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DAVE CHISNALL and Michael Smith were eliminated from the Betway Premier League with narrow defeats to Peter Wright and Phil Taylor on Judgement Night in Cardiff, as Robert Thornton completed his great escape.

Scottish star Thornton had picked up just one point from his opening six matches, but after claiming up a win and a draw to move off the foot of the table a week ago in Liverpool the World Grand Prix champion^s survival was complete when his basement rivals both lost 7-5 at the Motorpoint Arena.

Chisnall never recovered from seeing Wright take an early 3-1 advantage in their clash, and though he took out 101 and 102 to stay in the hunt was unable to prevent the world number five claiming victory with a 13-darter in the game^s deciding leg.

Chisnall had picked up three points in the opening three weeks, but suffered six straight defeats from there as he followed up last year^s run to the semi-finals with elimination this time around.

"I gave it my best but I didn^t get the win tonight, the best player won and I deserved to get knocked out," said Chisnall. "I^ve had chances for draws this season which I^ve not taken and I^ve got to learn from it.

"It^s very competitive and this year I^ve tried my best but it^s not worked out for me. It^s frustrating but I wasn^t good enough and I^ll work on it."

Former World Youth Champion Smith, meanwhile, was also knocked out on Judgement Night in his debut Premier League season after twice missing a dart at a double to claim a point from his clash with Phil Taylor, who took out 80 and 124 - on the bull - to win the final two legs for a 7-5 win.

"If the darts at the bull or tops had gone in I could have won 7-5 but that^s life," said Smith. "I think I deserved something from the match but I didn^t get anything.

"I^m down because I lost but I^m not down as a player. I^ve got to work hard now and hopefully get back into the Premier League next year."

Thornton was able to take to the stage for his contest with Lewis without the pressure of the elimination battle, as the Stoke ace punished missed doubles from the Scot to claim a 7-4 triumph.

Thornton, though, said: "I think I did the damage last week by getting the three points and the pressure was on Michael and Dave tonight. Once they had got beaten I could relax and enjoy my game because there was no pressure.

"My doubles didn^t go tonight but I^ll be back for the next few weeks and anything could happen now. I^m looking forward to the next six weeks and I^m not going to give in lightly."

The night in Cardiff - held in front of a sell-out 4,000 crowd - saw the two other matches end in a draw as reigning champion Gary Anderson shared the spoils with James Wade before Dutch rivals Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen had to settle for a point apiece.

World Champion Anderson was punished for missing 13 doubles in the opening five legs as he found himself 4-1 down to 2009 Premier League winner Wade, but after hitting back to lead 6-5 he then missed one dart for victory in the game^s deciding leg.

"At the end of the day it^s a point but my doubles were atrocious early on," admitted Anderson. "I got back into the game, broke James to go 6-5 up and then had a shot for the win - but James took advantage of my missed doubles and fair play to him."

Wade^s 62 finish in the decider saw him grab a point, and he said: "It^s a point gained, but I believe it was also a point lost. I didn^t expect Gary to play like he did early doors and I probably took my foot off the gas and let him get back into it."

World number one van Gerwen drew for a third successive week as he hit back from 4-1 and 6-3 down against van Barneveld, who missed one match dart in leg 11 before seeing his rival take out back-to-back 13-dart finishes for the draw.

"It^s a point and I played well but I missed that double 16 for the win and it was crucial," said van Barneveld. "If you don^t hit your doubles you get punished and that^s what Michael did, but it was a good game."

Taylor^s win means that the six-time Premier League winner is now a point clear of van Gerwen and Anderson at the top of the league table as he bids to retain to the Play-Offs after missing out on a top-four finish for the first time last season.

"It was a strange game but it^s another win and I think a couple more wins now will make sure I^m in the Play-Offs," said Taylor. "Michael gave it his best shot and he didn^t give in, but it^s a learning curve for him."

The eight remaining players in the Betway Premier League will face each other once more during the remaining six league nights before the top two players progress to the Play-Offs on May 19.

The sell-out night at the Motorpoint Arena was another boost for the sport in Wales, ahead of tickets for the inaugural Champions League of Darts - to be held at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on September 24-25 - go on general sale on Saturday (9am). Tickets will be available by calling 02920 22 44 88 or online through

Betway Premier League
Judgement Night - March 31
Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
James Wade 6-6 Gary Anderson
Michael Smith 5-7 Phil Taylor
Dave Chisnall 5-7 Peter Wright
Robert Thornton 4-7 Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Michael van Gerwen

James Wade v Gary Anderson
1-0 - Anderson misses five darts at doubles for an immediate break of throw, allowing Wade back from two misses to hit double five for the opening leg.
2-0 - Two misses at tops from Anderson allow Wade to land double ten - with his third dart at the bed - to move two legs up.
3-0 - Anderson misses tops to finish 134, and Wade takes out 86 on double seven.
3-1 - Anderson lands the game^s first 180 before finally receiving a let-off from Wade, who is unable to punish misses in two visits from the Scot, who returns on double one.
4-1 - Anderson is again unable to land tops, and Wade pins double 14 to regain his cushion.
4-2 - Anderson fires in a second maximum and then takes out tops to respond once more.
4-3 - Anderson breaks throw by taking out 63 on double 12.
4-4 - Wade kicks off with a maximum, but Anderson replies with a 180 to leave 28 before hitting double seven to level.
5-4 - The pair trade 180s once again, before Wade lands double 12 to claim his first leg in four.
5-5 - Anderson levels once more, scoring 180 and 171 before finishing 52 on tops for a superb leg.
5-6 - Anderson takes out 81 on double six to move into the lead for the first time.
6-6 - Wade hits his third 180, and when Anderson misses tops for a 79 finish to claim the win, the left-hander takes out 62 on double ten to claim a draw.

Michael Smith v Phil Taylor
1-0 - Smith kicks off with 180 and 140, and survives two missed doubles from Taylor to land double 16 for a 13-darter.
1-1 - Taylor levels on double ten.
2-1 - Smith finishes 112 on double 16 to edge back in front.
2-2 - Taylor lands a 180 before finishing 90 to square the game once more.
2-3 - Taylor hits a 180 and 80 to break as he moves ahead.
3-3 - Two misses from Taylor are punished as Smith hits double 15 to break and hit back.
4-3 - Taylor^s miss at tops allows Smith to land double 16 to move back ahead.
4-4 - Double 12 sees Taylor level.
5-4 - Smith lands a 180 to leave 70 before finishing the combination on double four to move back in front and a leg away from a point in his key game.
5-5 - Taylor opens with 177 and 140 before finishing 84 for a superb 11-darter to square the contest.
5-6 - Smith agonisingly misses a dart at tops to secure at least a draw, and Taylor punishes him by finishing 80 on double five to seal himself a minimum of point.
5-7 - Smith lands a 180 to leave 130 before missing the bull to see a dart for a draw slip away once again, and Taylor takes out 124 on the bull to claim the win and knock the youngster out of the tournament.

Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright
0-1 - Chisnall misses the bull and Wright lands double eight for the opening leg.
1-1 - Chisnall lands two 180s in the leg before levelling on double nine.
1-2 - Wright breaks throw once again as he edges back ahead.
1-3 - Tops sees Wright move two legs clear.
2-3 - Chisnall finishes 101 as he cuts the gap to one leg.
2-4 - Wright lands a third-dart double 16 to regain his cushion.
3-4 - Chisnall this time takes out 102 as he responds.
3-5 - Wright lands his first 180 before finishing double 16 to edge away from his rival.
3-6 - Wright opens with a 180 before taking out 50 on double 16 to seal at least a point - leaving Chisnall needing to win the final three legs to keep his Betway Premier League hopes alive.
4-6 - The pair trade 180s before Wright misses three match darts across two visits, allowing Chisnall in on double ten to stay in the game.
5-6 - Chisnall opens with a 180 before staring defeat in the face as Wright misses the bull for a 170 checkout for the match, allowing the St Helens ace back in to land double 18.
5-7 - Wright wraps up victory by landing double 18 for a 13-darter, knocking the 2015 semi-finalist out of the tournament and ensuring Robert Thornton escapes elimination.

Robert Thornton v Adrian Lewis
1-0 - Double 12 gives Thornton the opening leg.
1-1 - Thornton lands a 180 but misses three darts at doubles, allowing Lewis back in to level.
1-2 - Thornton posts another maximum but misses the bull to take out 90, and Lewis again capitalises by finishing double five.
1-3 - Lewis takes out 68 on double four as he opens up a two-leg lead.
2-3 - Thornton finishes tops to hit back.
2-4 - Double 16 sees Lewis regain his cushion.
3-4 - Thornton initially misses the bull to finish 170, before returning to take out double four.
3-5 - Lewis lands a first maximum of the game before hitting tops to win his fifth leg.
4-5 - Thornton hits a 180 before surviving Lewis^ miss at the bull for a 170 as he returns on double 16.
4-6 - Thornton takes out 174 but misses his chance to level, and Lewis lands double eight to secure a minimum of a draw.
4-7 - Lewis takes out 56 to claim the win, his sixth of the season.

Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
0-1 - van Gerwen takes out 86 on double 16 to win the opening leg.
1-1 - The world number one opens with a 177 but pays for two missed doubles as van Barneveld hits double six to level.
2-1 - van Barneveld moves ahead with a superb leg, scoring 180, 140 and 139 before hitting double four for a 13-darter.
3-1 - van Barneveld finishes 81 on double 13 to break throw and move two legs clear.
4-1 - The 2014 champion wins a fourth successive leg, with van Gerwen hitting two 180s to his rival^s one in the leg only to miss double 13, allowing van Barneveld in for an 80 finish.
4-2 - van Gerwen takes out 25 to respond with his first leg in five.
5-2 - van Barneveld hits a 180 and double 16 to regain his lead.
5-3 - van Gerwen hits back with a brilliant 11-darter, scoring 180 and 170 before hitting double 16.
6-3 - van Barneveld lands another 180 before punishing van Gerwen^s missed bull, for a 124 checkout, by hitting double four as he seals at least a draw.
6-4 - van Gerwen keeps his hopes alive by taking out 68 on double 16.
6-5 - van Barneveld misses double 16 for the match, and van Gerwen hits tops for a 13-darter to force a deciding leg.
6-6 - van Gerwen scores 134, 180 and 134 before finishing double ten for another 13-darter as he seals a third successive draw.

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