Premier League darts: Michael van Gerwen on top of table after win in Brighton
Michael van Gerwen tops the Premier League after Robert Thornton once again proved too good for Phil Taylor.
Last Updated: 04/04/13 10:56pm
Dutchman Van Gerwen sits at the summit after week nine of the season thanks to an impressive 7-3 win over Simon Whitlock in the match of the night in Brighton.
'Mighty Mike' - now the new world No 2 in the PDC rankings - was at his fluent best as he recorded an average of 102.73 while also managing to hit 42 percent on his doubles.
Whitlock at one stage found himself 6-1 down but did hold up his opponent's victory march with finishes of 130 and 90. Defeat wasn't too costly for the Australian, however, as earlier losses for Gary Anderson and Wes Newton meant he avoided relegation from the tournament.
Adrian Lewis also survived on 'Judgement Night', even though the two-time world champion was beaten 7-2 by Raymond van Barneveld in the opening encounter.
'Jackpot' managed five 180s but struggled badly with his finishing, allowing his Dutch opponent to cruise to a fifth win of the campaign.
'Barney' moved 5-2 ahead with a 121 checkout and then took out 82 with two darts in the next to make sure of a point. He didn't waste much time in sealing both, though, as double eight put a below-par Lewis away.
Taylor, meanwhile, not only surrendered his place at the head of the standings but also slipped out of the top four altogether after he lost 7-4 to Thornton.
Having beaten 'The Power' twice in television matches in 2012, Thornton once again saved his best for the 16-time world champion as he finished up with a three-dart average of a tad over 103.
The Scotsman closed out the match, the only one of the five on the night that didn't have ramifications over who would be relegated, with an 11-dart leg that climaxed with him hitting his favoured double top.
"There was no pressure on tonight. We weren't anywhere near the drop zone so it was just a case of us enjoying ourselves," Thornton told Sky Sports afterwards. "Phil missed a few doubles, I hit mine."