Premier League Darts 2020: Michael van Gerwen starts with win over Peter Wright
Rob Cross and Gerwyn Price draw, while Gary Anderson, Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant all record opening-night wins
By Paul Prenderville at P&J Live, Aberdeen
Last Updated: 07/02/20 1:58pm
Michael van Gerwen gained a hint of revenge for his World Darts Championship final defeat by beating Peter Wright in an enthralling start to his Premier League campaign.
The world No 1 and 2 served up a treat to a sell-out crowd at Aberdeen's P&J Live, sharing six 100+ finishes in a contest that saw both men average more than 100 until Wright faltered in the final stages and MvG secured a 7-5 win.
Just over a month on from Snakebite's maiden world title, it was the Dutchman who took the honours, picking up a first win with his new darts to start his pursuit of Premier League title number six, and a fifth in succession, in style.
Rob Cross and Gerwyn Price battled to a draw and there was victory for the returning Gary Anderson while Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant underlined their graduation from contenders to title hopefuls with wins on their first night in the competition proper.
John Henderson came up short as the first Challenger which means after 10 attempts it will fall to Falon Sherrock in Nottingham next week to deliver the first win from those invited throughout the opening phase of the last two years.
Night One Results, Aberdeen
|Michael Smith 3-7 Glen Durrant|
|Gary Anderson 7-5 Daryl Gurney|
|Michael van Gerwen 7-5 Peter Wright|
|Nathan Aspinall 7-3 John Henderson|
|Gerwyn Price 6-6 Rob Cross|
Revenge is sweet for ruthless MvG
The night's headline act lived up to it's billing as Van Gerwen and Wright duked it out in a contest that featured eight 180s and six of the 12 legs finished with huge three-figure finishes.
Snakebite's Ally Pally heroics ended a career of showpiece final defeats to Van Gerwen, and he looked in the mood for another as he roared into an early 2-0 lead, including a brilliant 120 to delight the crowd who welcomed home their latest world champion.
But Wright lost his way, and Van Gerwen was in unforgiving mood, punishing missed darts at double in each of the next three legs to take a 3-2 lead thanks to brilliant finishes of 106 and 120.
The pair traded the next five legs amid a barrage of big finishes, and it was the Dutchman who secured a point, pinning double nine for a 6-5 lead that piled the pressure on the world champion.
All week Van Gerwen has had the hint of a man out to make amends. He has reached the final in all seven of his Premier League campaigns, he has won six titles including each of the last four. He was as good as his word sealing the two points with a brilliant 106 finish sealing the decisive break of throw in the decisive leg.
Anderson returns with battling victory
A raucous Aberdeen crowd warmed up for the Hendo showpiece, by roaring two-time Premier League champion Anderson to the stage against Daryl Gurney.
The Flying Scotsman missed last year's tournament with a back injury, but he marked his return by powering over the finishing line, winning three straight legs to turn a 5-4 deficit to a 7-5 opening-night success.
Superchin has been thrown into the lion's den on three of the Premier League's first nine nights, Price in Cardiff and 'Challenger' Chris Dobey in Newcastle and in Aberdeen, 7,000 Scots made it a night to forget for the man from Derry.
The eighth leg proved pivotal, seven missed darts from Gurney allowed Anderson to level, and while Gurney broke back for a 5-4 lead the damage had been done.
Double eight gave Anderson parity and then a 12-darter broke Gurney and secured a point for Ando, who wasn't done there. He produced a spellbinding 104 to seal all two points on his return.
Night Two Fixtures, Nottingham
|Rob Cross v Nathan Aspinall|
|Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith|
|Gary Anderson v Peter Wright|
|Glen Durrant v Fallon Sherrock|
|Daryl Gurney v Michael van Gerwen|
No Hendo heroics as Aspinall shines
Cast in the role of pantomime villain, Aspinall again underlined his status as a major force in world darts, bursting the Henderson walk-on bubble with a dominant 7-3 win over the home hero.
After bagpipes, drums and Scotland the Brave welcomed Hendo to the stage, the Asp was all smiles as he revelled in the role and let his darts to the talking.
With the first four legs split, Aspinall went through the gears to take control, a brilliant 170 sealed a point and while Henderson had raised the roof in rallying for a draw against Van Gerwen last year, it wasn't to be in 2020.
Aspinall won a fifth of six legs to clinch the victory to start his quest for another TV title in the perfect fashion, securing victory on his 'full' debut after defeat to Michael Smith as a 'Contender' last year.
Durrant gets off to a flier
After a spectacular debut on the PDC circuit last year, three-time BDO world champion Durrant hit seven of his nine darts at double to beat 2018 runner-up Michael Smith 7-3.
A typically classy 96 gave Duzza an early break in the third leg of the contest, only for Smith to hit back and take out 84 for an 11-dart riposte.
After a third consecutive break, Durrant held throw to claim the sixth leg of the night for a 4-2 lead and when Smith missed two to draw within one, Duzza was clinical for a 5-2 advantage..
Smith stopped the rot by claiming a break of throw, but Duzza pinned double eight to secure his first Premier League point which he turned into two by brilliantly taking out 191 in four darts.
Price rallies to salvage draw
Price and Cross battled their way to the first draw of the Premier League in the final match of the night that see-sawed both ways and in the end will leave both men happy with a point.
The scrappy early stages came to life when Price forged the first decisive lead, pinning 124 for a 4-2 lead that looked to have broken the spirit of Cross but the opposite was true as the 2018 world champion went into overdrive.
He reeled off four legs in succession to clinch a point and lead 6-4, pushing his average closer to 100 after an inspired burst. But back came Price again. A terrific 130 finish drew the Iceman to within one and when Cross could not take out 152 for the victory the Welshman hit double top to secure a share of the spoils.
Follow every week of the Premier League on Sky Sports, kicking off in Aberdeen on Thursday, February 6, as 17 weeks of action continues every Thursday through until the Play-Offs on London on May 21