By Alex Moss
28 APRIL 2017 • 9:07AM
Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright booked their places in the Betway Premier League play-offs next month, after both picking up wins at The Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham last night.
Reigning Premier League champion van Gerwen followed up a draw against Dave Chisnall with a whitewash over Adrian Lewis to continue his challenge to claim a third title in the event.
The world number one now sits three points clear of Wright at the top of the table, with a win next week guaranteeing him the £25,000 league winner’s bonus.
Van Gerwen’s opening game of his double-header in Birmingham saw him come from 6-3 down to deny Chisnall a third straight victory, as the Englishman paid the price for missing three match darts.
Checkouts of 84 and 87 helped van Gerwen to share the opening four legs, before Chisnall took the next three to pull clear, and then landed double one in leg nine to secure at least a point.
Double eight kept van Gerwen in the game in the next leg, before he capitalised on three misses at double 18 from Chisnall in leg 11 to force a deciding leg, which saw the Dutchman fire in a 180 before hitting double four for a 13-darter to share the spoils.
The world champion returned to the stage later on in the evening to complete only the eighth whitewash in Premier League history, averaging almost 111 in a sensational 7-0 rout of Lewis.
Van Gerwen fired in 180s in each of the first three legs as he pulled clear of Lewis, whose missed doubles in the next two legs allowed the league leader to consolidate his advantage at 5-0.
A pair of 14-darters then completed the whitewash for van Gerwen, who has now secured his place at The O2 next month.
“It’s been a good evening for me,” van Gerwen said. “To go home with three points is good and I think I made a great night of it at the end with the win over Adrian.
“It was a fantastic performance and I played phenomenal against Adrian – I came alive and everything clicked.
“The first step is getting into the play-offs and the biggest step is at The O2, and I want to keep this going now. I’m feeling good and I’m playing well.”
Last night also saw Wright secure a place in the play-offs for the first time in his career, as he defeated Phil Taylor 7-3 in Birmingham.
Taylor, a six-time winner of the Premier League, followed up 180s in the opening two legs with a 93 finish in the third to lead 2-1, but Wright levelled and then took out clinical checkouts of 104, 116 and 96 in successive legs to move 5-2 up.
The next two legs were shared, before Taylor missed the bull to keep the match alive in leg ten and Wright stepped in to take out 78 to seal a precious two points.
“The plan was just to try and win my game tonight, regardless of what happens with qualifying,” Wright said. “I wasn’t great but I didn’t play as well as I wanted to tonight but I got the win.
“My finishing was good but I wasn’t really happy with my scoring, but it’s always hard to beat Phil so I’m pleased with that.
“It’s amazing where I’ve come to, I used to be 5/1 against Phil and I was odds-on today, but it’s down to the hard work I’ve done.
“I want to win my last two games and push for that top spot and challenge Michael and then try and win the final at The O2. I want to push Michael and I’m not happy being second to him, I want to beat him.”
Gary Anderson gained a key victory in his bid to secure a top-four finish and challenge for a third Premier League title as he saw off Raymond van Barneveld 7-4.
After starting with a 13-darter, Anderson moved into leads of 3-0 and 4-1 – the latter aided by a 161 checkout – only to see van Barneveld hit back to level with three in a row of his own.
Three misses from the Dutchman in leg nine, though, allowed Anderson to land double eight to regain the lead, before he won the next two to move into third spot in the table.
“It’s two points and I’m always happy to get the win,” Anderson said. “It could have been a better performance but I hit the important doubles in the end.
“I got well in front against Phil last week and then fell asleep and I nearly did it again, so I need to finish people off when I get ahead like that – but I got the job done in the end.”
James Wade kept alive his feint play-off hopes with a 7-4 win over Lewis in the night’s opening fixture, although the 2009 champion sits three points adrift of the top four with two games to go.
Although Lewis led in the opening leg, Wade hit back with finishes of 70, 66 and 100 as he led 4-3, with the two-time world champion levelling in the eighth but missing doubles in the next two legs as Wade pulled away for the win.
“I played okay and did enough to win, and that’s what I strive to do,” Wade said. “Adrian was below par tonight.
“It’s two more points and it’s a shame I didn’t do this a few weeks ago. I’ve played poorly but I’m still enjoying it. This will be too little, too late, but hopefully I can do myself justice in the next two games.
“In my eyes, it’s not possible for me to qualify – I might have left it too late but I can spoil it for the other players who need the points.”
The Betway Premier League continues next Thursday at The Sheffield Arena, with the four matches including van Gerwen against Taylor, Wright against Lewis, Chisnall taking on van Barneveld and Anderson meeting Wade.
Betway Premier League
Night 13 – Thursday April 27
Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham
James Wade 7-4 Adrian Lewis
Dave Chisnall 6-6 Michael van Gerwen
Phil Taylor 3-7 Peter Wright
Gary Anderson 7-4 Raymond van Barneveld
Adrian Lewis 0-7 Michael van Gerwen
|Michael van Gerwen (Q)||14||9||4||1||+33||33||22|
|Peter Wright (Q)||14||8||3||3||+19||25||19|
|Raymond van Barneveld||14||6||2||6||-2||25||14|
|Jelle Klaasen (E)||9||1||1||7||-16||15||3|
|Kim Huybrechts (E)||9||0||3||6||-23||11||3|