Not enough Power to short circuit The Machine in Darts Premier League Week 4

Ahead of last night’s Premier League darts from Exeter, Phil Taylor warned of the threat posed by James Wade and was taking nothing for granted.

Were they just platitudes given how the odds were stacked in Phil’s favour, based on recent history? It seems not.

  • Exeter’s Westpoint Arena was the stage for The Power’s record 117.35 match average for the PDC Premier League, which he clocked up against Aussie darter Simon Whitlock last year
  • It was James Wade who Phil “The Power” Taylor famously clocked up two nine-darters against in the final of this competition back in 2010
  • James Wade had not beaten Phil in thirteen previous attempts – how unlucky is that?

So, could there be any other result than a landslide Taylor victory on the cards? Certainly, the bookies didn’t seem to think so.

James “The Machine” Wade, on the other hand, had other ideas…

Premier League Darts in Edinburgh

Premier League Darts (Credit: robbie_shade/Flickr/CC2.0)

Wade wins the darts from Taylor to throw first

The first sign of an upset came when Wade won the throw from Taylor, crucial in a best of 12 match such as the short format of the PDC Premier League.

Winning the bull’s crucial whenever you’re up against sixteen-time champion of the world, Phil Taylor, to be fair.

However, order looked to have been restored in this nip and tuck match as, come the eleventh leg, Taylor had broken Wade, was 6-4 up and needed only one of the last two legs to take both points.

As recently as last season, that would have been enough to see Taylor through, Wade’s confidence what it was. But last night was different.

At no point did Wade start looking uncomfortably around him, start looking disinterested or show any of the signs of the lack of confidence that has plagued him of late.

The Machine was never out of the match all of the way through, only ever being 2 legs behind and that was enough to retain his interest.

It was the look of steely determination on his face as he broke Taylor back in the twelfth and final leg to secure a 6-6 draw – and a crucial point that sees him just one behind the leaders – that tells you how far down the road James has come and how close he is to being a genuine contender for this title again in 2013.

Results elsewhere didn’t do the Power any favours

Debutant Robert Thornton yet again showed his class and has finally silenced any doubters of the league’s extension to accommodate ten players instead of eight this season.

The Thorn is one of those darters who may not be here without the league’s expansion; it would be one hell of a miscarriage of justice based on his opening form.

Last night, he was up against fellow Scot Gary Anderson who, on his day, can out score any darter on the planet.

Gary didn’t get a look in, however, as The Thorn ripped The Flying Scotsman to pieces with a 7-2 victory to join the Power at the top of the table on 6 points.

Michael Van Gerwen remains undefeated and joins The Thorn and The Power on 6 points after he too romped home 7-2, this match against the third Stokie in this year’s Premier League, Andy “The Hammer” Hamilton.

MVG’s PDC World Title final disappointment, losing eventually to Taylor, looks well and truly past the young Dutch star.

Five 180’s in the match saw him coast to his second straight win after opening the campaign with two draws.

And this despite The Hammer starting with a 180 of his own and taking the first leg of last night’s match.

Fellow Dutchman Barney produced an absolutely solid display against Whitlock, who must be sick to the death of Exeter.

Unbelievably, The Wizard hit six 180s in ten legs of darts against Raymond Van Barneveld but was still thrashed 7-3 by the big Dutchman.

RVB joins fellow countryman Van Gerwen and The Power and The Thorn on 6 points for a four-way tie at the top of the PDC Premier League after week 4.

No Jackpot for Lewis, downed by The Warrior

Down at the other end of the table, it was a match between Wes Newton and former World Champ Adrian Lewis, neither of whom had managed a win in the first three weeks of this year’s competition.

It was Lewis who looked favourite after breaking Newton in the first leg, both men missing 4 darts at doubles at the end of a nervous opener.

Newton broke straight back in the second, a leg that proved to be the first in an eventually-decisive four-leg-streak for The Warrior

Wes had seemingly turned the match around to 4-1 in his favour at a canter, with no response whatsoever from an out of sorts Jackpot.

It took a 117 checkout from Lewis in the sixth to stop the rot, but it proved only a temporary relief for the Stokie.

Newton took the next two legs to forge 6-2 ahead and move within one of his first ever PDC Premier League victory.

Lewis took the ninth after Newton made a hash of his finish, but the man from Fleetwood made no such mistake in the tenth to run out 7-3 victor, leaving Lewis yet to pick up a point so far this year.

Week 5 fixtures, PDC Darts Premier League

I wouldn’t fancy Lewis’ chances of getting off the mark next week in Nottingham, either.

Jackpot takes on Van Gerwen in a fixture list that, from the outside looking in, only contains one match that could go either way.

The rest are stone-wall bankers; my favourites to win each match I’ve listed first in the week 5 fixtures, below:

  • Barney, or RVB as he’s becoming more popularly known, takes on Andy “The Hammer” Hamilton
  • Mighty Mike Van Gerwen is up against Jackpot Lewis, as we said
  • Simon Whitlock should leapfrog Wes Newton with a win – only his second this season, despite some incredible darts
  • The Power should do the biz against a lacklustre Gary Anderson
  • Thornton v Wade is the game for me that could upset a few accumulators

Wade proved in coming from two legs down to snatch a point against Taylor last night that on his day he’s man and machine enough for anyone.

The form books will all point to Thornton continuing his unbeaten start to the season.

If you’re looking for a bit of value next week, I Sherwood put a few quid on Wade in Nottingham at week 5 of this year’s McCoys PDC Dart Premier League.

Join us again next Friday for a round up of week five of the PDC Premier League; in the meantime, here’s the table after Week 4 from the Westpoint Arena in Exeter:

PDC Premier League Table Week 4

PDC Premier League Table Week 4 (SKY Sports Darts)

McCoys darts Premier League round up, round one, Belfast

With the 2013 PDC World Darts Championship final still fresh in everyone’s minds, Taylor versus Van Gerwen was perhaps a fitting fixture for the first round of this year’s Premier League.

The two finalists of the inaugural Sid Waddell Trophy, as the PDC Worlds will now be known, served up a treat for the 8,000 fans who’d headed to Belfast’s Odyssey Arena to see the new-look Premier League bull off.

MVG showed everyone just why he’s the darter the PDC players have least looked forward to being drawn against this last six months, too.

The young Dutch superstar, still only 23 and strongly fancied to take over from The Power as long-term world number 1, twice held a two-leg advantage (3-1 & 6-4) over the 16-time champion of the world.

Van Gerwen misses 5 darts for victory over Taylor

Indeed, had it not been for sloppy finishing in the 11th leg, Van Gerwen would have powered to both points on his Premier League debut.  But 5 missed darts at the doubles let Taylor back in against the throw.

It was perhaps fitting that Taylor closed out the match with a 104 finish in the twelfth leg to share the points from the 6-all thriller, both darters having gone close to nine-darters over the course of the top-of-the-bill match.

As you’d expect, Mighty Mike was gutted to have thrown away victory and get a little revenge for the Worlds final last month.  Conversely, Taylor was happy to have secured the point having seen five match darts from his opponent fail to hit the mark.

In the other games, comebacks were also prevalent features of proceedings.  Like MVG, Flying Scot Gary Anderson twice held a two-leg advantage over Raymond Van Barneveld, winning the first two legs without response an the fourth.

But Anderson could only chalk up one more leg as RVB won six out of the next seven to run out 7-4 winner.

Another Premier League debutante  Robert Thornton, continued his fine run of form on the PDC circuit.

The Thorn raced into a 5-1 lead over The Hammer, who eventually put up a fight of his own.  But The Torn was strong enough to regain the momentum and close out victory 7-5.

English: James Wade the darts player

James Wade, The Machine
(Wikipedia, CC2.0 Sharealike)

James Wade too strong for Warrior Wes

James Wade, a former winner of this event, faced the third of the Premier League’s new boys, Wes Newton.

Wes has forced his way into the top 6 of the world with a steady run over the last two years, which has seen the Fleetwood darter dominant on the floor events.

But James Wade’s Premier League experience and, if you believe it, the bespoke training he put in in anticipation of the first round of this year’s premier darts competition, saw him notch up a 7-4 victory.

The game between Simon Whitlock and Adrian Lewis was very much a case of ‘as you were, gentlemen.”

Whitlock reminded us of his ability to check out stunning three-figure, three-dart combos.  The Australian took out 121 and 108 on his way to a 7-3 over the former PDC World Champ.

Lewis was once again found to be struggling with his form, much as he was last weekend in Hamburg when he and Phil Taylor retained the Darts World Cup.

To me, Lewis’ mind seems to be on other things, with darts very much a second best in his order of priorities.

This was typified when he hit a 180 to set himself up with a 60 finish, then bust the score on the next dart finding the treble 20 instead of the single.

Memories of Jocky v Eric as McCoys Premier League heads to Scotland

And it will certainly be no easier for Lewis, or any of the other Stokies, Wes or Wade.

The Premier League heads up to Aberdeen next Thursday where English darters always face a hostile reception.  Thank Eric Bristow and the late, great Jocky Wilson for setting that precedent in the drinking, smoking days of the News of the World darts championship.

Scots Anderson and Thornton, Dutch stars RVB and MVG and Aussie, Whitlock will all be looking to capitalise on the partisan AECC crowd in round two of fourteen of this year’s McCoy’s Darts Premier League.

Join us next week for a round-up of all of the Valentine’s Day action where there’ll be no love lost in The Highlands between the Scots crowd and English darters.