Time for More Tales of The Tungsten Tips | Premier League Darts Play-Offs

The secret of darts’ recent success as a spectator sport is as unfathomable to most as calculating a 137 checkout, but for those who’ve packed arenas in all corners of the United Kingdom, not to mention Dublin and Rotterdam, there are few better nights out.

While the World Championships at Alexandra Palace will always be king for the players and aficionados, the Premier League offers something for everyone.

Those who can’t make it to London over Christmas and New Year to watch the global title are given the chance to indulge in what the late great Sid Waddell called “pure working-class theatre”.

The boisterous, beery crowds have been replicated across 15 nights of brilliant darts that started back in early February. The 10 players that kicked off the event have been whittled down to the four very best arrowsmiths, who will contest the semi-finals on Play-Offs night at the O2 Arena after 774 legs, 437 180s, 84 ton-plus checkouts and one nine-darter – the latter coming courtesy of Adrian Lewis during week 11 in Liverpool.

As defending champion and favourite for this year’s crown Michael Van Gerwen told pdc.tv last week: “It’s the top four darts players in the world and I can’t wait”.

Neither can we MVG

Michael Van Gerwen heads to Docklands looking to secure his third Premier League title, but he’s admitted that he hasn’t been firing on all cylinders so far.

He was quoted as saying that’s it’s been really tough this year, but he still managed to top the regular season standings (for a fifth straight year) with 10 wins from 16 matches and just two defeats.

His 24-point total – just one more than Peter Wright – meant the Dutchman claimed the £25,000 league winner’s bonus, but his eyes will certainly be on the main prize of ten times that amount.

With an average of 104.92 and highest checkout of 170 (one of only three across the 15 nights of action), MVG is obviously the man to beat.

The Power Not Ready To Turn Off

It’s difficult to not root for Phil Taylor at the O2 Arena, as the former world number one and 14-time PDC world champion gets ready to wind down his astonishing career that has seen him win 84 major titles.

‘The Power’ has not always been a fan favourite, but there has always been respect from the audience who admire his ability and longevity in the game.

He was given no more than a 50/50 chance back in February when he started the journey of qualifying for finals night, but he’s proved the doubters wrong to make the last four and he is relishing the opportunity to go out on a high.

He told PDC after he made the semi-finals; “I’ve been dedicated for 30 years and it’s time for me to move on, but I’m in it to win it next week and I’m looking forward to it. If I can go out there and win my seventh Premier League title it will be brilliant.”

MVG to Ground Flying Scotsman

The most intriguing semi-final sees Michael van Gerwen take on Gary Anderson in a repeat of the 2015 Premier League final.

Then, it was the Scot who was the reigning world champion and, despite losing the first two legs. He took full advantage of a mistake by the Dutchman to turn the final around with a 7-3 lead at the break, before cantering to an easy 11-7 win.

Since then, van Gerwen has lost only three of the 15 meetings between the pair. They met as recently as last week in the Premier League, the Dutchman securing an impressive 7-4 success in front of a partisan crowd in Aberdeen that were desperate for Anderson to win.

It’s MVG’s toughness and his ultra-confident approach that will see him in good shape when they duel again in London – with the reigning champion taken to come good.

Snakebite To Puncture Past And Present Kings

Phil Taylor’s 2017 Premier League average of 98.15 suggests he shouldn’t even be featuring in Play-offs Night for a record 12th time, but his perseverance and resolve has seen him through when many would have cried off.

The Power would never bow out with a whimper – only with a bang.

Can he defeat Peter Wright? Well, the Scot is making his debut at the business end of this event and with Taylor having beaten Wright twice in three meetings this year the answer is “why not?”.

They’ve shared the points in two Premier League matches in 2017, with Taylor winning 7-5 in Manchester back in March before Wright gained revenge in Birmingham a month later 7-3.

Wright’s 6-0 whitewash of van Gerwen in the final of the European Darts Grand Prix earlier this month, however, has catapulted ‘Snakebite’ into a different class. And the curtain might just come down on Taylor a match earlier than he would have hoped.

Whoever contests the final will almost certainly provide darts fans with a classic. I’ve got an inkling that we might just see Peter Wright deny Michael van Gerwen.

The Scot beat the Dutchman in a final after nine previous failed attempts for the first time in his career when claiming the German Darts Championship in March, before defeating MVG again in Sindelfingen.

With three European Tour titles in 2017, Wright’s sensational season looks set to continue.

For more darts odds, take a look at Grosvenor Sport’s darts betting.





, ,




Leave a Reply