Premier League Darts: On Thursday, as the most extensive roadshow in the sport makes its way to the Westpoint Exeter for Night Five, reigning champion Michael van Gerwen will try to increase his advantage at the top of the Premier League standings.
Last week, on a momentous occasion in Dublin, Van Gerwen triumphed against Gerwyn Price in the decider after surviving seven match darts. This was his first victory of the 2023 season.
The price overcame Van Gerwen’s 110 average en route to taking the win on Night Two in Cardiff, and the two will face off again in Thursday’s first quarterfinal in the South West.
Van Gerwen, aiming for a record-breaking seventh Premier League title in May, said: “I averaged 110 against Gezzy in Cardiff and lost that game, so he knows I owed him one.”
“Without even bringing my best effort, I’m at the top of the leaderboard, which gives me confidence. You must have confidence in your abilities since [my competitors] are aware of my abilities.”
Van Gerwen has pledged to step up his game against the Welshman after Price posted averages of 109 and 108 at the Interwetten Baltic Sea Darts Open last weekend to continue his impressive start to 2023.
The Dutchman, who has appeared in many finals during the first four weeks, said, “I know there is a lot of work to do and I need to keep producing. Price has also appeared in multiple finals during this time.”
“I believe there is much more to come from here. In the upcoming 12 to 13 weeks, there will be a lot to battle for, and I’m in excellent spirits.”
The current top four in Exeter are all located in the same half of the draw as World Champion Michael Smith, who will face 2020 runner-up Nathan Aspinall in the evening’s second quarterfinal.
Smith, the winner of Night Three, is in second place on the leaderboard and will be looking to get over the wrist ailment that kept him out of Kiel’s opening European Tour event last weekend.
While Aspinall lost to Jonny Clayton in the quarterfinals last week, he will be trying to emulate his performance against Smith on Night Two, when he averaged 105 in a 6-4 semi-final victory.
In another match, Night One champion Chris Dobey faces up against Dimitri Van den Bergh for a spot in the semi-finals. Both athletes are looking to bounce back after early exits in Dublin.
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