ANDERSON DELIGHTS GLASGOW CROWD AS BARNEY EDGES HEAVY-SCORING TAYLOR
World Champion Anderson was given a rousing reception from a 10,000-strong crowd at The SSE Hydro before repaying their support with a 7-5 win over Belgian ace Kim Huybrechts.
After coming from a leg down to lead 3-1, Anderson retained a two-leg cushion through to sealing a point at 6-4 before Huybrechts followed an earlier 105 checkout by taking out 84 to force a deciding 12th leg.
Anderson opened the final leg with a 177 and then fired in a 180 to leave 144 for a perfect leg, hitting two more treble 20s before wiring double 12 to complete a nine-darter which would have raised the roof of the imposing Glasgow arena.
Anderson did return to win the leg on double 12 with an 11-darter, and admitted: "I thought the double 12 was going in when it left my hand but it wasn^t to be - but the main thing was getting the win.
"Kim^s been playing well and I was nervous coming back to Scotland, so I^m relieved to get the win. It was perhaps a scrappy game but I nicked it and it^s two points.
"I think every hair in my body was standing up when we walked out there and it was a great reception from the fans. It^s a great night for me."
The night did feature one slice of history, albeit unwanted, for Phil Taylor as recorded the highest ever losing average in a televised game of 115.80 as he lost 7-4 to Raymond van Barneveld, landing nine 180s in defeat.
Taylor opened the game with a 180 and broke with a 12-dart leg before doubling his lead, but the match turned in a dramatic third leg when the Stoke great opted not to throw for the bull on a 125 finish - instead setting up 32 - only to see van Barneveld take out 144.
The Dutchman levelled before Taylor landed seven perfect darts in a 12-darter to move 3-2 up, but reigning Premier League champion van Barneveld levelled before punishing his great rival for two missed doubles in each of the next two legs.
Van Barneveld also took leg nine to lead 6-3, and though Taylor posted two 180s in a leg for the third time in the game as he hit back in the next, the Dutchman landed a maximum of his own as a 14-darter sealed only his second Premier League win over the world number two.
"Phil was out of this world in the first two legs and I was thinking that it was going to be a long night, but I finished the 144 in the third leg and it changed the whole game," admitted van Barneveld.
"I^m extremely happy because I^ve struggled for a few weeks, so to play the best player in the world and win is great. It^s amazing to beat a player who has a 115 average but it^s about getting the two points.
"The players nowadays are so good and my game isn^t there yet, but I^d love to play like this every week - maybe I need the focus of playing Phil, Gary Anderson or Michael van Gerwen every week."
2013 Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen now sits two points ahead of Anderson at the top of the league table following his 7-4 win over Dave Chisnall, who suffered a second successive loss.
A 124 checkout was a perfect start for van Gerwen before he pushed on to take leads of 2-0 and 5-1, and though Chisnall took out 142 as he won three of the next four, missed doubles cost him dear as the Dutchman sealed victory.
"Getting the two points was the most important thing but I^m really disappointed with how I played," said van Gerwen. "I felt like I played rubbish and maybe it was my worst performance of the year, but it^s a win.
"I want to play well all the time, which is why I^m disappointed, but Dave wasn^t at his best either and I think if he had pushed me I still had a couple more gears."
The night in Glasgow also featured two draws, as James Wade shared the points in a tight opener against Adrian Lewis before Peter Wright thrilled the Scottish crowd by coming from 5-1 down to claim a point against Stephen Bunting.
Wade and Lewis both averaged above 102 in a high-quality game which saw the two-time World Champion lead 2-1 early on before the left-hander hit back for a 4-2 cushion.
Lewis took out 138 as he levelled before the game^s final four legs went with throw to leave Wade on seven points in mid-table and his opponent in the midst of the battle to avoid elimination on five points ahead of Judgement Night on April 2.
"It^s got to be a point gained for me," said Lewis. "I missed a few chances early on but I hit the crucial doubles later in the match.
"I^ve had two ton-plus averages in the past two weeks and only come out with one point but I^m putting the hard work in and I^m happy with my form, so hopefully the results will come."
Wade, a Players Championship winner last Sunday, admitted: "I^m quite happy because I^ve played well in most games but I^m disappointed that I didn^t make the most of the opportunity tonight.
"Adrian made the most of the chances he had but it^s another point on the league table for me. I^m still pleased with my form at the moment and I^ll go onwards and upwards from here."
Wright and Bunting remain locked on six points following their stalemate, as the former World Championship finalist hit back to win five of the final six legs, including a 106 finish to force a decider and a 14-darter to secure the draw.
Wright is now unbeaten in five games, following three other draws and a win in recent weeks, and said: "To get a point from another World Champion is great but I^ve been feeling really ill and the crowd support pulled me through.
"I^m proud to get a point after that because I^ll always keep fighting and the crowd inspired me. It feels like a win in many ways."
Bunting admitted: "At 5-1 up I had the game sewn up and there were plenty of chances for me to win that game so it feels like I^ve dropped two points, but I^ll bounce back and focus now on next week in Dublin.
"I^ve learned not to look back and I^m a positive player."
The Betway Premier League continues next Thursday at The 3Arena in Dublin in the penultimate week before Judgement Night in Manchester sees the bottom two players in the league table eliminated.
Betway Premier League
Night Seven, Thursday March 19
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
James Wade 6-6 Adrian Lewis
Peter Wright 6-6 Stephen Bunting
Raymond van Barneveld 7-4 Phil Taylor
Kim Huybrechts 5-7 Gary Anderson
Dave Chisnall 4-7 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade v Adrian Lewis
1-0 - Wade makes a fine start, scoring 140, 174 and 137 before finishing 50 on double ten for a 12-darter.
1-1 - The pair trade 180s before Wade, needing 121, misses a single 11 to leave the bullseye, allowing Lewis in to level on tops with a 13-darter.
1-2 - Lewis claims an early break of throw by finishing 96 on double nine for a 12-darter - both players^ averages are above 110 early in the contest.
2-2 - Both players open with maximums, but Lewis misses three darts at double top to allow Wade in, and the left-hander takes out 68 on double five to break back.
3-2 - Double 12 sees Wade regain the lead.
4-2 - For the third time in the game, both players land 180s but Lewis is punished for two misses - at the bull and double eight - as Wade steps in to break and move two legs clear.
4-3 - Wade is this time punished for missed doubles across two visits, which allow Lewis in to finish 60 on tops to break back.
4-4 - Lewis takes out a brilliant 138 on double nine to level the game.
5-4 - Lewis lands two 140s during the leg, but misses darts at double 16 and eight to allow Wade in to take out 56 on tops to edge back in front.
5-5 - The duo once again trade 180s in successive visits, before Lewis posts double top to square the contest.
6-5 - Wade initially misses two darts at tops, but Lewis is unable to finish 140 to allow the left-hander in to claim a point on double top.
6-6 - Lewis makes the early running and is first to a finish, with Wade^s 180 coming in vain as the Stoke ace takes out 65 on double ten to claim a share of the spoils with a draw.
Peter Wright v Stephen Bunting
0-1 - Bunting claims an immediate break of throw, finishing 68 on double 16 to deny Wright a chance at 40.
1-1 - Wright initially misses tops to finish 120, but Bunting misses two darts at the same bed as the Scot returns to pin double ten.
1-2 - Double 18 sees Bunting break throw once more.
1-3 - The pair trade 180s before Bunting finishes 87 on double 18 for a 14-darter.
1-4 - Bunting breaks once more by finishing 64.
1-5 - Tops sees Bunting win a fourth successive leg.
2-5 - Wright takes out 61 on double 16 as he hits back with a break of throw.
3-5 - Bunting lands a 180 - his fourth of the game - but double two sees Wright win a second successive leg.
4-5 - Wright finishes 68 on double 16 as he continues his fightback.
4-6 - Wright lands a 180 but misses four darts at double 12 and six to level the game, allowing Bunting back in to finish a third-dart double four to seal a minimum of a point.
5-6 - Wright takes out 106 on double 16 to send the game into a decisive 12th leg.
6-6 - Wright finishes 66 on double eight to snatch a point and extend his unbeaten run to five games.
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
0-1 - Taylor opens the game with a 180 before finishing 88 on double 14 for a 12-darter to break throw immediately.
0-2 - Taylor finishes 32 to double his lead.
1-2 - Taylor opens with a 180 but opts not to throw for the bull - instead hitting single 18 to leave 32 - only to see van Barneveld finish a brilliant 144 checkout to hit back.
2-2 - Taylor lands a 180, but van Barneveld finishes 91 in two darts to level the game with a break of throw.
2-3 - Taylor threatens a nine-dart finish as he opens with two 180s, and adds another treble 20 before missing the treble 19 on the 141 combination - but he returns to finish double 16 for a 12-darter to regain the lead.
3-3 - van Barneveld lands his first maximum of the game, before finishing 82 on tops to level the game.
4-3 - Taylor lands two 180s as he leaves 41 after nine darts, with van Barneveld missing the bull for a 135 checkout before Taylor misses two darts at double 16, allowing the Dutchman in on double eight to move ahead for the first time.
5-3 - van Barneveld misses double 18 and nine, but Taylor wires double top and ten, allowing the reigning champion back on double four.
6-3 - van Barneveld^s 180 to start is followed by a 177 from Taylor and the pair add 140s as the amazing standard continues - but it^s the Dutchman who lands double 16 to seal at least a point.
6-4 - Taylor again fires in back-to-back 180s before finishing 84 on double eight to keep alive his hopes with a break of throw - maintaining an average of over 115 despite being behind!
7-4 - van Barneveld opens with 180 and 140 to be first to a finish, and he lands double five to seal a memorable win - averaging 104.18 to Taylor^s stunning 115.80, which is the highest losing average ever in a televised game.
Kim Huybrechts v Gary Anderson
1-0 - Double one sees Huybrechts claim the opening leg with his fifth dart at a double.
1-1 - The pair trade 180s before Anderson finishes 68 to level.
1-2 - Once again the duo land 180s, with Huybrechts missing three more doubles as Anderson breaks on tops to lead.
1-3 - Double eight sees Anderson claim his third successive leg, much to the delight of the Scottish crowd.
2-3 - Huybrechts replies with another 180 and a 105 checkout.
2-4 - The Belgian fires in a maximum, but misses two darts at tops to level as Anderson hits the same bed to move two legs clear.
3-4 - Anderson fires in a maximum, but double seven sees Huybrechts hit back.
3-5 - Anderson finishes 72 on tops to edge away again.
4-5 - Huybrechts^ 180 is followed by a 174 from Anderson, but the Scot misses double 12 to allow his opponent back in on double four.
4-6 - Anderson lands a 180 before punishing three missed doubles from Huybrechts - at double 18 and nine - to post double six to secure at least a draw.
5-6 - Huybrechts takes the game into a deciding leg by finishing 84 on double 12.
5-7 - GARY ANDERSON MISSES DOUBLE 12 FOR A NINE-DART FINISH! The World Champion opens with a 177 and lands a 180 before scoring two more treble 20s, but he wires double 12 for a nine-darter, before returning to hit double 12 to seal a famous win.
Dave Chisnall v Michael van Gerwen
0-1 - van Gerwen breaks throw immediately with a superb 124 checkout.
0-2 - The Dutchman opens with a 180 before finishing double six to move two legs up with a 13-darter.
1-2 - Chisnall finishes 77 on tops to claim his first leg and hit back.
1-3 - van Gerwen takes out 82 with a bullseye, double 16 combination to regain his edge.
1-4 - Double ten sees van Gerwen break throw again as he punishes missed doubles from Chisnall.
1-5 - van Gerwen lands a 180 and double eight for a 13-darter.
2-5 - Chisnall finishes a superb 143 for a 12-dart leg.
3-5 - The pair open with 180s before Chisnall punishes a missed double 19 from the world number one by finishing 48 on double 16 to break.
3-6 - van Gerwen breaks back with a 14-darter, landing three tons and a 140 before taking out 61 on double 18.
4-6 - Chisnall fires in a 180 before punishing van Gerwen for missing his chance to wrap up the win.
4-7 - van Gerwen makes no mistake this time as he makes Chisnall pay for a string of misses by finishing 57 on tops.