Simon Whitlock under threat of Premier League exit, says Wayne Mardle
Wayne Mardle says there will be pressure on Simon Whitlock to beat the drop in Brighton.
Last Updated: 29/03/13 11:03am
The Australian is currently one place and one point above the relegation zone and will be eliminated from the rest of this season's competition if he is in the bottom two at the end of Week Nine in Brighton.
Defeats against Robert Thornton and Andy Hamilton in his last two matches have seen him dragged into the dogfight and only Wes Newton and Gary Anderson sit below him in the table after eight weeks of the tournament.
If those two players lose in Brighton next Thursday then Whitlock will be safe to continue in the hunt for the £150,000 first prize, but otherwise there will be pressure on him to take points off Michael van Gerwen in the final match.
And Mardle suspects it will all come down to the final game on Judgement Night.
"It's going to be fun for us, but for the players it's going to be horrible, it really is," he told Sky Sports.
"No-one wants to be going home, but I'm afraid two of them will and they're going to have to do it the hard way. They're going to have to get wins; draws are no good.
"I think it will go down to the last match, I really do. Whitlock is putting himself in a position that two or three weeks ago you wouldn't have thought was possible.
"Adrian Lewis has got seven points and after four weeks he had diddly squat; he had nothing. He's pulled out three wins and a draw when he wasn't playing particularly well.
"He looks like someone who can do some damage now, He's pulled out some finishes in the last couple of weeks - a 155 against Robert Thornton and a 124 against Andy Hamilton that was just as good.
"Anything can happen. The standard has been superb."
At the other end of the table, Phil Taylor surged into top spot with an impressive 7-3 win over Raymond van Barneveld and Mardle believes he is on track to retain the Premier League title.
Both players produced averages of more than 100 in a hard-fought battle, but the Sky Sports expert said Taylor proved the difference in class with some deadly finishing to maintain his record of never losing to the Dutchman in the Premier League.
"They both averaged 102 and that was as low as it got," Mardle said.
"Barney missed opportunities. In the second leg he missed three darts at double 16 and every time he had a chance he kind of faltered.
"There was a time he missed 20 and Phil always seemed to clean up. It was always so close that the pressure was on Barney.
"That is why he's a 16-time world champion and Barney's a five-time. Barney has taken those chances in the past, but it seems to be with Phil Taylor in the Premier League that Barney doesn't cross the line.
"At the start I said Barney would win the Premier League... so it'll be Taylor."