Category Archives: Other Sports

Premier League Darts Week 2 Preview

With the opening week been and gone all attention turns to Nottingham. While the favourites will be looking to add to good starts, it is perhaps a more crucial week for those who are yet to get off the mark.
It has been shown in recent years that players who start with two/three losses struggle to recover in what can be a tormenting campaign for those who are struggling.

A case could be made for this being the case for all the men that lost on the opening night.

In his second time in the competition Jelle Klaasen,, faces one of the two players in the world who look nearly unstoppable, Gary Anderson. Klaasen is a player capable of remarkable moments, but he looked outclassed last week by Peter Wright. Anderson played fantastically in his draw with Michael Van Gerwen and this all leads to Klaasen looking down the barrel of zero points after week two.

Like Klaasen, Belgium’s Kym Huybrechts returned to the competition last week, with a lose in a tight match with James Wade. He will look back on it as a missed opportunity, but will have a chance against Raymond Van Barneveld in week two? Barney struggled early on against Adrian Lewis, but fought back in spectacular fashion to win after Aidy missed darts for a point. It’s a very hard game to call, but it is one Huybrechts badly needs something from.

The opening game of the night see’s the other two men who lost in Newcastle meet, Lewis and Dave Chisnall. For both it is huge and in my opinion if is the most important game of the night. Lewis should have got something against Barney from a winning position and needs to pick up results fast if he is to improve on his overall poor record in the Premier League. Chisnall started his 2015 Premier League on fire and ended up finishing second after the league stage, whereas last year he was in the bottom two. Which will it be this year? Neither player is in much form recently, but I give it just to Chizzy, just.

Wade did exactly what he does best last week, grind out a win without a huge average. However, this week he faces a man with a point to prove, Phil Taylor. Having announced his retirement at the end of the year, he will want to go out on a high and he put in a convincing display against Chisnall last week. I think Taylor will be too strong for the Machine, but it will be close.

The main event of the night though is Wright against Van Gerwen. Wright will be there or thereabouts come the final week, while MVG will definitely be in the top four. After winning on the Tyne last week, Wright had a superb weekend at the UK Open Qualifiers in Wigan winning two of the three tournaments and will go into the clash high on confidence especially after beating Van Gerwen. However, MVG hasn’t lost on TV for months and I expect him to step up his game on the big stage.


Lewis 4-7 Chisnall

Wade 5-7 Taylor

Klaasen 2-7 Anderson

Wright 4-7 Van Gerwen

Huybrechts 5-7 Barneveld


Premier League Darts Week 1 Review

The opening night of the Premier league darts brought everything a darts fan could have wanted drama, excitement and shocks. With ten of the best players in the world competing weekly against each other some are bound to have good weeks and bad weeks and the opening week will be most likely remembered for the Taylor v Van Gerwen match. In five matches we saw five 99+ averages and no draws on a fantastic night in Liverpool.

Dave Chisnall 7 – 5 Robert Thornton

The night started with Dave Chisnall making his Premier league Debut against Robert Thornton, who was back for his second season in the league. A topsy tervy match ultimately led to Chisnall picking up his first win which will do  his confidence the world of good. Thornton had chances at doubles in numerous legs including on Chisnall’s throw, including the crucial 11th leg with the score at 5-5. Chizzy would hold though and punish the thorn to break in the final leg and  win the match 7-5. In a game both players will have eyed up as a winnable one, Chisnall picked up the victory which even after week one could go a long way to helping him avoid relegation.

Peter Wright 7-3 Wes Newton

In a similar match to the opener of the night, both Wright and Newton were looking to pick up a victory, Wright on his debut and Newton to forget about his last Premier League campaign. Peter Wright proved too strong for the warrior as he carried on from where he left off at the Worlds. The fan favourite came out of the gates fast and never looked back, despite Newton missing doubles at crucial times in the match. One thing is clear from this Snakebite will enjoy this competition, the fans will embrace him and if he continues to perform like this you never know.

Raymond Van Barneveld 7-2 Gary Anderson

Well I have already been proved wrong, I thought Barney would struggle this year, but on the opening night he has already suggested otherwise. This was a display from Barney back to his best, Anderson did not even play badly, averaging 100, but was blown away by the Dutchman. For the first few legs Barney was averaging a staggering 120+ and even though this dipped in the last few legs he still managed to average 108. I still think Anderson will have a good campaign, but if Barney can keep this form up he will challenge.

Michael Van Gerwen 7 -0 Phil Taylor

One of the most incredible score lines in darts history. Phil Taylor is a man who over the years has whitewashed players of all standards, but last night he himself was whitewashed in quite remarkable fashion. Taylor was nowhere near his best, but still averaged 99, Van Gerwen was just too strong. Taylor will get better with match practice with his new darts and he could have easily won a few legs in the match, such as the final leg. Michael Van Gerwen though goes from strength to strength. A 109 average, which as he noted in his interview post game was better than his friend Van Barneveld’s, doesn’t tell half the story, he was clinical on the doubles and won the first five legs with his first five double attempts. Both these players will be in the top four in the league, but last night was a huge statement of intent by the new World Champion.

Adrian Lewis 7-1 Simon Whitlock

In the final match of the night Adrian Lewis showed what he is capable of against an out of sorts wizard.  For the first time in the premier league we nearly had back to back whitewashes, as Lewis raced into a 6-0 lead before Whitlock finally got a leg on the board. Lewis was back to his best and continued his form over recent months as he attempts to improve on his disappointing outing in the premier league last year.

Premier League Darts Preview


Tonight marks the start of the tenth Premier League Darts, an event which has risen in prestige to the second most converted title on the PDC calendar after the World Championships. Ten players will compete for the title in weekly events every Thursday from now till the finals night at the O2 in London at the end of May.   Last year I was fortunate enough to have a great night at the Newcastle leg of the tournament and I already can’t wait for it again this year.

In 2013 the event was expanded from eight to ten players, a format which sees all ten players meeting each other once over the first nine nights of darts, with the bottom two players then leaving the competition. The eight  remaining play each other again to try and secure a top four spot for finals night in London.

The line-up of players selected has brought much discussion among the darting world with James Wade the most notable name to miss out. The top four players on the PDC order of Merit automatically qualified, Michael Van Gerwen, Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock and Adrian Lewis. The PDC picked four wildcards, Dave Chisnall, Peter Wright, Wes Newton and Robert Thorton. With the final two picks coming from Sky Sports, Raymond Van Barenveld and Gary Anderson.

The controversial decision to leave Wade out was met with surprise as he has appeared in the previous six premier league competitions, including 2009 when he won the tournament. During PDC chairman Barry Hearns interview in which he announced the line-up, he stated Wade had been given a rest to enable him more time to gain treatment for his health issues, a statement that Wade strongly disagreed with. Elsewhere Andy Hamilton and Kim Huybrechts both also missed on a place.

The competition as always will favour the most consistent players over the fifteen weeks with the opening event coming from Liverpool. Below is my quick guide to the ten players in the event.

Michael Ver Gerwen – Premier League Champion Odds(Skybet) –  7/4

Prediction – Winner

The favourite for the 2014 premier league crown is last year’s champion Michael Van Gerwen. Having dominated the league last year, becoming the first player other than Phil Taylor to win the league stage, he went on to be crowned champion. Following his premier league win Michael went on to have a fantastic year, which was capped off when he claimed his first World Championship at the Ally Pally on New Year’s Day.   As well as winning the Premier League and World Championship, Van Gerwen also claimed the Players Championship after beating Phil Taylor in the final. Irrespective of where he finishes after the league phase, as long as he finishes in the top four he will be favourite to go on to the win the title and I fully expect him to do so. In the opening event of the year, the German Darts Championship he lost in the quarter finals to fellow Dutchman Jelle Klaasen, 6-5.

Phil Taylor –  Premier League Champion Odds –2/1

Prediction – Semi Finals

The Power will be hungry for success after seeing three notable titles slip from his grasp in the past year,  The Premier League and World Championship crowns,  as well as his world number one spot on the order of merit.  In the past week Phil has announced that he has switched his sponsor to Target Darts ending his long association with Unicorn. The five year deal will see Taylor remain on the circuit for the time being and at least for now quieten talk on his retirement. The switch means Taylor will not have had much practice with his latest set of Darts before he faces Van Gerwen on the opening night in Liverpool, but it still should be the highlight of the night.  Phil has proved over the years though that he is capable of coming back when people have doubted him and he is far from finished. In terms of tournaments won he still managed to win six titles since last year’s competition, including the UK Open,  the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and the Grand Slam. The World Matchplay final in which he beat Adrian Lewis must stand out as a highlight for any darts fan from 2013 with the quality on show in the match.

Taylor is too good a player to miss out on the semi’s and he will ease into the top four and a place at the O2.

Adrian Lewis – Premier League Champion Odds –4/1

Pediction –Runner Up

Adrian Lewis is considered by most to be the third best player in the world, behind Van Gerwen and Taylor.  Lewis had an up and down year in 2013, but finished strongly in the final few months. He first reached the World Match Play final beating Van Gerwen on route to the final before losing to Phil Taylor. He also performed well at the World Championships before being blown away in the semi-finals by Van Gerwen. The two time World Champion has always been comfortable on the big stage, as he has shown winning the world championship twice, but has yet to enjoy success  in the premier league competition.  In his six appearances so far he has only progressed from the group stages twice, in 2008 and 2011 when he lost to Gary Anderson in the final. In last year’s competition Lewis struggled throughout only winning four of his sixteen matches to finish eighth.

Lewis should be capable of following on from where he finished 2013 and show the potential everyone knows he has. My prediction is that he will come through the group stage in second or third and squeeze through to the final.

The Rest

Simon Whitlock goes into the tournament as the number three in the world and rightfully so, he is one of the most consistent players on the circuit and always performs at a similar level. While this has seen him fail to land a major tv title so far, he consistently reaches the later stages of tournaments and I think he will reach the semi-finals in the premier league. With a lot of players in the competition very good at their best, but inconsistent at the moment, I think he will be able to grab the fourth spot at the O2. He reached the final of this tournament two years ago before losing to Taylor and in the recent World Championships managed to reach the semi-finals, losing to Peter Wright.

Gary Anderson is my outside tip to do well in premier league and could push for a semi-final place having picked up a little bit of form in recent months. A good showing at the World Championships in which he should have beaten Van Gerwen, was followed by a tournament win in Germany last weekend which will hopefully give him the confidence he sometimes lacks.

Peter Wright should come into the Premier League flying high after being runner up in the World Championships and a character like his is made for this event in which he will get the crowd going in every venue. If he shows his form from the Worlds he like Anderson will challenge for a semi-final spot.

Raymond Van Barneveld had a very mixed bag in 2013 and he could turn up a different player every week, but one thing is for certain it will be great to see him in the league once again. No player is more popular amongst the fans and no matter if Barney is winning or losing he always has the crowd on his side week in week out. If he can re-create some of his form from last year’s premier league he may have a chance.

Robert Thorton is often overlooked, but like Simon Whitlock is a very consistent performer who has showed in the past that he can win a tv major. He performed well in this competition last year only just missing out on the top four.

Wes Newton is not in the top eight in the world for no reason and he has retained his place in the premier league despite a poor showing last year in which he finished second bottom. It will do his confidence the world of good to be back in it again and the experience from last year should give him a better shot this time around.

Finally Dave Chisnall makes his first appearance in a competition which he could have been involved in long before now. Chisnall is fifth on the order of merit rankings and was runner up to Taylor in the World Grand Prix last year. He will be wrote off by most in the completion, but with his scoring power he may be able to spring a surprise or two even if he will struggle to make the top four.