The #Premier League of #Darts began its roadshow around Britain last week, with the first round of matches in Leeds. As ever, the action was fast and frenetic to keep the viewers entertained, with the heady concoction of live sport, plenty of razzmatazz and a vociferous crowd cheering the players on.
The league features ten of the biggest names from the PDC circuit, with the usual stalwarts of Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld, Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis and James Wade, mixing it with a number of newer faces such as Stephen Bunting, Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall and Kim Huybrechts The ties are played weekly in a round-robin format, with each player participating in one match per week, illness and injury permitting. The bottom two players are eliminated after 'Judgement Night' in Manchester on April 2nd. The remaining eight players then face each other over the remaining six league nights.
Van Barneveld is the reigning title holder from 2014, but can expect strong challenges from world champion Gary Anderson, world number one van Gerwen and of course the evergreen Taylor.
The first round of matches threw up some intriguing battles, none more so than the pairing of the two men who contested this year's PDC world title, Anderson and Taylor. In a repeat of the result from that final, it was Anderson who again came out on top in a close tussle by 7 legs to 5.
'Newbie' Bunting demonstrated commendable resilience against the seasoned Wade, as he staged a fight-back from 6-4 down to earn a draw at 6-6. Wade may regret missing his opportunity for the victory in future weeks, as the action hots up.
There were big wins for Chisnall over the colourful Scot, Wright and rather surprisingly by former PDC world champion Lewis over van Barneveld , as both men returned a convincing 7-1 success.
Van Gerwen is probably the slight favourite for the overall Premier League title this year and demonstrated his ability, with a strong 7-3 win over Belgium's Huybrechts.With this week's fixtures in Bournemouth seeing van Barneveld taking on Chisnall and Taylor meeting the revitalised Lewis, it promises for an interesting night of darts, as the two former world title holders attempt to get their campaigns back on track with much needed wins.