Results, review and highlights from Unibet Premier League Darts night 15 in Sheffield, as Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price came to blows after a heated draw.
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Gurney and Price come to blows
Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price had to be separated by security on the oche after a heated 7-7 draw in their crunch Unibet Premier League clash in Sheffield on Thursday night.
Stakes and emotions were high as both players sought a crucial victory in the race to reach the end-of-season play-offs in a fortnight and for long periods it looked like it was the pumped up Iceman who would triumph.
However, Price let a 6-3 lead slip as Gurney brought it back to 6-6 only for a stunning double-double finish (D18, D20) to secure him point, prompting more huge trademark celebrations.
The intense drama wasn't done yet as the furious Northern Irishman, who completed a Premier League double over Michael van Gerwen last Thursday, nicked the final leg of the match to earn a point before letting his feelings known in no uncertain terms.
The players exchanged heated words before security got involved to prevent the argy-bargy becoming more serious and afterwards Price said he felt some players might be trying to get him banned.
The Welshman is, of course, still on a three-month suspended sentence for his part in his controversial yet triumphant Grand Slam of Darts run which culminated in 'that' final victory over Gary Anderson.
He told Unibet: "To be honest I don’t understand what happened, why it happened. He reckons that I'm talking, if I want to gee myself up, I gee myself up, I wouldn't do it when he’s throwing.
"But each to their own, I'm accused of a lot of things. They know that I’m on, sort of, curfew and I've got a month or two left. I don’t know if they’re trying to get me banned or whatever, but it ain’t going to work.
"I shook his hand and I didn’t think there was anything in it. To be honest with you I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t win, but if I lost that game I was out and I drew so I’m still in and I’ve got a fighting chance next week so that’s all I’m happy about."
It's the latest controversy surrounding the Welshman after he refused to shake Wade's hand following his defeat last Thursday.
As far as this encounter was concerned, Price knew defeat would end his chances of reaching Finals Night at the O2 but didn't look fazed by the pressure as he stormed into 3-1 and 4-2 leads.
Players Championship Finals winner Gurney, who is fifth in the table, couldn't really afford a loss either and although a superb 10-darter helped him pull a leg back, he lost the next two as Price found another gear.
With the finishing line in sight, the former rugby player spurned four darts at double over the next three legs and the super clinical Gurney punished him, levelling the match with a 95 finish.
Despite momentum and the pressure being against him, Price showed nerves of steel to take out 96 that featured double 18 and double top to secure a point but he missed two 13s for a match-winning attempt at 146 as Gurney stepped in to finish from 64.
Price averaged 96.93 compared to Gurney's 94.71 and hit two more maximums with four, but the Northern Irishman's doubling was far superior to his 50% checkout percentage, pinning seven from nine attempts.
Next week sixth-placed Price plays Peter Wright while Gurney takes on Michael Smith - but they'll both need to hope Rob Cross and Michael van Gerwen do them both a favour by defeating James Wade and Mensur Suljovic respectively.
High Voltage in Sheffield
Rob Cross guaranteed his Premier League Darts play-off spot with an impressive 8-4 victory over Mensur Suljovic that also maintains his grip at the top of the table with one round of fixtures remaining.
Should Voltage now defeat James Wade in his final match in Leeds next Thursday then he'll become only the third player in the 15-year history of the tournament to finish the regular season at the summit behind Phil Taylor (2005-2012) and Michael van Gerwen (2013-2018).
An incredible achievement in what is just his second Premier League campaign having reached the semi-finals after finishing fourth on his debut back last year.
As for this latest victory, Cross recorded his 10th 100+ average of the Premier League season with a park of 102.66 although he was way up at 120 in the early stages thanks to a blistering start which saw him four 180s in the opening three legs which he won in 15, 11 and 13 darts.
Suljovic, desperate for a victory in the race to reach Finals Night at the O2 in a fortnight, showed fighting spirit to cut the deficit to 4-2 only for Cross to produce a quality 126 checkout on the bullseye before taking the next for a 6-2 advantage.
The next two legs were shared before the Austrian's 124 checkout kept his slim hopes of a point alive at 7-4 down but the Hastings man sealed his victory with a 15-darter that included back-to-back 180s to take his maximum tally to seven.
Cross hit eight of his 17 attempts at doubles and although Suljovic, who hit two 180s and averaged 98.59, spurned only three of his seven, his scoring power just couldn't keep with the relentless Voltage.
Cross told www.pdc.tv: "It feels absolutely brilliant. Getting into the Play-Offs is the aim for everyone at the start of the season so I'm delighted.
"I'm loving it at the moment and it's nice to win again. I started the game well but I made myself a bit edgy, and then I pulled myself together and got the win.
"I really enjoyed it and I need to focus on myself now and getting ready for the Play-Offs now."
Van Gerwen keeps top spot in sight
Michael van Gerwen remains just a point behind Rob Cross in his quest to top the table for a seventh successive season thanks to a devastating 8-1 triumph over Peter Wright.
The four-time champion, who is also bidding to lift the trophy for the fourth year in a row, averaged a highly-impressive average of 110.85 even though he didn't hit a single 180 in the match and pinned eight of his 11 attempts at doubles.
Van Gerwen had to win to keep the race for top spot alive going into next week's final round of fixtures and he made a supreme start with an 11-darter and two back-to-back 100+ checkouts of 102 and 105 (bullseye, 15, double top!) to go 3-0 up.
Wright wasn't playing badly and an 11-darter, completed by an 81 checkout, got him a leg on the board although that would be his only one.
Despite hitting four 180s and averaging 102.29, Snakebite managed just three attempts at doubles in the match but that was no surprise considering MVG was 100% on his doubles when leading 7-1.
A confident MVG, who won a third straight European Tour title on Sunday, spurned three darts at the outer ring in the final leg but it mattered little as he quickly completed the rout on double 10.
The world champion must now defeat Mensur Suljovic in his final game in Leeds if he's to stand a chance of maintaining his 100% record of always topping the regular season table since his debut in 2013 and hope Rob Cross slips up against James Wade.
"The main thing today was qualifying - I had to play well and I'm glad I did," said Van Gerwen. "I think I can be happy with this display - I didn't do much wrong. Peter played well and pushed me, and we got the best out of each other.
"I think I played a good game. I believe in my ability and always believe I will make the Play-Offs, but it would mean a lot if I can finish top too.
"I know what it takes but I can only blame myself for being in this position because I've lost too many points. I have to put everything together next week and make sure I'm putting pressure on Rob."
Wade blows big chance after big finish
James Wade missed the chance to all but seal his first Premier League Darts Play-Off spot since 2013 as Michael Smith won the last two legs to earn a 7-7 draw in Sheffield.
The Machine headed into the night's opening fixture sitting third in the table and looked on course to seal a crucial victory when a superb 161 checkout on the bullseye put him 7-5 in front against an opponent who had nothing to play for other than pride.
However he failed to get down to a finish in either of the next two legs, with Smith picking up a consolation point thanks to a 13-darter and a scrappy one in 17.
Wade, who plays Rob Cross in his last regular season fixture in Leeds next Thursday, averaged a disappointing 92.80 and apart from his two 100+ checkouts, his finishing percentage of 33% was considerably down on what he's consistently managed during this impressive season so far.
Bully Boy had threatened a minor upset when he reminded everyone of his true talents with 11 and 12 dart legs - completed by 94 and 128 checkouts respectively - helped him move into a 4-2 lead but, in keeping with the rest of his campaign, sloppy doubling crept and Wade punished him.
Smith averaged 95.77 and converted just seven of his 26 darts at doubles while both players managed three 180s apiece.
"It's a frustrating result," said Wade. "I got a point, which I uess is quite important at this stage of the season, but I'm not happy with how I played.
"Michael played better than me but I was fortunate he didn't hit his doubles."
2019 Premier League Darts Table
- Cross P 15 W 10 D 2 L 3 LegD +28 Pts 22
- Van Gerwen P 15 W 9 D 3 L 3 LegD +37 Pts 21
- Wade P 15 W 6 D 6 L 3 LegD +18 Pts 18
- Suljovic P 15 W 7 D 3 L 5 LegD +2 Pts 17
- Gurney P 15 W 7 D 3 L 5 LegD +2 Pts 17
- Price P 15 W 5 D 6 L 4 LegD +1 Pts 16
- Smith P 15 W 3 D 4 L 8 LegD -21 Pts 10
- Wright P 15 W 2 D 5 L 8 LegD -27 Pts 9
- Relegated: Van Barneveld P 9 W 1 D 2 L 6 LegD -22 Pts 4
Night 15 results and remaining fixtures
Night 15 - Thursday May 9
The FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield
- Michael Smith 7-7 James Wade
- Mensur Suljovic 4-8 Rob Cross
- Daryl Gurney 7-7 Gerwyn Price
- Michael van Gerwen 8-1 Peter Wright
Night 16 - Thursday May 16
First Direct Arena, Leeds
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)
- Gerwyn Price v Peter Wright
- James Wade v Rob Cross
- Michael van Gerwen v Mensur Suljovic
- Daryl Gurney v Michael Smith
Tickets: 0844 248 1585 or click here
Play-Offs - Thursday May 23
The O2, London
TV Channel: Sky Sports (1900 GMT)
- Two semi-finals and a final
Tickets: 0844 856 0202 or click here