Gary Anderson beat Michael van Gerwen to reach Premier League Darts semi-finals
Flying Scotsman will face Michael Smith in last four after crucial victory while Rob Cross will face MVG
By Paul Prenderville at BHGE Arena, Aberdeen
Last Updated: 11/05/18 10:31am
Gary Anderson clinched the last remaining place at Premier League Darts Finals Night, beating defending champion Michael van Gerwen in Aberdeen on Thursday night.
The two-time champion and home favourite arrived at the final week of the regular season knowing a point or even just three legs in defeat would guarantee his spot in London as he prepared to face the world No 1 and red-hot Premier League favourite.
As it turned out, Daryl Gurney, who needed a win by 7-2 or better, could only draw with Peter Wright, who guaranteed Anderson's place at The O2 by first grabbing the three legs against Gurney and then pinching a point.
Anderson took on MVG who is chasing a third successive Premier League crown and in a typically frenetic and high-quality contest it was Anderson who achieved the notable feat of a first Premier League win over the Dutchman since 2015.
Van Gerwen, Rob Cross and Michael Smith had already confirmed their places at the extravaganza in the capital and with Cross and Smith securing draws in very different circumstances it makes for a mouthwatering semi-final line-up next week.
Night 15 Results - The BHGE Arena, Aberdeen
|Michael Smith||6-6||Raymond van Barneveld|
|Simon Whitlock||6-6||Rob Cross|
|Peter Wright||6-6||Daryl Gurney|
|Michael van Gerwen||5-7||Gary Anderson|
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
Roared on by a raucous home crowd, Anderson kicked off with a maximum on his way to breaking the Dutchman's throw in the opening leg of the contest.
Van Gerwen responded with a break back, but only after the pair traded a host of missed darts at double, before the standard predictably rose.
Anderson took out a brilliant 121 for a 3-2 lead. The Flying Scotsman then missed a succession of darts for 4-2 that were almost punished as Van Gerwen's dart at tops for a 160 finish dropped just short before Anderson mopped up with double two.
A third leg on the bounce for Anderson thrilled the crowd, but Van Gerwen was not to be outdone, taking out 104 and 81 in quick succession to level a thrilling contest at 4-4.
Anderson regained the lead with tops to win the ninth leg and then nailed a breathtaking 112 to lead 6-4 and guarantee a point. Van Gerwen hit double six to force a final leg but Anderson held firm, hitting tops to seal a 7-5 win, take third place in the league table and set up a semi-final with Michael Smith.
Peter Wright 6-6 Daryl Gurney
Knowing he could not afford to give up any more than two legs, Superchin got off to the perfect start, breaking in the opening leg of the match after Wright missed a couple of early chances. When Snakebite repeated the error, Gurney was on hand to consolidate.
A clinical 73 got Wright, last year's runner-up, on the board before Gurney, despite averaging around 80, got himself 3-1 in front. Wright stayed in touch to claim the fifth giving Gurney no more margin for error.
He responded with a 14-darter for his best leg of the match and a 4-2 lead, which became 5-2 when he took out bullseye for a brilliant 81 finish.
Pushing his performance up a gear and perhaps sensing a glimmer of hope Gurney missed a dart at double 16 for a 118 finish and a 6-2 lead. Wright pinned double 19 to end the man from Derry's hopes of overturning the 13-leg deficit and with it scupper his dream of a place at the O2 on his competition debut as the match went on to end all square.
Michael Smith 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Bully Boy secured a second-place finish after taking a share of the spoils in an entertaining opening match against Barney in which the pair conjured up five magical three-figure finishes.
Despite a near 10-point disparity in the averages - Barney's doubles going awry throughout, it was all square through the opening exchanges. A pair of double tops gave Bully Boy his first two legs while Barney took out a majestic 122 and a magnificent 126 to stay on terms.
Smith pinned double 11 for a 124 finish of his own only to see Barney roar back with a 121 check-out. A couple of routine holds followed before Barney found the first break, a nervy chase around the board ending on double nine and earning him the lead for the first time.
Smith missed a couple of darts for an immediate break back but when Barney failed to punish him with more missed darts at double, Bully Boy levelled the match and secured a point with a clinical 107 combination. However, Barney ensured it ended with honours even, taking out 91 in the 12th leg to maintain his five-match unbeaten run.
Simon Whitlock 6-6 Rob Cross
A below-par Cross was left to rue 13 missed darts at a double before eventually securing a draw and ultimately a semi-final showdown that is a repeat of his World Championship semi-final victory over Van Gerwen.
The world champion took out 112 to break in the opening leg of the match before consolidating with a 15-dart leg before allowing Whitlock to open his account. Cross faltered as he missed chances for a 5-2 lead.
In a topsy-turvy seventh leg Whitlock began his fightback but only after he wired the bull for a 170 finish and then busted on double eight by hitting single 16. Cross gave 'The Wizard' yet another chance, missing four darts at double, and the Australian took his opportunity to stay in touch before breaking to level.
A nerveless double 15 gave Cross an immediate break back again before he went to pieces on his throw and allowed Whitlock a chance which he took via a pair of double eights.
More missed darts from Cross allowed Whitlock to lead for the first time and then to secure a point but Cross eventually found some form, converting a 94-finish to secure a draw and a place at Finals Night on his Premier League debut.
The tungsten action continues for the conclusion of the Premier League season with the Play-Offs on Thursday, May 17 at The O2 in London.
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