The Betway Premier League of #Darts made its latest stopover at Belfast last Thursday at the Odyssey Arena and as ever the standard displayed by the men with the arrows did not disappoint. The night's action saw Dave Chisnall continue his marvellous start to the competition, with victory over Belgium's Kim Huybrechts moving him level at the top of the league after four matches with world number one Michael van Gerwen. Van Gerwen could not continue his run of victories as he had to come back against Adrian Lewis to gain a point from a drawn match.
Chisnall might have been forgiven for thinking that he might enjoy a relatively comfortable evening against Huybrechts, who had not previously shown the form he is capable of during the previous three nights of competition, but it turned into a classy game of darts.
The Belgian showed that he meant business by taking the opening leg, but then had to watch as his opponent found his form to take the next three to pile on the pressure, including three perfect 180 scores. With the score at 4-3 as the underdog narrowed the deficit, Chisnall hit an 11-dart finish to move two legs clear again at 5-3. That seemed to spur Huybrechts on, as the very next leg saw him go agonisingly close to a nine-darter, missing on double 12. He did finish the leg off to claw back to 5-4 in arrears, but that proved to be his last success on the night. Chisnall finished the match off in the following two legs, achieving 13-dart and 11-dart finishes in clinical style.
Both players emerged from the match with averages in the 107 range, yet it was Chisnall who took the game 7-4 thanks to better finishing at the key stages of the match. It left 'Chizzy' with an unbeaten start to the tournament so far.
Chisnall now sits level on seven points with van Gerwen, after 'Mighty Mike' salvaged a 6-6 draw with Lewis. It could have been an even worse night for the Dutchman as he trailed 5-2 at one point, including an 11-darter for himself and a 112 finish for Lewis.
Van Gerwen was not to be denied though, completing a ten-darter as he drew closer at 5-4 down. His rival ensured at least a point with a 14-dart finish to establish a 6-4 lead, only for the top seed to take the next two legs for a point himself. The averages looked slightly misleading afterwards with van Gerwen outscoring his opponent 106 to 98, yet the vital statistic was the actual score line in terms of legs won. #CelebritiesWorld Champion Gary Anderson bounced back from last week's defeat to van Gerwen, with a solid victory over James Wade 7-4. It had looked far better for Wade early on as he led 3-1, but then the Scot moved up a gear to claim the next three legs. It was all square after eight legs, but Anderson had the edge by the end as he took three legs in a row, including a 13-dart finish.
Phil Taylor lies fourth in the league after drawing with Peter Wright, who clinched only his second point of the campaign with a 14-dart pressure finish in the final leg.
It was probably a fair result in a close match throughout.
The remaining game saw the reigning Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld take a 7-4 victory over Stephen Bunting, which would have been a big relief for the popular Dutchman, as it was his first success in four weeks of darts.