REVIEW: Unibet Darts Premier League

The 2018 Darts Premier League kicked off in Dublin this month, as four players made their Premier League debut in the 10-man event to try and reach May’s final in London. Adam Keiller takes a look back at the biggest stories from the opening round.

Mensur Suljovic 5-7 Simon Whitlock

The first match of the season certainly didn’t disappoint as Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock comes back from 3-1 down to win 5-7 and take maximum points. The debutant Suljovic missed the chance to go 4-1 up after missing a throw at Bullseye and take control of the game. This fuelled Whitlock to begin his comeback as he won the next four legs, taking out a 160 checkout in the process. The Wizard finished the match with Tops (double 20) for the win. A promising debut for Suljovic, but the returning Aussie was more clinical hitting the doubles with a success rate of 88%.

Gary Anderson 5-7 Michael Smith

Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith looked down and out after being 5-1 down in 12 minutes. But Anderson gave Smith way back into the match after missing eight darts at double one in the fourth leg to securing himself at least a draw. Smith didn’t look back after this as he won the next six legs to take the points on the opening week. Smith will look to improve on his last Premier League performance as he finished 10th in 2016. Anderson has been struggling with a back injury in recent weeks and this was clearly nagging him throughout the game.

Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Daryl Gurney

Daryl Gurney takes a point on his Premier League debut as he draws to 5-time world championship Raymond van Barneveld. Gurney took a 0-2 lead before Barneveld hit back with three straight legs to take a 3-2 lead, Gurney then won the next three legs to put himself one away from victory, but he couldn’t see out the game. Barneveld won the final three sets of the match to earn himself a point on the opening week. Barneveld will hope to add to his nine-previous top four league finishes with number 10 this season. He’ll have to play better, however, to do that.

Michael van Gerwan 7-2 Rob Cross

This rematch of the 2018 world championship semi-final wasn’t as close as the original, MVG saw to that with a comprehensive 7-2 win over the current world champion Rob Cross. MVG had not forgotten the semi-final defeat five weeks ago as he looked razor focused tonight and made quick work of the Premier league debutant. Van Gerwan hit an impressive three 114 checkouts on his way to victory. This win puts MVG top of the Premier League table as he hunts down a third league title. Cross should not be to disheartened by tonight’s defeat as MVG was on the top of his game tonight.

Peter Wright 6-6 Gerwyn Price

Peter Wright lets a 5-1 lead slip as he eventually drew 6-6 to Premier League debutant Gerwyn Price in the night’s final match. Price had a poor start to the game after several doubles and next thing he knew he was 5-1 down. Price then picked up his game and started to turn things around by winning five of the last six legs to secure a point from what looked like a dire situation. Wright had won eight of the last nine meetings between these two, but he couldn’t make it nine wins from 10, when he probably should have.

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