After his narrow defeat at the hands of the newly crowned PDC world champion, Gary Anderson last week, Phil "The Power" Taylor regained his usual composure in Bournemouth last night on day two of the Premier League of #Darts. On an evening of high octane showmanship, there were comprehensive victories for Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, James Wade and Taylor, as Dave Chisnall completed the winners in an edgy final match against title holder Raymond van Barneveld.
A packed BIC welcomed the ten aces with the arrows, with the standard combination of page 3 girls, strobe lights, loud musical introductions, cheerleaders and 'Hi mom' message cards. There were even fans wearing 'Bullseye' face masks, as some of the best players in world darts performed for them on stage over the best of twelve legs matches.
Most of the games resulted in heavy defeats for one of the players, as four of the winners delivered big ton-plus averages. The exception was in the final match of the night, where Chisnall eventually closed out a tense final leg against van Barneveld to claim a narrow 7-5 success.
Taylor could perhaps have been expected to struggle against Adrian 'Jackpot' Lewis, after his mother's funeral on Wednesday, but instead he turned in a performance she would no doubt have approved of, to thrash his opponent 7-2. Lewis had started brilliantly, leading 2-1 and averaging around the 115 mark. He clearly wouldn't keep that standard up for the entire match, but what followed was a curious collapse that resulted in not only his average dropping below 100, but also allowing Taylor to cruise through the next six legs in relatively untroubled fashion. Not that Taylor's darts were too shoddy, as a 108.33 match average bears testament to. What was perhaps even more impressive though were the seven doubles he hit from ten attempts, in a clinical match play demonstration.
Anderson matched Taylor's accuracy on the doubles count in soundly overcoming fellow Scot Peter Wright 7-1, after losing the opening leg. His finishing was superb and included four checkouts over 100, as he averaged just under 107 to maintain his world title form.
As we are coming to expect from the world number one, van Gerwen, he returned the highest three-dart average on the night with a staggering 109.44. It allowed him to convincingly overpower Stephen Bunting 7-3, but his opponent should not belittle his own display too much, as a 103.43 average of his own would have taken many of the matches in the past. Ever the showman, the Dutch star clinched the match with a 138 checkout.
The other winner on the night was James 'The Machine' Wade, who had few problems in disposing of new Premier League competitor, Kim Huybrechts. The Belgian still looks to be finding his feet in the intense competition and succumbed to another heavy defeat 7-2. Wade's average was also high at around 104. #CelebritiesNext week sees Liverpool host the Premier League at the Echo Arena, with the main match-up likely to be that between van Gerwen and Anderson, probably the two most consistent players on the tour at present.