Premier League: Michael van Gerwen defeated Adrian Lewis to remain top in Aberdeen
Michael van Gerwen overcame defeat against Phil Taylor to beat Adrian Lewis and remain top of the Premier League.
Last Updated: 18/04/14 7:27am
The Dutchman went down 7-4 to the resurgent Taylor and a second loss on the night to Lewis would have seen him accede to Raymond van Barneveld in the league table.
But with Lewis some way from his best, Van Gerwen ran out a 7-4 winner in the closing match to regain top spot with just four qualifiers remaining.
Taylor moved into fourth place in the standings with a gritty display, a 118 checkout on double 19 giving him three on the bounce to put the Dutchman on the back foot early.
The double break came when Taylor nailed double 16 under little pressure, but Van Gerwen stopped the rot in the next to close out 51 to make it 4-2.
He got another back with tops and, when Taylor missed several chances to extend his lead once more, the Dutchman was in again to level the match with a 78 finish.
Tops put Taylor back in front against the throw and he stretched away again by hitting the same bed, Van Gerwen back on 91.
Van Gerwen had to win the last three legs, but Taylor took out 25 to close the match at the first time of asking.
"He's a hell of a player and put's you under a hell of a lot of pressure," Taylor said. "It's not so much about revenge, it's about getting the two points tonight. That top four at The O2, that's what the plan is."
Mighty Mike wins
Van Gerwen regrouped though and overcame Lewis, who had been below par in an earlier defeat to Scottish hope Gary Anderson.
The Dutchman opened his account from a mark of 42 but a first 180 from Lewis set him up to level with tops. Van Gerwen nailed double 16 at the third attempt to move back in front but, although he applied maximum pressure, Lewis managed to hold the throw.
'Jackpot' upped the ante in the fifth but missed four shots at doubles, allowing the Dutchman to edge ahead again with double top.
Lewis levelled without fuss but Van Gerwen came under no pressure in taking the seventh before a 180-140 start to the eighth had Lewis reeling, and although he couldn't take out 81, Van Gerwen returned to hit double 16 and gain the crucial break.
'Mighty Mike' checked out 78 to hold his throw and secure at least a point and although Lewis stayed in the match by nailing the bull, Van Gerwen closed it out with a simple 54 out in the next.
Lewis had a shocker in the opening match of the night, trailing Anderson 6-0 before narrowly avoiding the dreaded bagel.
A pair of treble 18s gave Anderson a shot at double 10, which he missed, and when he returned he blew his chance to complete the whitewash allowing Lewis to finally chalk up the leg.
The Englishman was suddenly hitting the oche with renewed vigour and a simple 60 checkout gave him the next, and double 18 made it 6-3 after Anderson had missed one shot at bull for the match.
Lewis took out 86 with the minimum of fuss with the darts to get within two, but some heavy scoring meant the home hope had the luxury of eight darts at doubles as he finally closed it out on double five.
Van Barneveld made mincemeat of Scotland's Robert Thornton 7-1 to briefly assume his position at the top of the table.
'Barney' overcame an early break of the throw to run away from Thornton, whose lacklustre darts were never going to be enough for the consistency of the Dutch ace.
Van Barneveld checked out 97 and 135 but didn't have to move out of second gear to record another win.
"I know what Robert can do, I had a big task tonight," he graciously said. "You have to perform well and it's a fantastic feeling (to be top of the table)."In the other match, Dave Chisnall defeated Peter Wright 7-4 with the latter's place in the top four now under threat.
Chisnall raced into a 4-0 lead when he coolly checked out 112, finishing on double 16, but 25 was the magic number for Wright who finally stopped the rot in the fifth leg.
Wright then capitalised to take out 90 when Chisnall had missed an earlier double, and a strike at tops gave him the seventh.
Chisnall steadied himself before taking out 64 to earn some breathing space and then moved 6-3 ahead by polishing off 11 with the minimum of fuss.
'Chizzy' just missed a dramatic 170 checkout to finish off his opponent, who promptly nailed 91 via 25 and bull to stay alive against the throw.
However, it only lasted one more leg as Chisnall's assured finishing held up with another double top to iron out 85.