MVG Leads as Stars Head to Birmigham

Red Dragon Darts

The Premier League returns as the competition makes its way to Birmingham for night 8 with Michael van Gerwen currently leading proceedings by three points ahead off second placed Peter Wright with 17 points.

He takes on James Wade in the opening match of the night, with Wade coming into Birmingham on the back off three quarter final defeats in the competition in a row. Van Gerwen reached the final last week in Rotterdam but lost to Joe Cullen in the final which denied him his third Premier League night win of the competition so far.
The Dutchman also comes into Birmingham after winning in Niederhausen on Sunday after beating Martin Schindler 8-4 in the Pro Tour event 8 final with van Gerwen averaging over 102 in his best performance of the day.

Van Gerwen came out after the tournament and criticised a few players for not playing at the weekend.

The world number three will hope to make it his third night win of the competition in Birmingham and a match up with the league’s bottom player is a chance he will be hoping to take full advantage off.
James Wade narrowly lost out to Peter Wright 6-5 in Rotterdam last week and was unlucky in losing to Michael Smith the week before, as he outscored “Bully Boy” throughout the match but lost form on his doubles winning just one leg.

Gerwyn Price will play in Birmingham despite confirmation of a fractured bone in his playing hand as he faces Joe Cullen in the second match of the night. Price has played on with the injury since it ruled him out of week 5 in Brighton where he was meant to face Cullen.

“The Rockstar” won week 7 in Rotterdam defeating Michael van Gerwen in front of his adoring fans in the final, as he won his first night of the competition leaving Michael Smith and James Wade as the players yet to win in the league so far.

His five points earnt in Holland moved Cullen into fourth and in the all-important play off positions as he hopes to defend it against fifth placed Price.

“The Iceman” like Michael van Gerwen arrives on the back of Pro Tour victory with Price beating Madars Razma in the final on Saturday 8-4. He averaged in three figures in the final as well as a 104.28 average in defeating Ted Evetts 6-5 in the Last 32.

A win on the Sunday could have seen Price return to world number one however, a defeat to Jamie Hughes in the Last 32 in event 8 cancelled that from happening. Peter Wright remains world number one despite not playing in Niederhausen across the weekend.

“Snakebite” faces seventh placed Gary Anderson in the third Quarter Final of the night and Wright will be hopeful of a good run to get him closer to Michael van Gerwen at the top of the league.

He lost in the semi finals in Rotterdam to eventual winner Joe Cullen in a very scrappy affair that saw both hit consistent darts into the one and five bed of the board.

Wright will hope to find the form he had against Anderson in the semi finals of the World Championships back in January in a performance that saw Wright average 104 to fend off Anderson who averaged 103 himself in a race to six sets.

Gary Anderson’s last match in the Premier League ended sourly after he lost to Joe Cullen in a narrow 6-5 defeat for the Scotsman as Anderson labelled the Englishman “a cheat” for consistent encroachment. His match with Wright is a must win if he is to get back in the race for the play offs with “The Flying Scotsman” sitting seventh in the league.

Anderson has shown the ability to perform when it really matters after his win in Nottingham back in week 6. The former back-to-back world champ was adrift from the rest of the players by three points and found wins against Jonny Clayton, Peter Wright, and Michael Smith to earn himself a much needed five points.

The final match of the night sees third placed Jonny Clayton take on sixth placed Michael Smith for the right to face the winner of Anderson and Wright in the semis. Both players saw their runs in Rotterdam halted by Michael van Gerwen as Smith missed two match darts at tops to go through to the semis.

Jonny Clayton is currently on 12 points; three points clear of Gerwyn Price in fifth with the Welshman hoping to build on his semi-final appearance in Rotterdam last week. “The Ferret” has won on one occasion so far in the league winning back in Liverpool on night 2 whilst opponent Smith has reached the final twice falling just short losing to Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson.

Action gets underway on Sky Sports at 7 o’clock with Michael van Gerwen opening proceedings in Birmingham against bottom of the table James Wade.

Night 8 Quarter Finals:

Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Joe Cullen v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Gary Anderson
Jonny Clayton v Michael Smith

Semi Finals:

Van Gerwen/ Wade v Cullen/ Price
Wright/ Anderson v Clayton/ Smith


Winner of SF1 v Winner of SF2


Words: Harry Masterson

Image: PDC

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