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OPINION: Daryl Gurney has Premier League place in his grasp after run to final in Las Vegas

There may still be the best part of six months before the line-up for the 2018 Premier League is chosen, but talk has already begun among darts fans on who and who will not make the cut next year.

Daryl Gurney is one name generating plenty of support right now after his run to the final of the US Darts Masters in Las Vegas this past weekend. The Northern Irishman, who climbed into the top 16 on the PDC Order of Merit for the first time last week, beat the world numbers three and two (Peter Wright and Gary Anderson) to reach the final, where he was narrowly pipped to the title by the world number one Michael van Gerwen.

A run to the quarter-finals of the most recent World Championship at the end of last year saw Gurney push himself into contention for this year’s Premier League, and even PDC chairman Barry Hearn mentioned his name when asked about which players came close to getting into the 10-man field.

Even though he did not get the call-up for the Premier League, Gurney’s good form did earn him a spot in the World Series of Darts, and his debut could not have gone much better. The world number 16 hit 21 180s across his four matches as he made it through to his first televised final, where he led van Gerwen 5-3 before the reigning world champion won five of the next six legs to complete a comeback win.

Aside from reaching the final in Las Vegas, Gurney has also tasted other success across the PDC’s various tours so far in 2017. The most high-profile of those being a run to the semi-finals of the UK Open in March, while he has also won his first PDC title with victory on the Players Championship circuit in April and reached three other Pro Tour finals and a semi-final on the European Tour.

It may be too early to say Gurney will definitely be in the Premier League. A lot can change in the next five or six months. The majority of major TV events take place in the second half of 2017, starting with the World Matchplay, which gets underway this weekend.

But if you were basing it on the last 12 months, Gurney would be a shoe-in. Who else makes my current 2018 Premier League line-up if I had to choose right now? For me, there would be four changes from this year, with Gurney one of the players coming in.

Obviously Phil Taylor’s retirement from the professional circuit at the end of the current season means he would be one player not in next year’s line-up. Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts, the two players who were eliminated on judgement night in this year’s competition, currently look likely to miss out too in place of more in-form players.

As well as Gurney, I think Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price are good bets at the moment to be included, probably as two of the PDC’s four wildcards, while I can see Mensur Suljovic possibly getting a call-up next year. He will need a couple of decent runs in the TV majors before 2017 is out, but if he can push his ranking up a couple of places to five then it will be hard for him not to be picked.

2017 Premier League
Michael van Gerwen
Gary Anderson
Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis
James Wade
Phil Taylor
Dave Chisnall
Jelle Klaasen
Raymond van Barneveld
Kim Huybrechts

2018 Premier League (My line-up as of July 17, 2017)
Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright
Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall
Mensur Suljovic
James Wade
Michael Smith
Raymond van Barneveld
Daryl Gurney
Gerwyn Price

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2 comments

  1. I agree with regards to Gurney. I have MvG, Ando, Wright, Chizzy, Gurney as more or less safe. I do wonder, however, on your reasoning for putting Wade over Lewis. They’re both out of sorts and haven’t done much this season. Their best bet is probably a Sky Sports wildcard, since Sky would have more incentive to get some of the bigger names in the PremLeague (especially with Taylor gone). RvB is a good bet for one of the two, and I think, as double World Champion, Lewis would be chosen over Wade there. (Of course all of this runs under the assumption that none of the two will be in the OoM Top 4 after AllyPally, which isn’t really far-fetched given their form.) Could you elaborate on why you go with Wade?

    That Mensur hasn’t gotten a World Tour invite yet makes me think there has probably been more behind-the-scenes talk between Mensur and the PDC regarding all this. If he wanted to be in the PL, I’m fairly sure he would have gotten a spot last year. So I tend to assume no Mensur. That leaves me at the above five, Smith, Gezzy, RvB. The last two are wide open right now, and the exiting thing is there’s probably a field of 6-8 players on level heading there. (You could do some sort of weekly trend barometer on the Podcast on who’s up or down at any given week.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, great to get some feedback 🙂

      It was a tough pick between Wade and Lewis, but basing it on results and form over the last 12 months, from the 2016 World Matchplay to now, I have Wade just ahead. He reached the final of the Grand Slam and the quarters at Ally Pally. Plus he finished above Lewis in the Premier League, so he’s outperformed him in three of the biggest tournaments in the last 12 months.

      I agree, there’s definitely a few players who will fancy their chances of getting in if they can string together a good bunch of runs on the TV events over the next six months. Shaping up to be an interesting race to see who gets in, perhaps more exciting than we’ve seen for a few years, with more players looking like making the breakthrough this year. Good idea, will pitch to my co-host, maybe we could touch on it after the World Matchplay.

      Like

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