Premier Preview Part I: The Outsiders
By Paul Woodage 04/04/2021
SADLY, the Unibet Premier League will start up exactly how it finished in October, behind closed doors. Once again, Milton Keynes is the chosen venue for live televised darts as the Marshall Arena stages at least the first nine nights of action.
Optimistically, the PDC echoes fan’s sentiments in hoping the remainder of the event can take place in sold-out arenas. Let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy watching Spiderman waving a 180 placard or a six-foot-tall banana singing “stand up if you love the darts?”
Unlike the previous couple of years, there are no contenders this time around. Instead, it’s just ten players chosen outright to contest the 17th staging of the Premier League. Starting with those who have not been at the peak of their powers or have not entered this arena before, Darts World takes a look at the rest of the field eyeing up Durrant’s crown.
Cross qualified for the Premier League by holding onto fourth place on the PDC Order of Merit at the time the selection was made. There have been plenty of opinions aired on social media platforms suggesting Voltage isn’t deserving of his spot and others are more worthy. But nonetheless, he is there and will be desperate to prove the doubters wrong.
Last year was certainly one to forget for the former World Champ. Since reaching the quarter-final stage at the 2020 UK Open, Cross has suffered early exits in far too many TV majors for his liking. Now more than ever, the man from Hastings will be looking to prove to the world that the old adage ‘form is temporary, class is permanent is his case is prevalent.
As Premier League runner-up last year on debut, the powers that be rightly felt the Asp deserved another shot at the title.
The Stockport lad is yet to follow up on his maiden PDC success at the 2019 UK Open but has youth on his side, bags of talent and already knows how to reach the final of this testing event.
JOSE DE SOUSA
It’s a Premier League debut for De Sousa and in doing so, becomes the first player from Portugal to grace the tournament.
The Special One earned his selection by lifting the 2020 Grand Slam of Darts and is rapidly becoming a fans cult favourite. The 47-year old often leaves commentators and viewers flummoxed with his bizarre counting and confused looks on the oche but there is no doubting De Sousa’s class and brilliance. On his day, the Portuguese can smash the treble twenty as well as anyone in the world and is always an extremely dangerous opponent.
DIMITRI VAN DEN BERGH
Unfortunately for Dimitri, he has spent most of the past few months hobbling around the oche on crutches nursing a serious knee injury.
Thankfully, the talented young Belgian has since faced surgery and is ready to go again. Now on the mend, darts fans will be hoping to see Dimi’s dancing moves in full flow as well as the magic that took him all the way to glory last summer at the World Matchplay.
Arguably, on current form, Clayton is the best player in the world right now. It’s been a tremendous few months for the lovable Welshman which has seen him pick up the World Cup of Darts for his country and claim a first individual PDC major.
The newly crowned Masters champion is making his full Premier League debut by virtue of winning that particular title in January. Right now for the popular Ferret, things are hot in the garden and he’s very keen to make a bundle load of hay whilst the sun is shining.