Results, review and highlights from the Unibet Premier League Darts in Nottingham, as Michael van Gerwen crushed the previously unbeaten Gerwyn Price.
Scroll down for highlights, results and the updated table
Pumped up MVG deflates Price
Michael van Gerwen silenced his doubters with a crushing 7-2 victory over the previously unbeaten Gerwyn Price - but only after a painfully slow start from both players in Nottingham.
Despite the hype surrounding this eagerly-anticipated showdown, neither gave much for the fans to shout about with startlingly low averages in the 70s and 80s early on only for the defending champion to bring the match alive with a 132 checkout on the bullseye to complete a 12-darter that put him 5-2 ahead.
This was sandwiched between two 13-darters as van Gerwen found his range while he finished the job in 14 to bring his average up to 96.98, which was still well below par by his usual standards.
Price, who averaged 92.95, hit two more maximums with four but they all came after he'd fallen 4-2 down and he couldn't back them up on the doubles, missing seven of his nine attempts overall.
The Grand Slam of Darts champion, who has won two Players Championship events this season and also reached the UK Open semi-finals, looked subdued throughout the contest as he slumped to a 14th defeat out of 14 against MVG.
The world champion's victory sees him bounce back from last week's dropped points in an unforgettable 6-6 draw with John Henderson that followed an early exit at the UK Open and a first Premier League defeat of the season to James Wade.
Van Gerwen told www.pdc.tv: "The main thing tonight was to get back to winning ways, so I'm happy with that even though the performance wasn't fantastic. For some reason tonight both Gerwyn and myself struggled to play our best game which is a shame but I got better towards the end of the game and ended up winning comfortably.
"Of course I like to be top of the league and I know I have to work hard to stay there. I have to be at my best every week now to keep my record of topping the league phase every year since my debut season."
Voltage surges to the top
Rob Cross moved to the top of the Premier League table as he eased to a comprehensive 7-3 victory over rock-bottom Raymond van Barneveld.
The in-form Voltage, who was also runner-up at the recent UK Open, made it three wins on the spin to take his tally to nine points from his six games while this was also the fifth time he's posted an average above 100.
Cross has lost just seven legs in his last three games but it would have only been six had he not spurned four match darts in the ninth leg of a contest he'd averaged above 110 for long periods of.
Sloppy finishing in the last leg, which he took 18 darts to win, meant he finished with a mark of 102.85 but it was still a confidence-boosting display which included three 180s (one more than Barney) and a match high checkout of 129.
The 2018 world champion ended up with a pretty poor checkout percentage of 30% and although Barney's was ever so slightly better, the Dutchman only earned nine attempts at doubles.
Winless Van Barneveld, who has only managed two draws so far in his farewell Premier League season, was showing signs of fighting spirit at 2-2 but he was made to pay for two missed chances at tops before Cross started to motor clear with an 81 checkout that sealed a 12-darter.
The five-time world champion averaged just 92.27, which is about his standard this season, and unless he can change his fortunes drastically then he'll be the player relegated on Judgement Night.
Cross said: "I'm happy with the win but I think I got a bit complacent when I got in front, and started to mess around a bit at the end. I'm really enjoying my darts at the moment, my family life is brilliant, the routine is there and I'm feeling more comfortable every week.
"As long as I'm feeling happy in myself I know the results will come. Now I want to raise the bar and keep on pushing myself and go all the way in this Premier League."
Suljovic knocks Wade off his perch
James Wade lost his grip on top spot in the Premier League as Mensur Suljovic produced his best performances of the season to defeat him 7-3 in Nottingham.
The Machine had beaten Michael van Gerwen a fortnight ago before recording the 10th whitewash in the tournament's history against Daryl Gurney last week to move to the summit.
But he was outplayed by the impressive Austrian, who averaged 101.38, fired six 180s and almost pinned 50% of his 14 attempts at doubles.
Suljovic's match high checkout of 109 in the six leg saw him move into a 4-2 lead although Wade kept his hopes alive with an impressive 11-dart leg, which was completed by a finish from 76.
Wade averaged 97.05 and hit three 180s but the lethal finishing we saw from him against Gurney deserted him this week, missing eight of his 11 attempts.
Gurney rescues precious point
Daryl Gurney rescued a draw from the jaws of defeat against Peter Wright to end a dismal run of form.
The Northern Irishman has endured a tough time at the oche in recent weeks, with 7-1 and 7-0 Premier League defeats to Rob Cross and James Wade respectively coming either side of an early UK Open exit, while his performances on the ProTour haven't been much to shout about either.
Gurney was on course for another defeat when the superior Snakebite followed up a 90 checkout that completed an 11-darter with another finish from the same score - this time on the bullseye - to move 6-3 up and guarantee himself a point.
But the 2018 Players Championship Finals winner showed the same kind of fight that helped him claim that second televised title at the end of last year by reeling off three successive legs in 13, 14 and 14 darts for a crucial draw despite averaging around eight points lower than Wright's 102.91.
Gurney hit two more 180s with four but only hit six of his 20 attempts at doubles compared with his opponent managing six from 12.
Snakebite, who made the highest checkout of 91 for an 11-darter in the fifth leg, will rue a missed match dart at tops when leading 6-4 although he'll take some consolation from the fact his point takes him into the top four.
Smith has antidote to deal with Asp
Michael Smith claimed a much-needed victory to keep in touch with the top four as he defeated this week's 'Contender' Nathan Aspinall 7-2 in the opening match of the night.
In a World Championship semi-final rematch, Smith responded to the pressure by blasting out of the blocks and moved 4-0 up thanks to checkouts of 90 and 81 although his job was made easier by a nervy start from Premier League debutant Aspinall, who was acting as this week's replacement for Gary Anderson.
The Asp finally got on the board to end any fears of an embarrassing whitewash and then landed a stunning 158 checkout after Bully Boy had made one from 112.
The Stockport thrower, who defied pre-tournament odds of 125/1 to win his maiden televised title earlier this month, fell 6-2 behind before his three missed darts at tops was punished by Smith's match-winning 127 checkout.
Smith averaged 93.99 compared to Aspinall's 88.35, hit the same amount of 180s with one and pinned seven of his 16 darts at doubles. His opponent missed 13 of his attempts.
He said: "I was trying so hard out there to make sure I wasn't the first player to be beaten by one of the Contenders. I don't think I played well but the only thing that matters is getting the two points to keep me clear of the relegation zone.
"My goal is to make sure I get past Judgement Night and then make a real push towards the top four and maybe go one better than last year."
2019 Premier League Darts Table
- Cross P 6 W 4 D 1 L 1 LegD +12 Pts 9
- Van Gerwen P 6 W 4 D 1 L 1 LegD +12 Pts 9
- Wade P 6 W 3 D 1 L 2 LegD +7 Pts 7
- Wright P 6 W 2 D 3 L 1 LegD +3 Pts 7
- Price P 6 W 2 D 3 L 1 LegD +2 Pts 7
- Suljovic P 6 W 2 D 2 L 2 LegD -1 Pts 6
- Smith P 6 W 2 D 1 L 3 LegD 0 Pts 5
- Gurney P 6 W 2 D 1 L 3 LegD -10 Pts 5
- Van Barneveld P 6 W 0 D 2 L 4 LegD -14 Pts 2
Night five results & next week's fixtures
- Click here for Sky Bet odds
- CLICK HERE FOR FULL SEASON FIXTURES & RESULTS
- WEEKLY GUEST PLAYERS IN BOLD
- Nathan Aspinall 2-7 Michael Smith
- James Wade 3-7 Mensur Suljovic
- Rob Cross 7-3 Raymond van Barneveld
- Gerwyn Price 2-7 Michael van Gerwen
- Peter Wright 6-6 Daryl Gurney
Night Seven - Thursday March 21
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)
- Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross
- James Wade v Peter Wright
- Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney
- Michael Smith v Mensur Suljovic
- Max Hopp v Raymond van Barneveld
Tickets: 030 20 60 70 88 99 (Ger) or click here