After ten weeks of almost total dominance in the #Premier League of #Darts, Michael van Gerwen's unbeaten run in this year's event was finally ended by his countryman Raymond van Barneveld in Aberdeen last night.
Night 11 of the prestigious PDC competition also gave Phil Taylor renewed hope of making the play-offs, as he took a vital three points from his two matches north of the border, beating Dave Chisnall and drawing with Stephen Bunting. Bunting also doubled up in Aberdeen, but could only manage a single point on what was a mainly disappointing night for the St Helens' player, as he also lost to the resurgent Adrian Lewis. The remaining fixture resulted in the points being shared by world champion Gary Anderson and James Wade.
Reigning champion van Barneveld seems to be finding his form of late in the competition this year, dismissing Taylor with ease last week and defeating his countryman van Gerwen 7-3 in Aberdeen. In a repeat of last year's final, 'Barney' established an early two leg advantage over his younger rival, as the number one seed uncharacteristically missed his doubles. The scores were soon tied at 3-3 though as van Gerwen began to look more like his old self again, only for the five-time world champion to forge away once more at the end of their match. Van Barneveld's four legs on the bounce included two impressive 11-dart finishes, but also relied on further missed doubles from his opponent. For once, van Gerwen's average was below 100 for the match, although in truth it was the clinical play from his more experienced compatriot that probably decided the eventual outcome.
Taylor was dramatically out of sorts last week, but displayed more of his usual swagger against Chisnall, establishing a 3-1 lead before being pegged back to just 4-3 ahead. That proved to be the turning point as Taylor took the next three legs to claim victory at 7-3, with two breaks of throw the deciding factor in the match. Taylor's average of 103.53 was marginally higher than his opponent, and much improved from night ten as he moved into fourth place in the table. He returned later in the evening to take a point against Bunting in a 6-6 draw, with neither player at their best, although Taylor had chances to win the match.
Bunting had earlier fared even worse against Lewis, slumping to a comprehensive 7-2 defeat at the Stoke player's hands. The victory puts Lewis in a strong position in the league, just one point behind Taylor but with a game in hand.
Anderson remained in third position in the table after sharing a rousing 6-6 draw with Wade, as the partisan home support inspired him to rally from 6-2 down. Wade had looked to be on his way to both points as his early form included a wonderful 170 checkout, but missed a match winning dart in the eleventh leg to allow his opponent back in.