McCoy's Premier League Darts - Night Six Review
Phil Taylor suffered a second successive McCoy's Premier League Darts defeat as he went down to Andy Hamilton at the Manchester Arena on Thursday, but Raymond van Barneveld maintained his position at the top of the league table after six weeks.
Reigning Premier League champion Taylor had been edged out by Gary Anderson in Nottingham a week ago, and was defeated 7-3 by Hamilton in their all-Stoke clash in Manchester.
Hamilton had claimed only his second career win over Taylor when he won their UK Masters quarter-final in Minehead last Sunday - but only had to wait a further four days to make it three victories.
Taylor led 2-1 early on before Hamilton took four successive legs in moving 5-2 up, and although the World Champion hit back on double seven, finishes of 68 and 90 for back-to-back 14-darters sealed the 45-year-old's win.
"It's probably the biggest two points of my Premier League career and it feels absolutely brilliant," said Hamilton, who averaged 101.40 in the victory. "I know what I'm capable of and I finished well. To beat Phil again shows that I'm on top form, and it shows that last weekend wasn't a fluke. I'm throwing solid darts, scoring well and if I keep finishing well then there's no reason I can't go a long way in this Premier League. I thrive on the pressure of the Premier League and the crowds."
Hamilton will now play Simon Whitlock in a massive clash next week in Cardiff, after the Australian produced some superb finishing to win a high-quality clash with 2009 Premier League Darts champion James Wade which saw the players share six ton-plus finishes.
Wade took out finishes of 170 and 103 in moving 3-2 up before Whitlock posted checkouts of 100 and 101 in taking a 6-3 cushion, and although the left-hander finished 144 to keep his hopes alive, the European Champion sealed his victory by completing a 120 game shot. "This is a huge win," admitted Whitlock. "I need every point I can get, so I'm over the moon to get both points.It was an enjoyable game and every time I missed a double James took advantage, and his 170 was brilliant. All the Premier League players are practising more than ever and it's tough every week - there's no easy matches."
Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld's superb season continued as he moved onto nine points in the league table with a draw against Scot Robert Thornton, who jumped above Taylor into fourth place with a point.
Van Barneveld led 6-4 as he ensured at least a point before Thornton took out 100 with two double tops to stay in the game and finished 78 to share the spoils.
"I think the draw was a fair result," said van Barneveld. "I have to take my hat off to Robert because he played really well and it was a good game. It's Robert's first Premier League and he's enjoying it, and it makes it harder to beat him. He's got so much confidence in his game at the moment and he puts you under pressure in every leg. I wasn't too happy with my scoring tonight but I'm happy with a point and it's great to be top still after six weeks."
UK Open champion Thornton said: "I think neither of us probably deserved to win it, because neither of us were able to hold onto a lead. I'm going up there every week to enjoy myself, and if I can get one or two points then I'll be happy enough."
Michael van Gerwen moved into second place with a superb 7-4 win over Wes Newton, who hit two ten-dart finishes during the contest as he pulled back from 3-1 down to level at four legs apiece before the Dutchman took the next three to claim the points.
"Wes played well and it was a fantastic game, so I'm very happy with the win," said van Gerwen. "I'm doing well at the moment, I've got another two points in my pocket and it's fantastic because I've put myself in a good position for the next few weeks. I'm working hard and enjoying myself, and that's showing in my game. Wes was hard to beat but I think I was the better player and at the moment I feel like I can throw a 100 average every week."
Newton admitted: "I battled my heart out but it wasn't enough in the end. Michael's been incredible for the last month and he's so confident, and sometimes there's nothing you can do against it.
"I played really well in stages - I've had two ten-darters and was on a nine-darter and only won four legs, so I've got to take the positives out of it and move on to next week.
"I'm playing the best players in the world every week, and I'm disappointed to get beaten but the standard now is unbelievable. I'm playing well but not getting the results at the minute but hopefully next week a bit of luck will be on my side."
Newton's defeat allowed Adrian Lewis to join him on three points at the foot of the table after he was forced to settle for a point from his clash with Gary Anderson.
Lewis came from 2-0 down to lead the contest and was the first player to secure a point when he moved 6-5 up, but 2011 Premier League champion Anderson showed his class by hitting a ten-dart leg to snatch a draw.
"We both missed some doubles there but I'm happy with that," said Lewis. "We always seem to have exciting games and we had chances to break each other at times which we didn't take. When I got to 6-5 I wanted to relax and go on and win but Gary put in a brilliant level. He dug in deep and showed a lot of bottle."
The tournament continues next week with the seventh night at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, with only three games remaining before the league's bottom two players are relegated, leaving the remaining eight to battle for Play-Off places.
McCoy's Premier League Darts
March 14 - Manchester Arena
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Wes Newton
Adrian Lewis 6-6 Gary Anderson
Simon Whitlock 7-4 James Wade
Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Robert Thornton
Phil Taylor 3-7 Andy Hamilton
Michael van Gerwen v Wes Newton
0-0 - Michael van Gerwen will throw first
1-0 - van Gerwen makes a confident start by landing double seven to win the opening leg.
2-0 - The Dutchman continues his brilliant opening with an 11-darter, hitting two 140s and a 134 before taking out 87.
2-1 - van Gerwen is unable to finish 81, and Newton takes out 110 to break throw.
3-1 - van Gerwen breaks back to regain his cushion by finishing 32.
3-2 - Newton opens with scores of 140 and 180 before adding a 145 to leave double 18 as he hits back with a superb ten-dart finish.
4-2 - van Gerwen powers in a 180 and finishes 76 to break again.
4-3 - The run of breaks of throw continues as Newton finishes 76 on tops to secure a sixth successive leg against the darts.
4-4 - Newton hits a SECOND ten-dart finish of the game, scoring 180, 140 and 145 before again landing double 18.
5-4 - van Gerwen pins double 16 to edge himself back ahead.
6-4 - van Gerwen lands a 180 and has enough breathing space to return from two initial misses to return and finish 32 to earn at least a point.
7-4 - Newton opens with two 180s but sees his chance of a nine-darter go begging with his seventh dart - and a miss at the bullseye and double eight allows van Gerwen in to seal the win on double seven.
Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson
0-0 - Adrian Lewis will throw first
0-1 - Double 18 sees Anderson secure an immediate break of throw.
0-2 - Anderson misses the bull, but Lewis misses two darts at tops to level and the Scot returns to double his lead.
1-2 - Lewis finishes double 16 at the third time of asking to get off the mark.
2-2 - Lewis posts two 180s and hits tops for a 12-darter to break back.
3-2 - Lewis edges a scrappy leg as both players initially miss their doubles in two visits before the world number two finishes a tricky third-dart double seven.
3-3 - Anderson hits a 180 and double four to square the game.
4-3 - Lewis regains the lead in leg seven.
4-4 - Anderson finishes 68 to level again.
5-4 - Lewis hits a fourth 180 of the game, and when Anderson misses his chance to break, the Stoke ace finishes a third-dart double ten to edge back in front.
5-5 - Anderson levels as he punishes Lewis for missing his chance to break throw.
6-5 - Anderson opens with his third 180 of the game, but misses tops for a 102 finish and Lewis takes out double nine to ensure at least a point.
6-6 - Anderson scores 140, 180 and 165 to leave 16 after nine darts, and lands double eight for a ten-darter to secure a draw.
Simon Whitlock v James Wade
0-0 - Simon Whitlock will throw first
1-0 - Double ten gives the Australian the opening leg.
1-1 - Wade hits a 180 as he levels the game in 13 darts on tops.
1-2 - Wade finishes a brilliant 170 to break throw - the first time this season the maximum finish has been landed.
2-2 - Whitlock breaks back by finishing 100 with two double tops.
2-3 - Whitlock misses double top, and Wade punishes him by taking out 103.
3-3 - The Australian misses tops for a 112 finish, but Wade is off-target on the same bed with three darts of his own to allow Whitlock back to level.
4-3 - Whitlock fires in his first 180, and finishes 81 on double 18 to move back ahead.
5-3 - The European Champion takes out 101 to break throw and move clear for the first time.
6-3 - Whitlock wins a fourth successive leg by taking out 81 on double 18 again.
6-4 - A fantastic finish from Wade keeps his hopes alive, with Whitlock missing three match darts to allow the left-hander to take out 144 on double 12.
7-4 - Whitlock takes out 120 in brilliant fashion to seal his victory.
Raymond van Barneveld v Robert Thornton
0-0 - Raymond van Barneveld will throw first
0-1 - Thornton opens the game with a 180 and finishes tops to take the opening leg.
1-1 - The Scot misses tops for a 120 finish, and van Barneveld punishes him by hitting the same bed to break back.
2-1 - Double 16 edges the Dutchman ahead.
2-2 - van Barneveld hits a 180, but Thornton holds throw to level.
3-2 - van Barneveld misses the bull for a 170 finish, but when Thornton fails to land double seven for an 86 finish the Dutchman returns to clean up double four.
4-2 - van Barneveld hits a key double four to break throw.
4-3 - Double ten sees the Scot hit back.
5-3 - van Barneveld posts double eight to regain his two-leg cushion.
5-4 - Tops sees Thornton hit back again
6-4 - van Barneveld secures a minimum of a point on double ten.
6-5 - Thornton hits a 180 and finishes 100 with two double tops to stay in the contest.
6-6 - Thornton takes out 78 to grab a draw - his third of the season.
Phil Taylor v Andy Hamilton
0-0 - Phil Taylor will throw first
1-0 - Taylor finishes double 19 to win the opening leg.
1-1 - Hamilton finishes 90 on double 15 to get off the mark.
2-1 - Hamilton posts a 180, but Taylor edges back ahead.
2-2 - The 2012 World Championship finalist levels.
2-3 - Double two sees Hamilton break throw to move ahead.
2-4 - Hamilton adds another 180 and finishes double 16 for a 13-darter to move two legs clear.
2-5 - Hamilton takes out 98 on double 19 to move to the brink of claiming at least a point.
3-5 - Taylor hits a 180 but initially misses two darts at double 14, only for Hamilton to be off-target twice at double top to allow the reigning champion back to hit double seven with his third dart.
3-6 - Hamilton breaks for a third time in the game as he secures a point by finishing 68 on double four.
3-7 - Hamilton hits a 180 to leave 90, and when Taylor narrowly misses the bull for a 126 finish, he takes out the finish on double 15 to secure victory over Taylor for the second time in a week, after also winning their UK Masters game.