 150. He soon fell behind for the third and final time as MVG took out 56 under pressure, with Smith poised on 62, before an 11-darter secured victory and with it, maximum points.
More higlights from Night 1
After ten attempts, Gerwyn Price won his first ever Premier League Darts match thanks to an impressive and unexpected 7-4 victory over Daryl Gurney. The Iceman made his debut last season and managed only two draws before being eliminated on judgment night, but this time got his second season up and running thanks to an average of 104. For a while, it didn’t look good for Price as the Welshman dropped the first two legs to fall behind. This was before the former Rugby player reeled off five straight legs to build an impressive lead. Price, who was booed throughout, soon guaranteed himself at least a point before Superchin kept his fading hopes alive by winning the next few legs before Price dashed those hopes as he closed out the match. Showing no signs of nerves following his £21,500 fine and suspended three-month ban, the Iceman hit six 180s compared to Gurney’s zero while landing seven of his 16 darts doubles.
Another Premier League boo boy, James Wade, got his season underway with a win after he dealt an early blow to Raymond van Barneveld’s hopes of a successful farewell with a 7-4 win. With the first six legs going with throw, it was Barney who struck the first blow as he claimed the first break with a 14-darter. The Machine, who reached the Masters final on the previous Sunday, struck back with four successive legs, including a checkout of 124 on the bull to close out the match.
The first “contender” of this year’s Premier League season, local hero Chris Dobey was up next. He was roared on by the Geordie fans, brilliantly claiming a draw with Mensur Suljovic. In truth, the Newcastle man may feel a little disappointed given he had been holding a 5-1 lead after six legs and despite letting the win slip, he admits to wanting to experience such nights again in the future after his taster here.
Hollywood opened up with a 113 checkout in the first leg before racing clear and landing a flurry of 180s to rock Suljovic into an early scare. The Gentle, however, responded by taking down the next five legs to move within one from victory. But the Austrian’s hopes were dashed when he missed a double at 18 before Dobey stepped up to punish him with two 16s with a dart remaining. In the end, as well as sharing the points, both players hit six doubles from 17 shots. Suljovic boasted the slightly higher average of 100.99 compared to Dobey’s 98.52 but Hollywood edged the maximums by 6-5.
In the final game of the night, Rob Cross and Peter Wright also shared points after Voltage punished Snakebite’s missed match dart in the last leg of the contest to claim a 6-6 draw. In a match where both players averaged over 100, Cross raced into an early 3-1 lead before his Scottish opponent won three legs on the bounce to move ahead courtesy of a 100 checkout as well as an 11-darter. From there the next five legs all went with throw splitting the points.
Darts Premier League betting tips for Night 2
This week’s action gets underway with Peter Wright stepping out against Michael Smith. For me, the smart money is on Bully Boy, who needs to come up with a response after losing to MVG last week but who otherwise looks every inch of the world’s best players right now. In contrast, Snakebite has been looking shaky for a while now and should be heading into Thursday’s game with a win already under his belt. The fact he blew the lead at the last moment is hardly surprising, and in a best of 12, he would do well to even scrape a draw here. It’s also worth noting that Smith played two and won both of the Premier League matches against Wright 7-1 last year.
The next game of the night looks the most likely to reach a stalemate to me. In ten matches played head-to-head, they have won five each so this has all the makings of a close game. The Machine has already got points on the board following last week’s win against Barney, while Cross held his nerve to claim a draw with Wright, and I suspect he might just do the same in week two.
Raymond van Barneveld and Gerwyn Price are out next in a match that is likely to pour more misery on Barney’s farewell Premier League campaign. RVB’s last charge got off to a poor start a week ago, but can Price build on his first Premier League win? The Dutchman has a better record against Price, who has won only one of their six meetings. Still, Barney’s best days are behind him and the Iceman should be able to capitalise.
Chris Dobey got the ‘contenders’ off to a solid start last week when he secured a point against Mensur Suljovic. This week up steps newly blooded PDC man and standing BDO world champion, Glen Durrant to give us an early and fleeting look at what he brings to the code. While I am backing Superchin to take the points here, Duzza can be expected to seize his time to shine and prove why this decision to step up was the correct one. Last Sunday he lost in the final of a Players Championship to Dave Chisnall and could take advantage of Gurney’s lack of confidence following a loss of form. I am not sure he will and so I expect Gurney to have too much for him just yet.
Michael van Gerwen and Mensur Suljovic close out the evening in a match that looks like it should be a fairly routine win for the Dutchman. Mighty Mike proved once again, as if it was needed, that he is the man to beat last week and comes up against The Gentle who will need to improve on his night one performance. Suljovic showed fighting spirit when fighting back from 5-1 behind against Dobey, but MVG will not be quite so forgiving. Also, Van Gerwen has won seven of their last eight games, so there’s that.
This week’s Betway acca; Michael Smith, Draw, Gerwyn Price, Daryl Gurney and MVG (63.5/1)
Darts Premier League Night 2 matchups
- (7/4) Peter Wright v Michael Smith (11/10)
- (11/10) Rob Cross v James Wade (7/4)
- (7/4) Raymond van Barneveld v Gerwen Price (11/10)
- (7/5) Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant (7/5)
- (6/1) Mensur Suljovic v Michael van Gerwen (1/3)
Quick glance at the Darts Premier League – Night 2
Venue: SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Dates: Thursday 14.02.2019
Format: Best of 12 legs
Current Champion: Michael van Gerwen
Where To Watch: Sky Sports
When To Watch: (1900 GMT)