Michael van Gerwen defeats Gerwyn Price in Premier League Darts classic

Michael van Gerwen defeated Gerwyn Price for the second time in a week as the biggest rivalry in world darts didn’t disappoint in Liverpool on Thursday night.

With three games remaining before the ninth-placed player is eliminated from the Premier League, there is uncertainly as to whether the tournament will finish on time following a statement from the PDC announcing the postponement of the two nights scheduled for Rotterdam on March 25-26.

Darts put a smile back on people’s faces at the M&S Bank Arena as Glen Durrant stayed top thanks to victory over Daryl Gurney, while Peter Wright averaged just over a ton to make it three wins in four weeks following a fine win against Michael Smith.

Stephen Bunting, who finished eighth in 2015, grabbed a share of the spoils on his Liverpool homecoming against Rob Cross. And Nathan Aspinall produced a top-quality 107.64 average as he battled back from 5-1 down to grab a draw against Gary Anderson.

Night Six Results: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool

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MVG and Price play out a classic

Van Gerwen and Price met in a huge clash in Liverpool, with the pair having met in the final of the UK Open on Sunday in a contest which was edged by the Dutchman.

Price came up on stage carrying a tendon injury on his left wrist, but it didn’t trouble his throwing action as they went at it hammers and tongs from the outset.

They shared the opening six legs of an absorbing tungsten showdown and after Van Gerwen left D18 for a chance of a break, Price denied him the opportunity with a blistering 157 finish. The world No 1 responded in the next leg with an equally audacious 123 checkout to make it 4-4.

MVG failed with three chances at 12 allowing the ‘Iceman’ to hit D10 for a 5-4 advantage. But then the Dutch ace sunk a fine two-dart 78 combination finish before breaking Price for a 6-5 lead thanks to an 81 checkout. And he wrapped up a stunning 7-5 win by pinning D8, ending with a brilliant 106.63 average.

Rampant Wright too good for Smith

St Helens’ Smith got the chance to star in his local arena, opening the night against Wright.

A brace of 14-dart legs gave the crowd something to cheer before Snakey moved ahead against the darts thanks to D14. He nailed tops for a 13-darter and a 3-1 lead before the world champion broke for the second time in the next leg by landing D8 with his last dart in hand.

Smith hit a nine-darter against Gurney a fortnight ago in Dublin before seeing off Van Gerwen in Exeter, but it wasn’t looking good for the 2018 finalist, who had won three successive Premier League matches heading into this contest.

Wright, who turned 50 a couple of days ago, soon made it 6-2, but a lapse in concentration allowed ‘Bully Boy’ a way back into the contest by winning the next two legs. Wright, though, wrapped up a 7-4 victory with a fantastic 10-dart leg to move onto seven points.

Duzza heaps more misery on Gurney

Northern Irish ace Gurney picked up a second draw of the Premier League season last week in Exeter, before enjoying a confidence-boosting run to the semi-finals of the UK Open over the weekend.

And he opened the clash with a spectacular 144 checkout, but table-topper Durrant responded with a 13-darter before moving ahead with an 80 finish against the darts. He consolidated the break with D5 before landing a stunning 127 on the bullseye for a 4-1 advantage.

The pair traded the next four legs – all against the darts. Duzza’s roof-raising 88 on the bullseye for 6-3 handed him a point at the very least. Gurney forced a last-leg decider after a rare hold of throw, although Durrant held his nerve to nail tops for maximum points and make it four wins out of six.

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Bunting and Cross share the spoils

Luke Humphries became the first Challenger to win on the Premier League stage by defeating Gary Anderson in Exeter, and St Helens’ Bunting is hoping to follow suit in front of his home appearance.

He made an excellent start too after an early break of throw put him in control before the former Premier League player pinned tops for a second break of throw and a comfortable 4-1 lead.

Cross took victory when the pair met in the UK Open on Saturday, continuing his recent return to form after first-game exits at the World Championship and The Masters and he responded with a 13-dart break before holding in the next with D16.

The Hastings thrower levelled at 4-4 after pinning tops and he moved in front with a clinical 119 checkout. Bunting pinned D10 for 5-5. Cross, the former world champion, then nailed D16 with his last dart in hand but a missed match dart at D18 proved costly as ‘The Bullet’ found D16 for a well-deserved draw.

Asp holds Ando in quality draw

Two-time Premier League champion Anderson went up against US Masters winner Aspinall and after the first two legs went with throw, the Scot reeled off the next four legs, including a superb 87 finish for a 5-1 lead.

But ‘The Asp’ turned it around by winning the next four legs with some world class darts to make it level-pegging at 5-5. Anderson went ahead with a fine 95 checkout, but Aspinall grabbed a 6-6 draw after an 88 finish in a thoroughly entertaining match.

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