Week eight if the Betway Premier League in Manchester just about had everything. We saw a world record set, then that record ended, two players eliminated, the top four chance hand countless times and a missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish.
Sadly Cardiff won’t be Judgement night, as both Kim Huybrechts and Jelle Klaasen were both condemned to the bottom two places in the table. Kim was beaten 7-2 by the former back to back world champion, Gary Anderson. Kim has been brilliant in the main during this year’s Premier League, but his results don’t reflect that. In recent weeks the Belgium star has had other things on his mind away from darts. Our thoughts go out to the Huybrechts family.
“I needed the win, and it’s a good two points,” said Anderson. “There was some good scoring, and I hit a few good finishes there.
“Kim has played very well and just not had that little bit of luck, he could have won against Michael and against Phil Taylor, so it could have been different for him.”
Jelle was beaten 7-5 by Adrian Lewis, but Klaasen has been hampered by a wrist injury over the last month. The problem hasn’t got any better and will need surgery in May. In truth, this was a game that Lewis made hard work of, but credit to Klaasen who dug in when we could all see he was clearly struggling.
“I’ve had three wins on the trot, and you can’t argue with that,” said Lewis. “It was a tough game and a vital two points.
“I’m trying my best at the minute, and I’m playing well in patches.”
In the opening game of the night world champion Michael van Gerwen would set a new world record on his way to beating James Wade. After his 7-4 win over the Machine, MvG was unbeaten in 44 televised games beating Phil Taylor’s record. The scoreline flattered van Gerwen slightly, as Wade had darts to get something from the match.
MvG would be playing twice in Manchester, after missing Exeter with a back injury. The roof was well and truly lifted off the MEN Arena, the two Dutch superstars served up a real treat. Barney fresh of the back of his stunning performance in Rotterdam last week, ever gave the world number one time to settle and raced into a three-nil lead. Van Gerwen pulled it back to three all, but Barney would break straight back and would and would get van Gerwen’s 44 unbeaten streak, winning 7-5.
“I’m top of the table, and that’s where I think I belong, but I’m disappointed because I wanted to be on 14 points and not 12,” said Van Gerwen.
“Raymond took his chances and hit some good finishes, but this was my worst game of the season.
“When I was 3-0 down I got into my rhythm, but I missed some crucial shots – especially when I went 4-3 up – and you can’t afford to make any mistakes.”
Raymond told Sky Sports “I’m happy with the win, it’s amazing. You can see how tight the league table is and I’m the first player to beat Michael in the Premier League this season – I showed that he is beatable.
“Last week in Rotterdam I played the number two in the world, Gary Anderson, and tonight it was the world number one and I got four points.”
The last game saw UK Open Champion Peter Wright take on Phil Taylor. In the early stages Wright failed to hit his high standards, and let Taylor take the lead. A stunning 156 finish from Peter Wright kept him in the game, but Taylor edged out Snakebite by seven legs to five.
“It’s a massive win for me,” said Taylor. “It was a strange game – we’ve both missed plenty of doubles, but his 156 was incredible, and I thought he was going to come back and get a draw.
“He seems to do things under pressure like Michael van Gerwen does, he’s a brilliant player, and I think he’s going to get stronger, but on the night he wasn’t as good as he normally is.
“I’m not going to worry and I won’t put myself under pressure – I’d love to get in the top four but I’m going to keep pushing and I just want to keep enjoying it.
The Manchester Arena
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 James Wade
Kim Huybrechts 2-7 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 5-7 Phil Taylor
Jelle Klaasen 5-7 Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 Michael van Gerwen