DARTS
PICTURE: LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Michael van Gerwen climbed to the top of the Betway Premier League table and booked his place in the play-offs after thrashing James Wade 7-1 tonight.

The world number one made the most of Phil Taylor’s defeat to Peter Wright, as he averaged over 108 in a dominant performance at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.

A 124 checkout on the bull saw van Gerwen race into a 4-0 lead, before Wade, who beat the Dutchman on the opening night of the tournament, got off the mark with double tops in leg five.

But MVG rattled off the next three legs in quick succession to extend his unbeaten run to 13 games and go top of the table.

Peter Wright gave his hopes of qualifying for this year’s Premier League play-offs a major boost with a 7-4 win against Phil Taylor.

It was the first defeat the 16-time world champion has suffered in the tournament since the opening night, with Wright’s triumph also leading to the Power being knocked off top spot in the table.

Taylor landed an early break in the third leg, hitting double 12 to establish a 2-1 lead against the colourful Scot.

But Wright hit back immediately by finishing 121 on the bull to level the match at 2-2.

Another three figure checkout followed for the recent Coral UK Open finalist in the next leg, with Wright checking out 104 on double 16 to hold his throw.

Taylor hit the same double in leg six to complete a 10 darter, but Wright then reeled off four of the next five legs to claim the victory.

After the Power missed tops to hold throw in leg eight, Snakebite checked out 71 to break and go two legs clear at 5-3.

A first 180 of the match for Wright helped him go 6-3 up, with another 71 checkout in the 11th leg seeing him over the line and continuing his unbeaten record over Taylor in the Premier League.

“To play the 16-time world champion and get the win was special, and I had to dig deep and work hard,” Wright said.

Gary Anderson closed in on qualifying for this year’s Premier League play-offs after coming back from 5-4 down to beat Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 in Birmingham.

The defending champion is in third place and is four points clear of both Wade and Wright, and with only two games of the regular season left to go, the Flying Scotsman needs just one more point to guarantee his place at The O2 Arena next month.

Barney finished off a 132 checkout on the bullseye to level the match up at 3-3 and looked on course to pick up points when he hit a 13 darter to go 5-4 up.

But five missed darts at doubles cost the Dutchman in the 11th leg and Anderson swooped in to win.

Adrian Lewis remains on course to qualify for the Premier League play-offs after beating Robert Thornton 7-2.

The two-time world champion has not finished in the top four since 2011, but heads into the final two weeks of the regular season still in fourth spot and needing just one more win to secure his place at The O2 Arena on May 19.

Jackpot was quick out of the blocks against Thornton, winning the first three legs to surge into a comfortable 3-0 lead.

The Thorn hit two 180s in the second leg but missed three darts at doubles to level at 1-1, and it was the only opening Lewis needed.

Thornton got off the mark in leg four, but Jackpot won the next three legs to go 6-1 up. And despite a missed dart at tops in the next leg, Lewis got the two points wrapped up by hitting the target in the ninth leg.

“It was a massive game tonight,” Lewis said. “I had to beat Robert tonight and I got up there and did the job. He’s been playing well recently so I had to be ready for him and I turned up well.

“I felt comfortable and I thought my finishing was great when it needed to be so I’m pretty happy with that. I took advantage and I was pretty clinical.”

In the final game of the night, Wright and Anderson shared the points in a 6-6 draw.

Snakebite came back from 5-3 down to draw level at 5-5 but crucially missed three darts at doubles to go 6-5 up. But he did take the final leg to claim a point.

table

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