Cullen Checks In - Play-off Position Confirmed
Joe Cullen will be the fourth and final player heading to Berlin after edging Peter Wright 6-4 in their winner takes all battle in Newcastle on the last night of league action. Michael Smith found victory for the first time in the Premier League after beating Jonny Clayton 6-3 in the Final recording four maximums and a 98.77 average on the oche.
A magnificent debut campaign for the Rockstar was topped off in Newcastle as he hit double sixteen on all six of his attempts at the segment, in what is outstanding given the circumstances of the game. It is very unfortunate for World Champion Peter Wright who will have to wait another year if he’s to win the Premier League after falling to defeat in the north.
Snakebite averaged more than the Englishman in the tie, hitting a score of 96.96 and three maximums, but the form of his opponent on his doubles was too much, with the Masters champion only missing one dart at double in the entire match.
Scotsman Wright also missed just one dart at double and included the highest checkout on stage, finishing 116 in the second leg to win his first of the match on throw. The Yorkshire man was the man to prevail to Finals night though as double sixteen on his first dart finished 49, to complete the line-up for Berlin which consists of Jonny Clayton, Michael van Gerwen and James Wade.
The Winmau star has won two nights and reached more Semi Finals in the latter stages of the competition and is well worthy of his spot in Germany, also having a better legs difference to those below him in the table.
Confirmed league leader and reigning champion Jonny Clayton ended Gary Anderson’s miserable campaign, with the Red Dragon star prevailing 6-5 coming from 4-2 down to beat the two-time world champion. The Flying Scotsman averaged 101.07 and missed a dart at the bull for a 170 on the oche but did find an 80 checkout to take the sixth leg on throw.
The Ferret has been consistent all tournament with his finishing and found the highest finish of the tungsten affair in the eighth leg, hitting 126 on double six to break the 49-year-olds throw and level at 4-4. The man from Pontyberem found double four in the deciding eleventh leg to reach another Semi Final ensuring Anderson finished the league campaign on nine points.
Michael Smith beat Michael van Gerwen for the second week running, winning 6-4 with the Dutchman not hitting a single maximum on stage. Bully Boy found the only three of the game and showed some good form on the outer ring, finishing at 46.15%.
The three-time world champion did finish 155 in what was the highest checkout of the match in leg three to hold his throw, as both players found ton plus checkouts with the St Helens ace hitting 114 in the fifth leg to break throw. The match was decided in the tenth leg as the Englishman found tops with his second dart to make it no points in two weeks for van Gerwen, but the Winmau man will head to Berlin as the second highest place holder in the league format.
Already qualified James Wade also lost for the second week running as he fell to a 6-4 defeat at the hands of Gerwyn Price. The Iceman like Peter Wright will have to wait another 12 months to get his hands on the Premier League trophy after being eliminated in London.
The Red Dragon star will be happy with his win over the Machine after losing on many occasions to the former Premier League champion. The Welshman hit 50% on his doubles and found the highest checkout of the match, hitting 117 in the second leg to take a 2-0 lead after breaking in the first leg.
Price closed out victory in the tenth leg against third placed Wade, with the crowd on his back he showed composure on the oche, after finishing tops with his last dart in hand to checkout 78 and reach the Semi Final.
Joe Cullen fresh of his Play Off achievement was back on the oche as he faced Jonny Clayton, his opponent for Finals Night in Berlin. The Ferret got the better of the Englishman in the first Semi Final winning 6-4 to reach his second Final in two weeks, averaging 96.14 and hitting four maximums on stage.
The Bradford ace found a 127 in what was the highest finish in the third leg, to break Clayton in the third leg and lead 2-1. The Welshman found the killer blows on the outer ring, finishing at a rate of 46.15%, and his thirteenth dart at double found his sixth and winning leg at double fourteen to earn another guaranteed three points.
Michael Smith reached his third Final in the competition after beating World Number Two Gerwyn Price 6-3 in the second Semi Final, with nine 140s in the tie. Bully Boy finished 89 in what was his highest checkout of the match in the second leg, as he broke the Markham ace to level at 1-1 after being broken himself in the opening leg.
The World Number 4 finished off The Iceman’s Premier League campaign in the ninth leg, ensuring the former world champion finishes seventh in this year’s campaign despite two-night wins.
It was to be an Englishman who ruled for back-to-back weeks, with Cullen rocking the capital last week. Michael Smith found his first night victory in the North beating league leader Jonny Clayton 6-3 in the Final finding four maximums and a 98.77 average in claiming his first £10,000 winners’ bonus in the very last week.
Just five darts were missed at double between the two combined in a brilliant finishing display to close out the Final night, with the World Number Four finding a 112 checkout in the ninth and final leg to finish sixth on his return to the competition after missing out last year.
June 13th is now the date the final four are looking to, as Jonny Clayton, Michael van Gerwen, James Wade and Joe Cullen prepare to enter Berlin all battling for the trophy and the £275,000 winners prize on Finals Night.
By Harry Masterson
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Gary Anderson
Joe Cullen 6-4 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price 6-4 James Wade
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Joe Cullen
Michael Smith 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 6-3 Jonny Clayton
- Jonny Clayton (Q): 40pts
- Michael van Gerwen (Q): 31pts
- James Wade (Q): 25pts
- Joe Cullen (Q): 24pts
- Peter Wright (E): 22pts
- Michael Smith (E): 22pts
- Gerwyn Price (E): 20pts
Gary Anderson (E): 9pts