James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld are still strong contenders for McCoy’s Premier League Play-Off places, after the pair both earned draws at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.
Results on night twelve meant that Simon Whitlock moved within a whisker of qualification for finals night despite suffering defeat, as all of the other games were drawn.
Wade showed real fighting spirit in the night’s opening match, as he came back from three legs down twice to share the spoils with Kevin Painter.
‘The Machine’, who trailed ‘The Artist’ 4-1 and 7-4, won the last three legs to take his points tally to twelve, keeping himself in third place.
Whitlock then gave Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor and early scare in their top of the table clash. ‘The Wizard’ raced into a 3-1 lead, which included a sensational 161 checkout, but the league leader won all of the remaining legs.
Whitlock remains in second place behind Taylor, who has already booked his place at London’s O2 Arena in May. The Australian ace needs just one more point from his remaining two matches to ensure he joins his opponent.
‘Barney’ battled hard for a precious point against Andy Hamilton after ‘The Hammer’ had led 4-1. The Dutchman missed two darts to win the match, but was pleased to get the draw, which leaves him a point and a place outside the Play-Off spots.
“Andy played fantastic; he is really hard to beat so I am pleased to get a draw,” said van Barneveld. “My aim has always been to get into the top four and I am in a good position to do that still.”
“I didn’t play my best game and I have no explanation for that, but another point was important and I think I can go on and make the Play-Offs from here.”
Reigning champion Gary Anderson held World Champion Adrian Lewis to a draw in the evening’s final match. That result leaves Lewis in the mix for a semi-final place but ends Anderson’s hopes of retaining his title.
Whitlock can seal qualification with a result against Hamilton in Birmingham next week. Wade is up against Taylor at the NIA, while van Barneveld faces Anderson.
By Chris Murphy
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