Premier League Darts: Durrant hands Van Gerwen further blow as Anderson edges closer to Play-Offs
Michael van Gerwen’s hopes of reaching the London Play-Offs for an eighth consecutive year suffered yet another blow on Night 14 of the Premier League in Milton Keynes.
Van Gerwen had been defeated in four of his seven matches since the restart prior to Thursday evening’s enticing encounter with the table-topping Durrant.
The world number one had also never overcame the three-time BDO world champion in a professional tournament, and that record remained following a stalemate outcome.
Van Gerwen opted for a change in equipment after a discouraging vein of form, and a perhaps needed amendment produced promising signs in the early exchanges.
After a clinical 13-darter in the opening leg from Durrant, Van Gerwen imminently responded with back-to-back legs and a clutch 85 checkout on the bullseye to gain a foothold.
Durrant’s remarkable riposte involved an impressive 105 outshot on his favoured double 16 to level up proceedings at two apiece, before Van Gerwen once again claimed two legs in succession.
Van Gerwen taking aim during his draw with Durrant (Photography: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Unusual misses on the outer ring from his opponent gifted the Dutchman a two-leg advantage, and that break of throw would remain ever so pivotal until the latter stages of the contest.
Van Gerwen voiced his trademark roar after executing a mesmerising 108 checkout to secure a draw and move on the cusp of two points. However, the Middlesbrough man would survive match darts and peg him back once again to force a decider.
Durrant opened his account in the all-important leg with a maximum, and continued to consistently pepper the treble bed throughout, before landing double one to snatch a point.
Elsewhere in Milton Keynes, Gary Anderson moved on the brink of securing his top four spot as he averaged in excess of 102 in a convincing 8-2 victory over Michael Smith.
Smith landed three maximums and a 10-darter at the outset whilst constructing a 2-1 lead, although his slender advantage sparked a scintillating showing from the two-time champion.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ would reel off seven legs in succession and produce a stunning display in the doubling department, including impressive checkouts of 81, 94 and 154, en route to completing a dominant win over last year’s finalist.
Anderson’s World Cup of Darts teammate Peter Wright similarly stepped one foot into the Play-Offs as the reigning world champion averaged 103.11 in a 8-5 win over Nathan Aspinall.
Wright leapfrogged his fellow former UK Open champion Aspinall after producing a finishing masterclass and converting five 180s in a prolific performance.
Wright on stage during his battle with Aspinall (Photography: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Aspinall drew first blood with his first maximum and a 14-darter in the opening leg, before doubling his lead on double eight. The Stockport sensation would subsequently remain two legs in front throughout the majority of the contest.
Aspinall would lead 5-3 as the match exceeded the halfway stage, before ‘Snakebite’ reeled off five consecutive legs in 15 darts or less to pull off a gallant victory.
Gerwyn Price’s hopes of a maiden appearance in the Play-Offs suffered another slight setback as he was held to a 7-7 draw with eighth-placed Daryl Gurney.
After evading elimination, Gurney’s hopes of pulling off a remarkable return to the top four have become impossible, meaning the Northern Irishman had nothing to play for against his Welsh counterpart.
Nevertheless, the former World Grand Prix champion produced an assured performance as he registered a 97.21 average and four maximums in securing his first draw of the campaign.
A closely matched contest never saw more than two legs between the pair, but Price battled back from 2-0 and 4-2 behind to eventually gain a 7-6 lead.
Gurney held the advantage of throwing first in the all-important decider and used that to full effect, firing home a maximum with his opening three darts.
Steady stuff throughout the middle part of the deciding leg meant the Derry-based ace was first to a finish, and converted a 130 checkout to clinch a point.
Premier League Darts continues on Friday evening in Milton Keynes as an enticing battle between Van Gerwen and Anderson headlines the bill.
PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS
Thursday September 3
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Gerwyn Price 7-7 Daryl Gurney
Gary Anderson 8-2 Michael Smith
Peter Wright 8-5 Nathan Aspinall
Glen Durrant 7-7 Michael van Gerwen
Glen Durrant's grips onto top spot, whilst a draw for Michael van Gerwen isn't good enough to lift him into the top four!
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) September 3, 2020
Friday September 4 (7pm)
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Daryl Gurney v Nathan Aspinall
Glen Durrant v Peter Wright
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith v Gerwyn Price
(Featured Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)