By News Team
21st February 2020
Nathan Aspinall inflicted a first Premier League defeat of 2020 on Michael van Gerwen on night three in Cardiff on Thursday, while Gerwyn Price was held to a 6-6 draw by Daryl Gurney in the Welsh capital.
Having been at his imperious best in the opening two nights of action, five-time Premier League champion Van Gerwen was halted in his tracks by Aspinall, who won 7-5 in front of a sell-out crowd at Motorpoint Arena.
Following a mixed start to his maiden campaign with a win and a loss in his opening two matches, Aspinall got off to a great start against the world number one as he pinned a 110-checkout on his way to a 4-2 lead.
Van Gerwen hit back with three successive legs to hit the front, only for Aspinall to stop the rot with a last-dart double 18.
The 11th leg saw Van Gerwen hit some uncharacteristically low scores, and Aspinall took full advantage, hitting double top in each of the last two legs to rack up his third win in six attempts against the Dutchman, who it has to be said was way off the mark with his form and found it hard to chase Aspinall.
Welsh number one Price was unable to deliver a win for his army of fans as he drew for the third consecutive week, this time against Gurney, who picked up his first point of the campaign.
A tight affair, in which both players missed a number of darts at double, saw the opening eight legs all go with throw before Price struck the first break to go 5-4 ahead. He then should have pushed on and put the pressure firmly in the face of his opponent, however, an undeterred Gurney won back-to-back legs to secure the draw, but Price held firm in the last leg to maintain his unbeaten start to the season.
Price’s World Cup team-mate Jonny Clayton suffered a baptism of fire on his Premier League debut, as Michael Smith produced the performance of the night to claim a 7-1 victory, ending his ten-match winless run in the Premier League.
Welsh number two Clayton, the highest-ranked of this year’s nine challengers, took the opening leg but had no answer to a Smith onslaught, which saw the former Premier League runner-up average 105.51.
A 167 finish from Smith put daylight between the pair at 4-1 and three legs later he wrapped up victory with a 142 finish to taste victory in the Premier League for the first time since March. I do wonder what Smith could win if he just tightens up his last dart, a world title perhaps?
Glen Durrant is the early leader in the standings after he made it two wins from three with an eye-catching 7-4 defeat of Gary Anderson.
Having salvaged a point against Fallon Sherrock on night two, Durrant was at his clinical best as he landed finishes of 107, 89 and 85 on his way to a 5-1 lead.
Two-time Premier League champion Anderson hit back with checkouts of 122 and 64, however, he was way off his form that he had coming into this match, but Durrant maintained control of the contest to move to the table summit.
World champion Peter Wright eventually found his way to a first victory of the campaign with a 7-5 defeat of Rob Cross, though Wright averaged over 20 points more than his opponent for much of the contest.
With Cross struggling to find his range on the trebles, Wright took advantage to race into a 3-0 lead thanks to a trio of 13-dart legs.
Former world champion Cross fought back and took the match all the way to a 12th leg, but after the former world champion failed to take out 126, Wright found a last-dart double five to condemn Cross to his first loss of the season.
The 2020 Premier League continues with night four in Dublin on February 27 as Republic of Ireland’s World Cup runner-up William O’Connor stars as a challenger against Van Gerwen, while table-topper Durrant meets Aspinall in the battle of the newcomers.
The Premier league again is proving to be hard to call with what I think are bang-on results. However, like with the MVG-Aspinall match, anything can happen over this short distance.
2020 Premier League night three results
Peter Wright 7-5 Rob Cross
Michael Smith 7-1 Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall 7-5 Michael van Gerwen
Daryl Gurney 6-6 Gerwyn Price
Glen Durrant 7-4 Gary Anderson
2020 Premier League night four fixtures
Glen Durrant vs Nathan Aspinall
Rob Cross vs Gary Anderson
Daryl Gurney vs Michael Smith
William O’Connor vs Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price vs Peter Wright