Van Gerwen retains Premier League Darts lead after mixed night in Aberdeen
Michael Van Gerwen remains a point ahead of Dutch rival Raymond van Barneveld at the head of the Premier League Darts table as they joined Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson and Dave Chisnall in claiming victories at the GE Oil & Gas Arena in Aberdeen on Thursday.
Reigning champion van Gerwen suffered only his second defeat of the season as he went down 7-4 to Taylor in their Aberdeen clash - but returned to the stage later in the night to defeat Adrian Lewis by the same scoreline.
That triumph keeps the world number one a point clear at the top of the league table, and moves him closer to mathematically securing his place in May's Play-Offs.
"I was very disappointed after the first game because I don't like to lose any game, but I had to prepare myself again and try to win my second match, and I'm very glad I did," said van Gerwen.
"I didn't do what I wanted to do against Phil but I had to try and win the game after. I can do a lot better, but it was still enough to win the second game.
"I need to take the positives out of the night, because I didn't really play my best game but I got two points and am still top of the table, which is the most important thing."
Taylor had led 4-1 against van Gerwen in their clash before the Dutchman levelled - but the 16-time World Champion held his nerve with back-to-back 13-dart finishes as he took the final three legs without reply to seal victory.
The win extended Taylor's unbeaten run to six successive games as he consolidated his spot inside the top four, as he avenged his whitewash to van Gerwen on the season's opening night in February.
"It wasn't about getting revenge, it was about getting the two points and it was a brilliant game," said Taylor. "I'm playing well and I'm into the top four now, which is where I want to be.
"Michael came back well at me and gave everything to get level, but I knew I was still playing well and I had to keep doing what I was doing.
"Michael's brilliant and he puts you under tremendous pressure, but at the moment he's the one with the big target on his back. Everybody's been after me for the last 25 years so it's nice to sit back and let someone else take the pressure.
"He's a target at the moment because he's the best at the minute, but I'm getting back to my best and I want to be judged at the end of the year."
Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld sits a point behind van Gerwen at the top of the table after extending his own unbeaten run to nine matches as he picked up a third straight victory with a 7-1 romp against Robert Thornton.
The Scot shared the first two legs but saw the Dutchman pull clear with six successive legs as he condemned Thornton to a third straight defeat which further dents his top four hopes.
"Robert won a Players Championship last weekend so I knew he was playing well and that it would be a big task tonight, so I'm really happy to get such a great win," said van Barneveld.
"Every week's a new chance to get two points and I'm very pleased because I've put in so much effort and practice, and my self-belief is coming back. I'm positive and everything's going well at the moment."
Gary Anderson delighted the Scottish crowd with a thrilling 7-4 win over Lewis in their clash, as the Stoke ace suffered the first of his two defeats on the night to see his own Play-Off hopes hit.
Anderson opened the game with a 138 checkout and raced into a 6-0 lead before Lewis pulled back to 6-4, but the 2011 champion eventually closed out the victory.
"It was a memorable night and I love playing in Scotland," said Anderson. "I got a great start but then I looked at the score and saw it was 6-0, and all of a sudden I went to pieces!
"Maybe I was too eager to try finish Adrian off, but anyone would with a crowd like that behind them! I knew that if I had one good leg I could take the game and it worked out like that."
The night's other game saw third-placed Peter Wright suffer his third successive defeat, as Dave Chisnall improved his hopes of pushing for a top four place with a superb 7-4 win, doing much of the damage early on by taking a 4-0 lead.
"This was one of my best games this season and I'm glad I hit my doubles tonight," said Chisnall. "I was really disappointed last week - totally gutted - when I missed my chance to get a point against Raymond, but my finishing was good.
"I wanted to stay calm on my doubles because sometimes I rush, and I steadied myself tonight and they went in.
"I'm taking one game at a time and if I keep winning I can push towards the top four. This was good because it keeps me in the running."
The Premier League Darts continues next Thursday with the 12th league night at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, as Anderson takes on Taylor and Thornton on the night.
Thornton also meets Wright as he enjoys a pair of all-Scottish encounters, while van Barneveld meets Lewis and van Gerwen plays Chisnall.
Tickets are still available from the Phones 4u Arena by calling 0844 847 8000 or online through www.eventim.co.uk.