The latest round of the Betway Premier League #Darts tournament on Thursday saw Exeter as the hosts, with the bumper 4,500 crowd at the Westpoint Arena once again being treated to some top class darts action throughout the evening. With world number one Michael van Gerwen slipping to a second consecutive draw against Peter Wright this time around, it left the way clear for the impressive Dave Chisnall to move clear at the top of the league, as he summarily dismissed the current world champion Gary Anderson.
Chisnall was in fantastic form in the south-west, storming to a 7-2 victory over the Scot to move him one point clear at the summit of the league. The St Helens' player remains unbeaten after five rounds, with just the one draw to 'blot' his record so far. With a three-dart average of an amazing 110.78, including six perfect 180s and a non-too shabby conversion rate of seven doubles from twelve attempts, he was always the dominant player in the match. With the score at 4-2 in the Englishman's favour, the match remained in the balance, but as his scoring increased, Chisnall moved clear for his deserved triumph. His form looked to be perfect for the weekend's UK Open event.
A point behind Chisnall lies the Dutchman van Gerwen, after 'Mighty Mike' endured a curious tussle with the flamboyant Wright, before managing to claim a 6-6 draw. The signs looked good early on for van Gerwen as he broke the throw of his opponent to establish a 2-1 lead, including a 120 checkout. That seemed to spur Wright on as he claimed the next two legs with sparkling 101 and 158 finishes. It remained close thereafter as they both took the point on offer at the end, with the highlight in the later legs being a 145 finish by the number one seed in leg ten.
A frustrated van Gerwen admitted afterwards: "I didn't play my game and I wasn't at my best," although he was slightly upset by Wright's behaviour during the match, calling it "unprofessional" as he stopped at one point when a double top was left for a 160 finish, urging the crowd to make some noise. For Wright, he was pleased to take his third draw in the last three weeks but also a bit disappointed not to convert any of them into a win.
Phil Taylor sits ominously in third place in the table after another success for him, with three victories and a draw in his five matches so far. He did it the hard way against James Wade, coming back from 4-1 down to take the match 7-5, including an 11-dart finish. Wade was in decent form himself throughout the match, making a 121 check-out early on, but found the "The Power" too strong in the end as he completed the job with a 140 finish. Taylor's 106.45 average illustrated just how good you need to be to overcome him.
The other matches saw 'newbies' Kim Huybrechts and Stephen Bunting finally claim their first victories of the tournament. The Belgian was just too good for Raymond van Barneveld, taking out a marvellous 170 checkout in the deciding leg of a 7-5 success. In an exciting tussle, RVB only just missed a nine-dart finish in the third leg, as his rival responded with five 180s in as many legs. Huybrechts' maiden victory was 'coming' after losing the previous week, despite averaging 107.
Bunting defeated Adrian Lewis 7-3, to add two points to the draw he had managed in week one. He also showed some style in his match, taking out an 11-darter and a 104 finish along the way.Next week's action promises to be just as exciting, with the country-wide roadshow moving on to the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham. The highlights could be van Gerwen's clash with Taylor and a potential 'relegation' battle between Huybrechts and Wright.