Raymond Van Barneveld defeated his oldest rival Phil Taylor for the second time in a matter of weeks in another action-packed night of Premier League Darts action.
The big Dutchman posted an average of 95.43 in his 7-2 mauling of the 16-time champion of the world, and gave his chances of qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament a real shot in the arm.
“I was really focused tonight,” Van Barneveld told Sky Sports. “I don’t believe Phil played really well. He missed a lot of doubles and let me in.”
For Taylor the outlook isn’t so rosy: he could only muster a three-dart average of 86.40 – woefully under-par for the greatest tungsten tosser in history – and this defeat saw him lose ground on the three players above him in the league table.
Elsewhere, bookmakers favourite Michael Van Gerwen continued his excellent recent form with a tense 7-5 victory over Stephen Bunting.
The Dutchman, who extended his Premier League winning streak to ten games, averaged a shade under 103 in a high-quality contest that saw ten 180s, and was clinical on his doubles after going 4-5 down at one stage in the match.
Van Gerwen remains top of the table despite having played one game less than his closest rival Dave Chisnall.
Elsewhere, Adrian Lewis boosted his slim chances of making the final four with a 7-4 victory over James Wade.
Chizzy Dizzy with Success
But the outstanding player of the night in Sheffield was undoubtedly Dave Chisnall.
The man they call Chizzy chalked up two victories: first disposing of the current world champion Gary Anderson 7-3, and then destroying Wade 7-1 in a match in which Chisnall looked on course to break the record for the highest-ever televised average.
His standards dropped ever so slightly towards the end of the match, but the St Helens thrower still ended with a none-too-shabby average of 114.17.
“It’s nice to get two wins because it was always going to be hard,” he said. “I’ve done my job by winning two out of two, and I played well – importantly I finished well tonight. I felt good up on stage but I’ve put a lot of practice in and it’s all working out.”
Next week the Premier League roadshow rolls into Aberdeen, where Phil Taylor will have two opportunities to get his campaign back on track against Chisnall and Bunting. The outstanding match of the night should be the all-Dutch encounter between Van Barneveld and Van Gerwen.
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