Premier League Darts Week 3 saw the PDC’s travelling roadshow roll into Dublin’s 3Arena.
The first match of the evening saw pantomime villain Gerwyn Price and James Wade battle to a 6-6 draw. Price was expectedly greeted to the stage by a shower of boos and did little to quieten the crowd early.
GERWYN PRICE VS JAMES WADE
After conceding the first leg, Wade took out 127, then broke the Price throw to gain a 2-1 lead. Price broke back immediately, only to be broken again. Price then missed two darts to level, instead, Wade won the next two and stretched his lead to 5-2.
The Price fightback began with a break in the next leg and he took advantage of Wade missing 167 for a break. At 5-4 down Price nailed 88 on the bull and we saw the first real sign of his trademark celebrations.
Price held throw to guarantee a point and stay unbeaten, but Wade took out 129 for a share of the spoils.
STEVE LENNON VS PETER WRIGHT
In the second match, local favourite Steve Lennon received a hero’s welcome as he took on world number 3, Peter Wright. Lennon walked out to a sea of green with the crowd singing along to the strains of ‘Whisky in the Jar’.
For the uninitiated, Lennon’s participation is due to Gary Anderson’s withdrawal from the competition. Instead of replacing him with just one other player the PDC chose to pick a series of local ‘contenders’ to fill the Scotsman’s shoes.
The Irishman had a perfect start, winning the first leg on throw then breaking with an 11 darter. Lennon then extended his lead with a 105 finish, and the Dublin crowd roared in appreciation with chants of ‘Steve-O, Steve-O’.
Unfortunately for the crowd in attendance, the fairytale fell apart from there. Wright; once again using a different set of darts, showed his class reeling off four legs in a row. Lennon stopped the rot in leg 9 but Wright kicked on to win the match 7-5.
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN V ROB CROSS
In the ‘main event’, reigning Premier League and World Champion Michael van Gerwen (MvG) thrashed former World Champion Rob Cross 7-2. MvG raced to a 4-0 lead, breaking the Cross throw with finishes of 100 and 88.
Van Gerwen guaranteed a point without dropping a leg as he pinned double 18 for a 6-0 lead. Cross managed to avoid the whitewash much to Van Gerwen’s frustration by breaking in the seventh leg.
Cross held his throw to make it 6-2, but it was too little too late as Van Gerwen secured a third successive victory with an average of 101.34.
MICHAEL SMITH V DARYL GURNEY
Next, 2017 Grand Prix Champion Daryl Gurney edged a close match with World Championship runner-up Michael Smith. Smith was fast out of the gates with checkouts of 83 and 67 which resulted in an early 2-0 lead.
Gurney came to life in the third and ran off four legs in a row, including a dagger of a 140 finish to lead 4-2. It really should have been 5-2 but the Northern Irishman missed a shocking 10 darts at double, and Smith pegged him back to 4-3.
Smith levelled the match at 4-4 before the pair exchanged holds of throw to take the game to 5-5. Just as this seemed to be heading for a draw Gurney broke the Smith throw, then held to secure his second victory of the season.
MENSUR SULJOVIC VS RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
In the final match of week 3, five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld produced a stunning comeback to secure a 6-6 draw and steal a vital point. Barneveld started slowly as an early break of throw from Suljovic saw the Austrian take 3-0 lead.
Barney was able to stem the tide momentarily to make it 3-1, but Suljovic took the next two including a break of throw to make it 5-1. At that point, Barneveld started shaking his head, and the critics of his inclusion in this competition seemed to be vindicated. However, Barney wasn’t done yet and once again showed his pedigree, rattling off four legs in a row to make it 5-5.
Suljovic secured a point taking a 6-5 but missed 158 for the match, allowing Barneveld to snatch a draw.
- Gerwyn Price 6-6 James Wade
- Steve Lennon 5-7 Peter Wright
- Michael van Gerwen 7-2 Rob Cross
- Michael Smith 5-7 Daryl Gurney
- Mensur Suljovic 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld