The 4th-week action of Premier League Darts took place at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter and featured some unforgettable action.
At the end of the week, only one player remains unbeaten, for now at least.
Luke Humphries v Gerwyn Price
In the opening game of week 4, Gerwyn Price and Luke Humphries produced an absolute barnburner that finished in a deserved 6-6 draw.
Price, coming off back to back Pro Tour wins, got off to a flying start. He broke the 24-year-old Humphries in the opening leg, then consolidated with a hold of throw. Price had a chance for the double break, missing tops for a 145. This allowed Humphries to get on the board with an 85 checkout.
Things started to heat up in the fourth leg with Price taking out a massive 147 to go 3-1 up. Only for Humphries to return fire was a 161 finish of his own.
In leg 6 Gerwyn Price went within millimetres of perfection, opening with 180. Before he narrowly missed a double 12 for a 144 checkout and a nine-dart finish. The Welshman kept his cool and took out the same double to seal a 10 dart leg.
Humphries, this week’s ‘contender’ filling in for Gary Anderson, was unfazed and won the next three legs to move into a 5-4 lead. Price held throw in the tenth but missed two darts at double in the next leg allowing Humphries to secure at least a draw taking a 6-5 lead.
In the final leg, Humphries missed a dart at 148 that would have ended Price’s unbeaten start. Instead, the Welshman took out 76 to seal a third consecutive draw.
Daryl Gurney V Rob Cross
Next up, Rob Cross bounced back from last week’s trouncing at the hands of Michael van Gerwen by inflicting one of his own on Daryl Gurney. Cross, the 2018 World Champion, raced to a 4-0 lead.
Gurney looked like he might be in with a chance of his first leg but Cross struck a hammer blow with a stunning 153 finish for the triple break. Like MvG did to him the week before, Cross guaranteed a point without conceding a leg.
In the seventh leg, Gurney finally got a point on the board. Taking out 80 with what was his first, and ultimately, only shot at double in the match. The resurgence was short lived as Cross wrapped up a 7-1 victory with an impressive 102.12 average.
Mensur Suljovic V Peter Wright
In the third match of the evening, Mensur Suljovic withstood a Peter Wright comeback to get his first win of this year’s premier league campaign.
Wright opened the match with a break of throw, but missed two darts at double to consolidate, allowing Suljovic to break back immediately. Suljovic then rattled off the next five legs, including finishes of 81 and 121 to claim at least a point.
Wright stopped the rot in the eighth and took out 81 for a break back to show signs of a fightback. Wright, using yet another different set of darts (that’s three in four weeks for those keeping track), followed that up with an 85 finish to peg back to 6-4
Despite losing the last three, Suljovic regained his composure to complete a 7-4 victory. His first of the season, also handing Wright his first defeat.
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Uncharacteristic missed doubles and some clinical finishing from James Wade led to Michael van Gerwen dropping his first points of the premier league in a 7-3 defeat.
The first three legs of the match went with throw, and the streak should have stopped there. However, MvG missed a surprising five darts at double for the break. He showed a flash of brilliance in the next leg, closing on 180 and a 124 out, but missed another three chances to break in leg six.
James Wade, as he has been known to do, seized the opportunity and broke the van Gerwen throw in the next leg. Recovering from a poor dart at tops that landed in the double 1, he took out double 19 for a 4-3 lead.
From there it was all James Wade. He consolidated the break with a hold the got the double break with a 121 finish on the bull. Wade wrapped up the game 7-3, finishing with a 47% success rate on the doubles.
Michael Smith vs Raymond van Barneveld
In the final match of the evening, Michael Smith battled through injury to pick up his first win of the season. It wasn’t a good start for the World Championship finalist as Barneveld took an early break to lead 3-1.
Smith limped around the stage, struggling with a groin injury, but managed to stay with the Dutchman. Eventually able to level up the match with a break of throw in the sixth leg. The match continued with the throw for the next few legs and we seemed to be heading for another Barneveld draw.
Smith had other ideas though. Throwing a clutch finish of 90 to break in the tenth leg, then wrapped up both points with a 14 dart leg. With the victory, Smith pulls himself off the foot of the table, with the still winless Barneveld replacing him.
At the end of week four, van Gerwen remains top of the table, despite the loss. Victories for James Wade and Rob Cross see them climb into the playoff places. Meanwhile, Gerwyn Price is the last remaining undefeated player.
- Luke Humphries 6-6 Gerwyn Price.
- Daryl Gurney 1-7 Rob Cross.
- Mensur Suljovic 7-4 Peter Wright.
- Michael van Gerwen 3-7 James Wade.
- Michael Smith 7-4 Raymond van Barneveld.