MVG Hits Newcastle Hattrick

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Michael van Gerwen stormed to a third consecutive nightly win in the BetMGM Premier League with a 6-4 success against Nathan Aspinall in Thursday’s Newcastle final at the Utilita Arena.

Van Gerwen came into Night Four fresh from back-to-back wins in Berlin and Glasgow, and he continued his dominant start to the campaign with another five-point haul in the North East.

The reigning Premier League champion overcame Gerwyn Price, Luke Littler and Aspinall to claim the £10,000 winner’s bonus and extend his lead at the top of the table to a staggering eight points.

Van Gerwen produced a vintage performance to topple Price in their first meeting since last year’s Premier League final, averaging 107 on his way to a 6-4 success.

The Dutchman then celebrated a third straight victory over Littler in the semi-finals, defying six missed match darts in the penultimate leg to seal his progress with a magical double-double 90 finish.

In Thursday’s showpiece, Aspinall registered maximums in each of the first two legs, exploiting a tentative start from Van Gerwen to establish an early 2-0 cushion.

However, Van Gerwen responded with legs of 11 and 14 darts to restore parity, before punishing two missed darts at double from Aspinall to lead 3-2.

The World Matchplay champion then missed double 17 for a 154 leveller, and Van Gerwen continued his charge with a brilliant ten-darter in leg six, before winning a fifth straight leg to close in on another nightly triumph.

Aspinall responded by following up a 16-darter with a magical 170 finish to reduce the deficit to 5-4, although he paid the price for spurning two darts to force a decider, as Van Gerwen sank double 18 to seal the deal.

“I think I played well in patches,” reflected Van Gerwen, who has won his last nine Premier League matches since his Night One defeat to Michael Smith.

“If you look at my game against Gerwyn Price I was fantastic, but against Luke [Littler] and Nathan [Aspinall] I could have made it easier for myself. That is darts sometimes.

“You don’t want to put yourself in difficult positions, but when you’re playing against the best players in the world, it’s going to be tense, it’s going to be awkward and you have to deal with that situation.

“My confidence is great. I want to battle, I want to perform and I want to show people what I’m capable of. Of course there is still more in the tank, but there is still a very long way to go.”

Aspinall arrived in Newcastle on the back of three consecutive quarter-final defeats, but the Stockport star kickstarted his campaign with a series of tenacious displays on Tyneside.

The World Matchplay champion opened his Premier League account with a hard-fought victory against Michael Smith, surviving a match dart to edge out the Night One winner.

Aspinall then put in a classy performance to see off Rob Cross in the semi-finals, fending off an early barrage from the 2019 runner-up to leave the Utilita Arena with three points to his name.

Earlier in the night, Cross moved into the Play-Off places with a quarter-final victory over Luke Humphries, defying a 102 average from the World Champion to leapfrog him in the table.

Littler occupies third spot after leaving Newcastle with two points, courtesy of an exhilarating last eight success against Peter Wright.

The 17-year-old landed a 170 finish and survived a match dart in a contest which saw both players average 104, before suffering his fourth deciding-leg defeat in as many weeks against an irrepressible Van Gerwen.

The BetMGM Premier League continues in Exeter next Thursday, as league leader Van Gerwen takes on World Champion Humphries in the evening’s opening quarter-final.

Night Three runner-up Aspinall will play Wright, Price faces Cross, while Littler and Smith also go head-to-head at the Westpoint Exeter.

2024 BetMGM Premier League

Night Four – Utilita Arena, Newcastle
Thursday February 22
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Michael Smith
Rob Cross 6-5 Luke Humphries
Luke Littler 6-5 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Gerwyn Price

Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Rob Cross
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Luke Littler

Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Nathan Aspinall

Night Five – Westpoint Exeter
Thursday February 29
Luke Humphries v Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall v Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross
Luke Littler v Michael Smith


Images: Taylor Lanning / PDC

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