Trio fight for Premier League Darts safety in elimination week
Premier League Darts keeps getting better and better every round this season. Surprise victories, withering giants and a few foul words spoken are but a few of the intriguing happenings to have occurred since the campaign began again in February.
Week seven saw a record turnout in Leeds, while in the last round in Dublin, the crowd witnessed the invigorating and heated battle between top two in the league Michael van Gerwen (evens title favourite) and Peter Wright (15/2). The former overcame a nervy finish to win 7-5 after holding off a comeback from the antic-ridden Scot.
Matchday nine, at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, will emphasise the bottom of the table in particular as it is the last round of elimination for the bottom two.
Simon Whitlock is already relegated, following his sole victory and two draws from the first eight games. While Robert Thornton (9/2 to finish in bottom two), Wes Newton (8/11) and Dave Chisnall (15/8) – all on six points – will fight for their lives to beat the drop.
The latter lacklustre Lancashire duo Newton (13/8 for victory) and Chisnall (11/10) face each other, in what could be a very close encounter. Neither have won in the league for a while (five matches and seven respectively), and the best bet (also the best price) is to put your money on a draw at 10/3.
One thing that the Premier League will miss this season is Chisnall’s impressive 180s tally – if he goes down. He dwarves the rest of the contenders with 40 in total so far, and is favourite to score the most on the night at 3/1.
Darting legend Phil Taylor, who narrowly avoided relegation following his draw to old friend Raymond van Barneveld the week before, faces Thornton in the final match of the night. The Power is back on for Taylor (11/4 for the title) after the six-time champion has lost just once in his last five, and is odds-on at 4/9 to beat Thornton (15/4), which could ultimately eliminate him.
This week’s big battle of the night, in terms of position, is between Adrian Lewis and Van Barneveld, who are fourth and third in the league respectively. Just one point separates the darts heavyweights, but with both finding it difficult to avoid draws in the league – RVB all in his last four, and Lewis three of his previous four – Coral’s price of 15/4 for the spoils to be shared look enticing.
Van Gerwen and Whitlock go head-to-head in a fight between top and bottom, in what can only be seen as a definite victory for the Mighty Mike, who is priced odds-on at 1/4. The Wizard (6/1) hopes he can give a final send-off in Wales before his relegation, but there will only be one outcome.
Meanwhile, Peter Wright, who lost for the first time this season the previous week, faces former champion and fellow Scot Gary Anderson in the evening opener. They are both priced at 13/10 for victory, with 7/2 for a draw.
Snakebite Wright managed to enrage his Dutch opponent MVG in Dublin, following his attempts to please the crowd, but could now see his remarkable season decline. He remains in second place, however, and is odds-on at 2/5 to finish in the top four.