By News Team
7th February 2020
Michael van Gerwen went some way to avenging his William Hill World Darts Championship final defeat to Peter Wright, edging their Alexandra Palace rematch 7-5 on week one of the 2020 Premier League in Aberdeen on Thursday.
The 16th staging of the Premier League got under way in front of over 7,000 fans at the brand new P&J Live, with five-time Premier League champion Van Gerwen winning a thriller against Wright.
A typically high-quality affair between the world’s top two saw six ton-plus finishes landed, but it was Van Gerwen’s 104.13 average which eventually proved too much for Wright to handle.
Wright, who famously dethroned Van Gerwen as world champion on New Year’s Day, got off to an ideal start with finishes of 120 and 80 to take a 2-0 lead and had three darts at a double in the next two legs so should have been 4-0 up. However, Van Gerwen in typical fashion replied with checkouts of 120 and 106 himself to level it up. Wright then had another to take the lead again, only for Mighty Mike to then take the lead for the first time.
The next six legs all went with throw to put Van Gerwen 6-5 up, and the Dutchman struck the vital break of throw in the final leg of the match to get off to a winning start in his quest for a fifth consecutive Premier League crown.
Two-time Premier League champion Gary Anderson was the only Scottish winner in Aberdeen as he made a successful return to Premier League action, recovering from 5-4 down to defeat Daryl Gurney 7-5 in an encapsulating encounter.
Starring in his first Premier League match in almost two years after a back injury ruled him out of the 2019 campaign, Anderson looked to be heading for defeat after Gurney broke throw to move 5-4 up in a tight encounter.
However, two-time Premier League champion Anderson found his best form as he fired in legs of 13, 12 and 12 darts to delight a partisan Scottish crowd.
It was a perfect start to life as full-time Premier League players for Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant, who recorded wins over John Henderson and Michael Smith respectively.
Henderson’s highly-anticipated return to Aberdeen was spoiled by Aspinall, who cruised to a 7-3 victory over the Scot.
Appearing as the first of nine challengers following his famous draw with Van Gerwen in 2019, Henderson got off to a slow start and never recovered as Aspinall picked up a win in his first match as a Premier League player.
With Henderson waiting on 96 to go within a leg of Aspinall, the UK Open champion landed a trademark 170 checkout to halt any hopes of a Henderson fightback before seeing the game out.
Meanwhile, Durrant missed just two darts at double in a ruthless 7-3 defeat of 2018 Premier League runner-up Smith.
The three-time BDO champion defied a ten-point deficit in the averages to lead 3-2 and, after Smith crucially missed two darts at double in leg seven, Durrant extended his lead to three legs at 5-2.
From there, Durrant never looked back, clinically seeing out the match to taste victory in his first outing as a full-time Premier League player.
The final game of the night saw Gerwyn Price recover from 6-4 down to salvage a 6-6 draw with Rob Cross.
After taking out 124 to open up a 4-2 lead, Price was pegged back as Cross won four legs in succession to secure a point.
A 130 checkout from world number three Price sparked the Welshman back into life and he backed it up with a 13-dart leg to take a share of the spoils.
The 2020 Premier League continues with week two in Nottingham on February 13 as global sensation Fallon Sherrock makes her Premier League debut as a challenger, while Scotland’s World Cup winners Anderson and Wright go head-to-head.
2020 Premier League week one results
Glen Durrant 7-3 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson 7-5 Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen 7-5 Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall 7-3 John Henderson
Gerwyn Price 6-6 Rob Cross