Michael van Gerwen finishes top of the Premier League table as Phil Taylor clinches last play-off spot in final year

By Alex Moss
12 MAY 2017 • 7:58AM

Michael van Gerwen defeated Gary Anderson 7-4 to finish top of the Betway Premier League table, while Phil Taylor took the last play-off spot in the final league night of the season in Aberdeen yesterday.

Peter Wright’s 7-1 thrashing over Raymond van Barneveld earlier on in the night at the GE Oil & Gas Arena had left van Gerwen needing to beat Anderson to regain top spot and claim the £25,000 league winner’s bonus.

The world number one took an early command of the game by moving into a 3-1 lead, before holding off the Scot’s fightback, which included a 145 checkout.

Taylor had earlier come from 5-3 down to beat Adrian Lewis, as he secured third place in the league table ahead of Dave Chisnall, whose play-off hopes were ended after drawing 6-6 with James Wade in the opening game of the night.

The semi-final line-up at The O2 Arena next Thursday will see van Gerwen and Anderson clash again, while Wright takes on Taylor in the other tie in the last four.

Van Gerwen heads into the play-offs next week as the favourite to win the title, with the Dutchman having finished top of the league table for a fifth year in a row.

“It was really tough this year,” he said. “Peter was in my shadow all the way through and fair play to him but I came here for two points and got them, so I’m really glad.

“I think my scoring was good but I still missed too many chance in my opinion – but I did the job I needed to tonight.

“It was really important for me and I’m happy with this win so I can look forward to next week at The O2.

“It’s the top four darts players in the world and I can’t wait. It’s always a good game against Gary and I feel good.”

Wright produced another clinical display as he prepared for his first appearance in the play-offs next week with a 7-1 defeat of van Barneveld.

The world number three, who whitewashed van Gerwen 6-0 in the final of the HappyBet European Darts Grand Prix on Sunday, hit two 180s and a 14-darter to storm into a 3-0 lead.

Van Barneveld got off the mark with double 10, but Wright fired in another 180 as he regained his three-leg advantage.

Another 14-darter put the Scot 6-1 up, before he sealed the win with a 116 finish.

“I’ve qualified for the top four for the first time and I’m happy with that,” Wright said.

“I’m pinching myself thinking that I’m in the top four alongside Phil, Gary and Michael – it’s crazy. My form’s coming and I’ve got another week to get it right for The O2.

“It’s always hard to beat Barney. He’s a tough customer and isn’t a five-time world champion for nothing, but to have that amazing support behind you in Aberdeen makes you want to play.

“The fans were fantastic. It makes you tingle when you’re on stage.”

Taylor secured his place in the play-offs in his final Premier League season with a 7-5 win over Lewis.

Lewis missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish earlier in the game but led the contest 4-2 with the aid of a 122 checkout.

Taylor replied by winning five of the next six legs, despite a 114 finish from his Stoke rival, to claim the victory.

“I’m over the moon to get to The O2,” Taylor said. “It’s an extra bonus for me, I didn’t expect to get there to be honest, so it’s massive.

“There’s no pressure on me but I’m going to be trying to win it and I’ve done it six times before.

“I’ll have a massive smile on my face because I’ve been dedicated for 30 years and it’s time for me to move on, but I’m in it to win it next week and I’m looking forward to it.

“If I can go out there and win my seventh Premier League title it will be brilliant.”

Earlier in the night, Chisnall’s draw with Wade ended the 2015 semi-finalist’s bid to snatch a top-four finish, despite finishing the season with a seven game unbeaten run.

Chizzy had to secure a big win to put the pressure on Taylor, but saw Wade punish his missed doubles to move 3-1 up.

Wade then hit his fourth 180 as he went 6-2 up to guarantee himself a point, before Chisnall checked out 129 and had legs of 13 and 11 darts to snatch a share of the spoils.

Chisnall ended the game with seven 180s, but admitted that a slow start against Wade had cost him.

“I couldn’t hit a double in the early stages and didn’t really play in the first six or seven legs,” he said.

“At 6-2 down I had nothing to lose and managed to fight back and get the draw.

“The season has been good in the end. I’ve been playing well for eight weeks and wish I’d started like that, but it give me great encouragement for the remainder of the season.”

Betway Premier League
Night 15
Thursday May 11, GE Oil & Gas Arena, Aberdeen
Dave Chisnall 6-6 James Wade
Phil Taylor 7-5 Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright 7-1 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Gary Anderson

Thursday May 18, The O2, London
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
Best of 19 legs

Van Gerwen/Anderson v Wright/Taylor
Best of 21 legs

Tickets: 0844 856 0202 or via http://www.axs.com

League Table P W D L +/- Pts
Michael van Gerwen (Q) 16 10 4 2 +32 24
Peter Wright (Q) 16 10 3 3 +30 23
Phil Taylor (Q) 16 8 3 5 +7 19
Gary Anderson (Q) 16 7 4 5 +12 18
Dave Chisnall 16 6 4 6 -5 16
Raymond van Barneveld 16 6 2 8 -10 14
James Wade 16 5 3 8 -13 13
Adrian Lewis 16 6 1 9 -14 13
Jelle Klaasen (E) 9 1 1 7 -16 3
Kim Huybrechts (E) 9 0 3 6 -23 3


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