Michael van Gerwen thrashes Michael Smith to move clear at Premier League summit

Smith and Van Gerwen were doubling up on Night 13 and the pair enjoyed mixed fortunes.

Van Gerwen was firstly held to a draw by Daryl Gurney, while Smith thrashed Peter Wright to storm up to second place, before MVG hammered Bully Boy in the evening’s finale.

Rob Cross all but secured his play-off place after salvaging a point against Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson fell to a surprise defeat against Simon Whitlock.

Van Gerwen’s spot at the O2 Arena is now confirmed, while Smith and Cross are on track for the play-offs, needing just one point to cement their top-four status.

Anderson can secure his play-off berth with a victory over Van Barneveld in Birmingham next week, with Daryl Gurney neeeding to defeat Smith to keep his hopes alive.

Michael Smith 1-7 Michael van Gerwen

Van Gerwen moved three points clear at the top of the table with a comprehensive 7-1 win over second-placed Michael Smith.

‘The Green Machine’ followed up a visit of 171 by completing a 13-dart leg on tops and this set the tone. Smith struggled in the finishing department, missing his first seven darts at double as MVG stormed into a 6-0 lead.

‘Bully Boy’ appeared on the verge of a whitewash but capitalised on a poor leg from the Dutchman to open his account via double 10, but this only delayed the inevitable.

Smith missed double eight for a 136 skin-saver in the following leg, as Van Gerwen pinned the same target to return to winning ways with a 94.76 average.

This is the first time this season the world No 1 has averaged below a ton, but he needs just one win from his remaining two games to wrap up top spot for a sixth successive season.

Daryl Gurney 6-6 Michael van Gerwen

Earlier in the night, Gurney and Van Gerwen shared the spoils in a thrilling tussle. Van Gerwen averaged 104.96, fired in five maximums and converted 55 per cent of his attempts at double, but it was not enough to defeat ‘Super Chin’.

MVG stormed into a 2-0 lead with 130 and 74 finishes, but Gurney halved the deficit with a clinical 107 kill. ‘Mighty Mike’ then conjured up a sublime 121 finish on double 18, but Gurney reduced the arrears to 3-2 with a 13-dart hold.

The Northern Irishman levelled up proceedings with a clinical 76 finish, before taking out the same combination to secure the lead with a majestic 11-darter.

Van Gerwen was trailing despite averaging 111, but he rattled off the next two legs to lead 5-4. However, Gurney hit back in style, crashing in a spectacular 156 checkout to level.

The Dutchman had suffered back-to-back defeats in Rotterdam and Gurney completed a 13-dart hold to extend his winless run to three matches, but MVG fired in a fifth 180 and pegged double 16 to salvage a point in the decider.

Peter Wright 1-7 Michael Smith

It was a mixed night for Smith, but he produced his best performance of the campaign to all but secure his play-off spot with his second 7-1 success over Wright this season.

‘Bully Boy’ made a blistering start to the contest, firing in four maximums in as many legs as he registered legs of 12, 13 14 and 12 to lead 4-0, taking out a stunning 128 finish in the fourth leg.

Wright opened his account with a tidy 100 checkout, but Smith was in relentless mood. He moved 5-1 ahead via double six, before guaranteeing himself a point with a sumptuous 126 kill on the bull.

Snakebite had averaged around a ton for much of the contest but it was to no avail, as Smith effortlessly dispatched a clinical 69 finish on tops to prevail 7-1 with a 104.86 average and 70 per cent on the doubles.

Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Rob Cross

Van Barneveld’s hopes of qualifying for the play-offs are now over, after he was held to a 6-6 draw by world champion Rob Cross.

‘Voltage’ had won the pair’s previous four meetings and secured an early 2-1 lead after converting a 72 finish on the bull, before extending his cushion via double 16.

Van Barneveld reduced the arrears courtesy of a delightful 129 finish on the bull, but Cross took out 72 for the second time in the contest to regain his two-leg buffer, before the next two legs were shared.

Barney needed to win the final four legs to keep his play-off dreams alive and he reeled off three legs on the spin to lead 6-5, ending his losing run against the world champion.

Nevertheless, the five-time world champion’s hopes were curtailed by a clinical Cross, who closed out a nerveless 13-dart hold on double 16 in the decider, to all but confirm his spot at the O2 Arena.

Simon Whitlock 7-5 Gary Anderson

Simon Whitlock defied the form book by ending his run of four successive defeats with a brilliant 7-5 win over Gary Anderson.

‘The Wizard’ moved into an early 2-0 lead with tidy 66 and 88 finishes, but Anderson soon levelled. Whitlock then regained the lead via double 10, before following up successive 180s by dispatching an 82 kill for an 11-dart break.

Anderson hit back with a 14-darter before converting a 68 finish on the bull to restore parity at four apiece, but Whitlock capitalised on three missed darts from the Scot to secure the initiative via double five.

The Aussie conjured up a magical 92 finish culminating with consecutive double 18s to guarantee himself a point, but Anderson responded by hammering in a classy 135 checkout on the bull for a terrific skin-saver.

‘The Flying Scotsman’ had the advantage of throw in the decider but Whitlock was not to be denied; piling in a majestic 171 and taking out 70 on tops to secure just his second win since Week Three.

The 2018 Premier League will be back for more action on Thursday as we head to Birmingham for Week 14. Coverage gets underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event. The tungsten action will then continue in Aberdeen through to the season’s conclusion with the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London.

Keep up to date with the latest darts news, previews, reports, reaction and expert analysis. Get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts– don’t forget to use #LoveTheDarts

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