‘Barney’ stayed at the top of the table after taking a point from his 6-6 draw with ‘The Thorn’, who bounced back after suffering his first defeat in his debut season a week earlier.
van Barneveld looked set to take victory in a game that included five consecutive breaks of throw but, with the Dutchman leading 6-4, Thornton hit fine finishes of 78 and 100 to share the spoils.
Fantastic finishing was the theme in a thrilling game between Whitlock and James Wade, which went the way of ‘The Wizard’ despite sensational checkouts of 170 and 144 from ‘The Machine’.
Whitlock eventually triumphed 7-4 as both players hit three finishes over 100.
And the Australian ace was delighted to come out on top in such a great game.
“It was a brilliant match and an important win,” said the world number five.
“I knew that I’d have to play great darts to beat James and it proved to be the case.
“He produced some class finishes and I had to deal with that and take some decent shots out myself.
“I felt I had to get at least a point tonight so it’s a huge win and I’ll have to play my best game again next week to beat Andy Hamilton, but that’s the Premier League for you!”
van Gerwen produced another brilliant performance to see off Wes Newton with an average of over 100 as he put last weeks defeat to Adrian Lewis behind him.
Lewis and Gary Anderson reached stalemate, while Phil Taylor was beaten by Andy Hamilton in the evening’s other match.
By Chris Murphy