MVG marches on in Belfast
Michael van Gerwen continues to look the man to beat in this year's Premier League darts after a 7-4 victory over Dave Chisnall at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.
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The world champion made it three wins in as many weeks as the roadshow moved to Northern Ireland, with Chisnall unable to keep tabs on the pre-tournament favourite.
Chisnall opened up proceedings with an 11-darter but van Gerwen promptly levelled and then broke with double eight set up by a maximum.
Van Gerwen fluffed his lines in the next but 'Chizzy' was unable to check out 134, allowing the Dutchman free darts at double five.
Chisnall held his throw with a 98 response and then broke to level with double 12, but van Gerwen is not the current world's best for nothing and duly edged back in front with a clinical double eight finish.
The pair were averaging 104 but both missed three darts to take the eighth leg and it proved a crucial one that van Gerwen finally closed out on double four.
Chisnall was first to the double in the next and he duly held his throw, but van Gerwen nailed tops at the first attempt to secure at least a point and then swiftly took out 93 to complete the win.
"I'm very happy with my performance, I'm very consistent and not making many mistakes," he told Sky Sports. "I'm looking forward to next week.
"I love to play in front of crowds like this and I feel very comfortable. They give me so much confidence on the stage it feels like they are also in the game."
Peter Wright sent Phil Taylor crashing to a third successive Premier League defeat with a 7-4 success.
Wright took out double 16 with Taylor back on 121 to open up, and although Taylor hit the same bed from 86 it was Wright who went back in front with another 32 out-shot.
Taylor hit the first 180 of the match in the fourth leg which set up a 92 checkout under pressure on his own throw, but Wright responded with back-to-back maximums of his own in the next, and although the 'Power' hit another 180 of his own the world finalist again took out 16s for a 10-darter.
The sixth was crucial - Taylor failing to take out 55 with the darts allowing Wright to hit 10s and secure a two-leg cushion.
Wright missed three darts at doubles in the next but Taylor could not find bull for a 124 finish and Wright stepped up to make it 5-2 with double eight.
A weak leg from 'Snakebite' gifted the next to the 16-time world champion, but in taking out 44 in the ninth leg he secured a point for himself and while Taylor held to keep the match alive, Wright closed it out with tops to beat his opponent for the first time.
Robert Thornton clinched his first victory of the Premier League season with a scintillating 7-2 victory over fellow Scotsman Gary Anderson.
Thornton flew out of the blocks and quickly set up a 3-0 lead with some heavy scoring, taking out tops twice and double six for a 12 darter.
'The Thorn' nailed a maximum in the fourth and could have pinched the leg despite his first ragged darts, but when he missed one dart at tops Anderson nipped in to pull one back.
Thornton opened with another 180 in the next but again Anderson held his concentration together to take out 121 and break back, however Thornton's superior scoring set up a shot at the bull which he duly took out.
A seventh 180 for the red-hot Thornton set up the seventh leg for a 5-2 lead, Anderson blowing three arrows at tops in the process.
Anderson narrowly failed to check out 124 and Thornton made him pay, nailing bullseye again for an 86 'out', and the game was up as early as the ninth leg as Thornton predictably took out double two after Anderson had once again missed darts at doubles.
Wes Newton came out a surprise 7-2 victor against Adrian Lewis. Newton quickly built up a 3-0 lead before 'Jackpot' finally held courtesy of five consecutive treble-20s and a double 10 finish.
The final game of the night saw Raymond van Barneveld see off Australian Simon Whitlock 7-4, despite blowing an early 4-1 lead.
But 'The Warrior' wasn't for stopping and his heavier scoring and clinical finishing soon saw him build a 5-2 lead as Lewis simply failed to come alive.
Another break of throw from 78 took him to the magic six and a shell-shocked Lewis couldn't live with a rampant Newton who wrapped it up in the next with more heavy scoring.
Raymond van Barneveld won the closing match 7-4 against Simon Whitlock, who, like Taylor, remains winless.
Barney moved 4-1 ahead as Whitlock once again struggled to find his rhythm, but the Aussie clawed his way back level after the Dutchman's inconsistencies resurfaced.
Van Barneveld stopped the rot with a 98 checkout to move ahead once more and then made it 6-4 with tops, and it was quickly over when he hit tops again to make it two wins from three in Premier League.