Simon Whitlock qualified for the McCoy’s Premier League Play-Offs despite losing to Andy Hamilton at Birmingham’s NIA on Thursday, while James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld face a shoot-out next week for a place in the semi-finals.
Van Barneveld’s draw with Gary Anderson on the penultimate league night put the Dutchman on twelve points, level with Wade, who was beaten by Phil Taylor.
‘Barney’ hit a sensational 170 checkout as well as a 120 finish, but a resurgent Anderson made sure that the points were shared.
“I had a few great finishes tonight and I can’t complain about that, but I wasn’t great on his throw,” said van Barneveld. “The 170 was great but it was only one leg, and now the players don’t care and they hit you back.
“Gary is the holder and even though he’s in eighth I knew he would play well, and he did that tonight. I’ll go and prepare myself now for next week in Newcastle because James is a quality player and I know what I’ve got to do against him.
“He always plays well against me and I know I’ll have my hands full, but I’ll get my chances and I must take them next week.”
Wade can seal qualification for finals night with a win against van Barneveld at the Metro Radio Arena next Thursday.
A win for ‘The Machine’ would eliminate ‘Barney’ from the competition however.
Whitlock plays third-placed Adrian Lewis, who is in need of a result to book his place in the Play-Offs.
‘The Wizard’ was beaten by Hamilton in Birmingham but other results meant that his semi-final spot was confirmed.
Kevin Painter kept his Play-Off hopes alive with an 8-3 victory over Lewis in the other match of a dramatic evening.
By Chris Murphy
Latest League Table
|Phil Taylor (Q)||13||11||1||1||+51||37||23|
|Simon Whitlock (Q)
|Raymond van Barneveld||13||4||4||5||-11||27||12|
Simon Whitlock qualified for the McCoy’s Premier League Playoffs with fourteen points, despite suffering defeat at the hands of Andy Hamilton at Birmingham’s NIA.
‘The Wizard’ was rewarded for a good season when other results meant he officially qualified with a week to spare.
Whitlock had picked up six victories and two draws before Thursday’s setback against ‘The Hammer’, and fourteen points proved to be enough to seal a semi-final spot.
The Australian ace drew his first match against Raymond van Barneveld in Manchester, before an 8-4 triumph over James Wade in Aberdeen put him top of the table.
Back to back defeats against Kevin Painter and Phil Taylor knocked him off the league’s summit, but the ‘Beard to be feared’ bounced back by beating World Champion Adrian Lewis 8-4 in Brighton on night five.
‘The Wizard’ followed that win up with another success when he beat reigning Premier League champion Gary Anderson 8-6 in Glasgow.
He picked up another point when he drew with Hamilton in Dublin, and then put defeat against Wade in Cardiff behind him by claiming three consecutive victories.
Whitlock saw off Anderson, Painter and van Barneveld to reach the magic fourteen point mark, meaning defeats against Taylor and Hamilton had no bearing on him reaching the last four.
‘The Wizard’ faces Lewis on the final night of the league stage in Newcastle next Thursday, before joining Taylor and two others on finals night at London’s O2 Arena on May 17th.
By Chris Murphy
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 7 – 7 Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld took the race for the Play-Offs into the final week, after he earned a draw against reigning McCoy’s Premier League champion Gary Anderson in Birmingham.
Van Barneveld hit a stunning maximum checkout of 170 in a high quality encounter against the world number three, as he grabbed a share of the spoils at the NIA.
“Big finishes are great but at the end of the day they are only in one leg,” said van Barneveld, who also took out 120 in the match.
“I had a couple of them but I didn’t play well enough on Gary’s throw. Next week I will give my very best.
“People at the beginning of the Premier League thought I was finished but I feel I have proved them wrong whatever happens.”
‘Barney’ started in style, producing a brilliant 138 checkout against the throw to win the first leg. He just missed the bull for a sensational 161 finish in leg two, allowing Anderson to level up on double top.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ held his throw to edge in front, before breaking despite van Barneveld hitting his first 180.
The Dutchman’s second maximum came in the fifth leg, as he broke back and reduced the deficit to one leg.
‘Barney’ squared up the match before the break, throwing five perfect darts at treble twenty before hitting double 14 to win leg six.
Van Barneveld grabbed a crucial break of throw in the seventh leg, before increasing his lead to 5-3 with a roof-raising 170 checkout.
Anderson took out 60 and 70 in the next two legs to restore parity, before a neat 64 checkout gave the Scotsman a 6-5 lead.
‘Barney’ hit a brilliant 120 finish to level up before Anderson held his throw to deny The Dutchman a victory.
The five-time World Champion secured a draw though, taking out 60 to keep his Play-Off hopes alive.
By Chris Murphy
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Simon Whitlock is on the verge of sealing a McCoy’s Premier League Play-Off place, while James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld remain in strong contention for a top four finish when the tournament reaches Birmingham’s NIA on Thursday.
Whitlock, who is in second place, has 14 points so far and needs just one more against Andy Hamilton to secure a semi-final spot. ‘The Wizard’ could still be guaranteed a place even if he suffers defeat, but the Australian ace is out to ensure that it doesn’t come to that.
He said: “14 points might be enough in the end but I don’t want to find out. I’ve got two more games left and I want to be getting another two points at the least. I’ve put myself in great position to reach the Play-Offs. Now I need to make sure I finish the job.”
Wade, who won the tournament in 2009, sits behind Whitlock in third place, with twelve points to his name. ‘The Machine’ faces runaway leader Phil Taylor, who has already qualified for finals night, on the penultimate week of the league stage.
“I’ve had good results against Phil in the Premier League before and I’m looking forward to playing him on Thursday,” said Wade, who reached the final of the weekend’s Austrian Open in Wiener Neustadt.
“I’m feeling good and I’m fairly happy with my form. I’ve won one and drawn two of my last three games and maybe if I’d turned those draws into wins I’d be safe now, but I’ll give it my best on Thursday.”
Van Barneveld is up against reigning champion Gary Anderson, as the Dutchman bids to take the Play-Off race down to the final week with a positive result against ‘The Flying Scotsman’.
Kevin Painter takes on Adrian Lewis in the other match of the evening.
By Chris Murphy
Latest League Table
|Raymond van Barneveld||12||4||3||5||-11||11|
MODUS Player permutations
SIMON WHITLOCK – Qualifies for Play-Offs with a draw or win. Can still secure his place in Play-Offs if he loses, if either Wade or van Barneveld also suffer defeat.
JAMES WADE – Can qualify for Play-Offs if he wins and van Barneveld loses. If he draws, he would need at least a draw against van Barneveld on final week. If he is beaten, he would need to avoid defeat against van Barneveld in Newcastle.
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD – Needs to avoid defeat as he would be eliminated if both Wade and Lewis win. A draw or victory for ‘Barney’ means he would take the Play-Off race to the final week.