Comment & Analysis @RazMirza
Michael van Gerwen held by James Wade as draws dominate in Birmingham
James Wade, Gerwyn Price, Mensur Suljovic and Daryl Gurney all keep alive hopes of a coveted top-four place
Last Updated: 26/04/19 11:29am
Birthday boy Michael van Gerwen was forced to settle for a point against James Wade as draws dominated the Premier League at Arena Birmingham on Thursday night.
With three nights left to play, the battle is on places in the Play-Offs at The O2 on May 23, with just one point separating the four players placed third to sixth.
Gerwyn Price failed to take four match darts against Rob Cross as they drew the second match of the evening, while Mensur Suljovic battled back from 6-2 down to rescue a draw against last year's runner-up Michael Smith in the opener. Daryl Gurney was the big winner of the night as he moved into contention with an important win over Peter Wright.
James Wade 7-7 Michael van Gerwen
Van Gerwen was determined to celebrate his 30th birthday in style and came out with a cool 13-darter, but Wade responded with two consecutive 121 bull finishes.
The world No 1 was feeling the pressure from 'The Machine' who was motoring with an average a smidgen over 105 but the Dutchman responded with a fine 117 to level it up at 4-4.
Van Gerwen, who claimed his 30th European Tour title in Germany at the weekend, pinned a superb 107 to make it 5-5, but Wade responded again for a ninth successive hold of throw before applying the squeeze to clean up 68 for a 14-dart break.
MVG came back firing to hit back in a dozen darts and he secured a hard-fought draw in a tungsten thriller thanks to D16.
Rob Cross 7-7 Gerwyn Price
Former world champion Cross opened proceedings with a 120 finish, but Price responded with a 101.
The class was oozing from Cross' arrows as he landed a stunning 108 to move 3-1 up. But gritty Welshman Price was not going away and he struck back by winning the next four legs to take a 5-3 lead.
In a fascinating clash, Price showed composure under pressure to hit D10 for a 6-4 advantage before a timely maximum, followed by 58 in two darts, put him on course for a win. However, he spurned four darts for maximum points and paid the price as Cross landed D16 for a share of the spoils.
Mensur Suljovic 7-7 Michael Smith
Smith made an electrifying start as he took a 3-1 lead in the opening game of the night but Suljovic was clinging onto his coat-tails in a match of fine margins.
Both players were averaging over a ton, and, despite a frustrating seventh leg, 'Bully Boy' landed D5 for what appeared a crucial double break of throw. The Austrian had other ideas, though, and he sank 120 before finishes of 84 and 58 put him within one leg of his opponent at 6-5.
He soon levelled things up after hitting D15 before a stunning 116 guaranteed him an unlikely point. Smith held his nerve to land D8 with his last dart in hand to salvage a draw.
Daryl Gurney 8-4 Peter Wright
Another week, another set of darts for Wright, and although things started well for him, Gurney quickly reeled him in with finishes of 104 and 101 for a 3-2 advantage.
A magnificent 124 on the bullseye from 'Snakebite' pegged things back to 4-4, but Northern Irishman Gurney put himself in prime position with a 116 checkout and a 6-4 lead. He then pinned D8 before completing the job thanks to a nerveless 81 on D13.
What comes next? Night 14 - Thursday, May 2 - Manchester Arena
|James Wade||vs||Gerwyn Price|
|Daryl Gurney||vs||Michael van Gerwen|
|Peter Wright||vs||Mensur Suljovic|
|Rob Cross||vs||Michael Smith|
The Premier League continues as we head to the Manchester Arena on Thursday, May 2. You can also stay up to date with all the action by following us @SkySportsDarts and get all the latest news, previews and interviews www.skysports.com/darts