Van Gerwen Builds Premier League Lead

Michael van Gerwen made it back-to-back wins in the premier league with victory in Brighton over Michael Smith, making it six wins on the spin for the Dutchman. 

The win sees the fifth seed take top spot in the league and open a four-point lead on Peter Wright and Jonny Clayton with Nottingham the next venue for the league.

The first match of the night saw Smith takes on Gary Anderson with the loser knowing they were going to be bottom come the end of the night. “Bullyboy” got his first win of the competition last week in Exeter after beating Joe Cullen.

After losing in the UK Open final, it was vital Smith responded and he certainly did in his quarter final clash. He closed out a 6-1 victory over the former world champion with a confident double top after Anderson missed three at double to save the match. It was a scrappy affair, but Smith got the job done with an average of 90.89.

Jonny Clayton was looking to return to winning ways as he took on the new world number one Peter Wright in the second quarter final of the night. It was a strong start from the “Ferret” with an early 120 checkout to level the match at 1-1, with another ton plus checkout in the following leg as he took out 141 to break the Wright throw and lead 2-1.

The match went all the way to a last leg decider with the world number one missing two darts at double eighteen to reach the semi-finals. Clayton took full advantage of “Snakebite’s” slip up to finish yet another ton plus checkout, taking out 121 on the bull to win his first match since Liverpool.

Michael van Gerwen during the 2022 Cazoo Premier League in Brighton. Steven Paston/PDC

Michael van Gerwen returned to Premier League action after his spectacular performance in Exeter last week as he faced the new world number three James Wade. The “Machine” broke straight away as he took out the Shanghai finish of 120 to take a 1-0 lead.

The first four legs of the match were all won against throw and another ton plus checkout followed from Wade in the sixth leg. He took out 121 to level the match at 3-3 making it a very close tie as it entered its final stages.

The new premier league format has certainly provided entertainment since its introduction, and a last leg decider was needed in this match with van Gerwen missing a staggering eight darts at double to close out the match. He finally did so with his last dart at tops to close out a 6-5 win.

Gerwyn Price withdrew earlier on in the evening due to a wrist injury allowing Joe Cullen straight through to the semis, with the “Rockstar” given a 6-0 win by the PDC and a semi-final with van Gerwen.

Michael Smith and Jonny Clayton met in the first semi final of the night in a repeat of the epic at the world championship back in December. Smith earned the first break of throw in the fourth leg of the match to take a 3-1 lead taking out 80 with his only dart at tops. 

Clayton was not great on his doubles in the sixth leg as he missed three at double eight. The fourth seed punished the current champion as he took out 47 to take a 5-1 lead hitting double ten on his last dart.

“Bullyboy” reached his first final and closed out victory in the eighth leg as the double trouble continued for Clayton. He finished 68 in two darts with treble sixteen and double ten to seal his place in the final.

Joe Cullen took to the stage for the first time in Brighton as he took on former premier league champion van Gerwen in the second semi-final. Van Gerwen took no time at all to get going and hit a stunning 170 checkout in the fourth leg to take a 4-0 lead in the match.

Cullen avoided the whitewash as a 180 followed by a 42 checkout on double sixteen won the Englishman his first and only leg of the night. Van Gerwen punished two missed darts at double 13 by the Bradford man to win 6-1, hitting double five to reach his second final in two weeks.

Smith played Van Gerwen in the final and the Dutchman got off to a similar start as his semi with an early break of throw followed by a double eighteen to open a 2-0 lead.

He continued pushing as Smith missed four darts in the fifth leg to go within one of van Gerwen, as ruthless darts at double four opened a 4-1 lead. Smith bounced back with a 126 checkout on the bull to take back-to-back legs and make the score 4-3.  

That turned out to be the final leg won by Smith as van Gerwen finished the match in sublime style winning the last two legs to win 6-3. An incredible 174 left the Dutchman on 54, which he took out only needing one dart at tops. 

PosNamePtsNights WonMatches WonLeg DiffLegs WonLWAT
1Michael van Gerwen1428+266128
2Peter Wright1016+54617
3Jonny Clayton1016-34317
4Gerwyn Price714+13412
5James Wade704-24214
6Joe Cullen503-53314
7Michael Smith503-53310
8Gary Anderson201-11238
Table after week 5

Van Gerwen and others will be in action at the German Darts Championship in Hildesheim this weekend for the second Euro Tour of the year.


Words: Harry Masterson Images: Steve Paston / PDC

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