Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price is the main headline as the Premier League returns after a week’s absence. The players will be looking to build on their performances as the UK Open nears in Minehead on Saturday.
The third game of night four sees world number one Gerwyn Price take on current world champion Peter Wright. The “Iceman” defeated Wright in the final of the international darts open in Riesa on Sunday in an 8-4 victory. Price was impressive as he averaged 106.95 in the final with a strong checkout rate and only one missed dart at double in the entire match.
Wright will look to hunt down the number one position and Exeter once again provides a perfect opportunity to assert himself before this weekend’s UK Open. “Snakebite” despite losing on Sunday still managed a 106.74 average but what needs polishing up is the doubles with 12 missed in the final.
The two are currently level on points in the league table with the Welshman ahead in second on legs difference. Wright will be hunting down top spot as he eyes revenge on Price following Sunday’s final.
The first match of the night sees league leader Jonny Clayton take on Michael van Gerwen with the “ferret” looking to build on his lead at the top. Clayton comes into Exeter after reaching the quarter-finals in Germany with some tight wins over Lewy Williams and Krzysztof Kciuk.
Clayton has so far won night two in Liverpool after defeating Joe Cullen in the final and reaching the final in Cardiff has accumulated the Welshman 8 points in the league more than any so far. He won the event twelve months ago and is adjusting to life in this year’s completion in a similar fashion.
Michael van Gerwen comes into Exeter after reaching the last 16 of the Euro Tour event but has seen his averages on the oche improve massively. A very impressive Keane Barry was a tough match for the dutchman needing an average of 101.91 to beat “Dynamite” 6-4.
Van Gerwen lies fifth in the table with no appearance in the final for the former world champion, but a strong performance in Exeter could help in his preparations for the UK Open. He hasn’t won a televised major since his Players Championship triumph in 2020 and will be looking to assert the dominance that he once had.
Joe Cullen takes on bottom of the league Michael Smith in the second match of the night. Smith is winless after three weeks so far with defeats at the hands of Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Jonny Clayton. He will look to put things right as he takes on the “Rockstar” after a quarter-final appearance on Sunday.
Smith narrowly lost out to Peter Wright 6-5 in Riesa and will look to bounce back with a first win of the league campaign. He reached the final of the world championship three months back where he again lost out to world champion Wright so will want to rediscover the form that led him to that as he looks to get back in the race for the playoffs.
Joe Cullen has dropped off after his bright patch of form in 2022, with a defeat to Michael van Gerwen in the last Premier League night followed by a last 16 appearance at the International Darts Open on Sunday as he lost out to Nathan Aspinall 6-1.
Cullen is currently sixth in the premier league with the Yorkshire thrower seeking to regain the arrows he had at the start of 2022 with his victory in Milton Keynes. The win saw him gain his spot in the league and will hope to find form as he looks to build on the three points earned so far.
The final match of the night sees Gary Anderson take on James Wade in a showdown which will see the winner face either Price or Wright. James Wade reached the final of night three in Belfast as he lost to Gerwyn Price with the Welshman hitting his second nine-darter of the night. Wade also made the quarter-finals in Germany at the weekend as he also lost to Nathan Aspinall.
Gary Anderson did not play in Germany making him the only player in the league not to compete in Riesa. Anderson lost in the quarter-finals on night three as he was defeated by Peter Wright. The “Flying Scotsman” lies seventh in the league with only one appearance in the semi-final as his best achievement so far. Anderson’s only win of the competition was a victory over van Gerwen in Cardiff on the opening night.
The action gets underway at seven o’clock live on sky sports arena with the darting stars looking to reach the playoffs in February in June.
Jonny Clayton (1) v Michael Van Gerwen (5)
Michael Smith (8) v Joe Cullen (6)
Gerwyn Price (2) v Peter Wright (3)
James Wade (4) v Gary Anderson (7)
Clayton/ Van Gerwen v Smith/ Cullen
Price/ Wright v Wade/ Anderson
Words: Henry Masterson, Images: PDC
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