Premier League Darts: Can Anderson keep crown at O2 Arena?
Holly Thackeray | May 14, 2016
The Flying Scotsman is not always the most apt nickname for PDC superstar Gary Anderson. Of course, the Scot can stupefy opponents in the blink of an eye with a blaze of arrows, but more often than not he is also a slow burner.
Once world champion Anderson gets up ahead of steam, however, there is no stopping him and the Flying Scotsman is currently a cracking outsider with Coral at 5/1 to win the Premier League Darts title for a second successive season.
The reigning champ returns to English soil at the 02 Arena as part of the fantastic four semi-finalists set to contest this coveted PDC crown on Thursday, May 19th.
Why is the two-time Premier League and World Darts Championship winner only third favourite to retain his trophy? The blistering comeback form of both world number one Michael van Gerwen (odds-on 4/7 favourite) and legend of the oche Phil Taylor (4/1) is what sees the gritty sportsman edged out, despite being fresh from retaining world champ status.
Anderson to excel out of limelight
As down to earth as darting superstars can get, Anderson always appears one to dodge the dazzling bright lights, as PDC darts grows ever more popular – and not just in England.
The recent Premier League excursion to Rotterdam in front of fervent fans was just one recent indicator of that, as our top oche heroes now prepare to take a tour around far-flung areas of the globe – from Tokyo to Shanghai- in a summer of Darts Masters action.
In Rotterdam, meanwhile, an already qualified Anderson was taken apart by off-stage pal Adrian Lewis 7-2, but it was the Englishman that required the result to reach play-offs week, with The Flying Scotsman saying ahead of the encounter “It’s a cut-throat business, no friends on stage believe me.”
Next in the Premier League semi-finals week the 45-year-old first faces old foe The Power, with a showpiece final seeing the victor face one of Mighty Mike or Jackpot, with Anderson having already dispatched the latter to lift the World Darts Championship title aloft again after Christmas.
Despite the duo’s thrilling dance in that finale, after poor performances by favourites Taylor and MvG, it is the latter pair that have been long touted to meet as the final two from this Premier League season.
Yet, despite second-billing for his battle with Lewis in Rotterdam, as The Power and Van Gerwen grappled for top spot, Anderson appears content to stay somewhat in the shadows.
The Flying Scotsman said: “The last 14 weeks or so everyone has been concentrating and talking about Michael [van Gerwen] and Phil [Taylor] – I’m happy with that.
“Sky are concentrating on them. But it will come down to one night at the O2, we all start equal again and I like that, that’s my sort of territory…I’ll be buzzing to play either of them.”
Is three the magic number for Flying Scotsman?
There is nothing to fear for Anderson, who hails from Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders, as he knows when it counts he can get the better of any of his remaining three opponents, while he has such pedigree when it comes to the knockout punch.
“I don’t care who I play. I’ve got to beat two players to win it, end of. Last year I wanted to play Michael, this year I don’t care. Anytime I play Michael it puts a smile on my face,” stated the Scot, who defeated Premier League table topper MvG in the grande O2 finale last year.
Of course insatiable tungsten titan Van Gerwen will be hungry to avenge that loss, but there could be a twist of fate to proceedings again here, with more than a little darting de ja vu signalling that the stars could be aligned for another Anderson triumph.
“I’m also happy to finish third in the league table. I finished there in 2011 and 2015 when I went on to win the win the final. Let’s hope there’s deja vu.”
The Flying Scotsman did indeed finish third last season, scooping the silverware at the expense of MvG, who had topped the summit after the regular rounds. While, Anderson’s maiden Premier League win in 2011 had seen Taylor lead the league standings, with Lewis eventually the beaten finalist.
So, despite being, yep you guessed it, third favourite (at that superb 6/1 price with Coral), it is no wonder this Scotsman is far from shaken.