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MICHAEL VAN GERWEN moved a point clear at the top of the Betway Premier League table with a 7-4 win over World Champion Gary Anderson on Thursday, as Stephen Bunting suffered disappointment in Liverpool with a 7-1 reverse to Phil Taylor.

Van Gerwen ended Anderson^s winning start to the season as he punished the Scot for 23 missed doubles during their contest.

Although the game failed to live up to the standard of Sunday^s German Darts Championship final - when van Gerwen averaged almost 118 - it carried high drama throughout as Anderson saw a 3-1 lead over the world number one slip away.

Van Gerwen took five straight legs as he moved 6-3 up, and though Anderson hit back with a 68 finish it was the Dutchman who won the 11th leg, on double 12, to seal his third win of the season.

"There was a lot of pressure tonight because one of us was going to be top of the league with a win so you know you can^t afford any mistakes, and I^m glad I didn^t make as many as Gary," said van Gerwen.

"His scoring was a bit better than mine, but he didn^t take advantage. I can^t always be at my best but to get the win was the most important thing.

"The crowd were fantastic in a big venue and I enjoyed this win. I feel good and this will give me more confidence."

Dave Chisnall and James Wade join van Gerwen in being unbeaten after three weeks, after they shared the points with a six-all draw in front of over 7,000 fans in Liverpool.

Chisnall led 2-0 only to allow Wade back into the match before a 142 checkout secured the 2009 Premier League champion a point, but the St Helens ace took the game^s final leg with a 14-darter to claim a share of the spoils.

"I think it was the right result but I gave a point away," said Wade. "I^ll take the draw and move on from here.

"The 142 was great and those type of shots are going in okay, but then I got a little bit lazy in the last leg. I think we were both under par throughout the game, but I^ll take a draw when I^m not playing so well."

Chisnall said: "James was steady and he finished well, so I^ll take a point from that.

"I didn^t feel nervous but it was one of those nights where the darts didn^t go as well as I wanted them to and neither of us scored as well as we wanted to.

"Early on I could have gone 3-0 up, and that^s where the game changed. The 142 to put him 6-5 up was a big shot as well because if he didn^t hit that I probably would have won the game."

Two other games on the night ended in a stalemate, as Kim Huybrechts denied Adrian Lewis a win from their game and Peter Wright came from 5-1 down to claim a draw with reigning Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld.

Van Barneveld had seemed set to storm to victory when he romped into a 5-1 lead with an average of 118 - only for Wright to finish 147, 124 and a key 94 as he hit back to claim his first point of the season.

"It feels like a win after coming from 5-1 down," admitted Wright. "I had my own battle in my head tonight because I didn^t want to lose 7-1 again and I dug deep and managed to pull back into the game.

"My finishing helped me out but I should be scoring with these guys and that^s not quite happening at the moment. Hopefully that will start to come in the next few weeks, but to get a point this week is good and I^m proud of my fighting spirit."

Belgian ace Huybrechts also picked his first point of the year, in his debut season, as he took out 62 in the deciding leg of his clash with Lewis.

"It was a weird match and it probably wasn^t the best game we^ve played but I^m happy with the point," said Huybrechts. "The first point in your debut season is the hardest to get and I^ve got that.

"I held on and when Adrian gave me chances I took them tonight. I had put a lot of pressure on myself being in the Premier League because you want to prove you belong here, but I said that I want to just enjoy it and do what I can.

"I enjoyed it and I have to keep doing that because the Premier League is the best experience you can have as a darts player and I want to enjoy every moment on that stage."

The night^s other game saw Phil Taylor romp past Stephen Bunting 7-1 with a clinical display as the local favourite, who hails from St Helens, endured a nightmare.

Taylor, aided by finishes of 98 and 80, took the first five legs without reply before Bunting hit back on tops in leg six, but checkouts of 121 and 151 saw the six-time Premier League champion mercilessly wrap up a comprehensive win.

"Stephen didn^t play as well as he can, and maybe the occasion of playing in Liverpool got to him a little bit because he^s a lot better player than he showed tonight," said Taylor.

"When he got a leg back I could see he was thinking about the comeback, but the 121 killed him and I finished it off well from there. It^s a tough game but this is just one week for Stephen.

"You don^t win the Premier League in one week and you don^t lose it in a week either, but it^s good to get another two points in the bag."

The Betway Premier League continues next Thursday with Week Four at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, with tickets still available by calling 028 9073 9074 or online via

Betway Premier League
Night Three, Thursday February 19
Echo Arena, Liverpool
James Wade 6-6 Dave Chisnall
Peter Wright 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor 7-1 Stephen Bunting
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Gary Anderson
Adrian Lewis 6-6 Kim Huybrechts

James Wade v Dave Chisnall
0-1 - Chisnall breaks throw in the opening leg by finishing 60 on tops.
0-2 - Chisnall misses two darts at double eight, but Wade is unable to take out 78 as the St Helens ace returns on double eight to move two legs up.
1-2 - A golden chance to win a third successive leg slips away for Chisnall, who misses six darts at doubles across three visits to punish Wade, before the left-hander posts double five to finally get off the mark.
2-2 - Wade misses double 14 and seven to finish 88, but returns on double two to level the game with a break of throw.
3-2 - Wade fires in a 165 score to leave 40, before finishing double ten to move ahead.
3-3 - Chisnall opens with two 180s to set up a nine-darter opportunity, and lands a seventh treble 20 before missing out on a treble 19 for the 141 finish - but he returns to take out tops for an 11-darter to level.
3-4 - Both players miss the bull before Chisnall returns to finish double eight for a break of throw.
4-4 - Wade takes out 64 on tops as he breaks back.
5-4 - Wade finishes 72 in two darts on double 12 as he edges back ahead.
5-5 - Chisnall fires in his third 180 of the game before landing double 18 to square the contest once more.
6-5 - Wade secures at least a point in style with a brilliant 142 checkout.
6-6 - Chisnall lands his fourth 180 before finishing 63 for a 14-darter to snatch a draw.

Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld
0-1 - van Barneveld lands a 180 before finishing 80 on tops to break in the opening leg.
0-2 - The Dutchman finishes double 16 to move two legs up.
1-2 - van Barneveld posts another 180, but misses double 16 for a 12-darter as Wright takes out a superb 147 to hit back.
1-3 - The reigning Premier League champion lands another maximum before finishing 81 for an 11-darter to move two legs up again.
1-4 - The Dutchman fires in his fourth 180 before taking out 89 for a 12-darter - maintaining an average above 118 as he breaks throw once more.
1-5 - Wright misses double 16 to finish 103, and van Barneveld capitalises by taking out 54 on tops.
2-5 - The pair trade 180s before Wright takes out 56 on tops to hit back.
3-5 - Wright fires in his second maximum of the night before finishing 121 on the bull to break and hit back to trail by just two legs.
3-6 - Wright misses the bull to take out 92, and van Barneveld returns to take out 41 on double 16 to secure at least a point.
4-6 - Wright finishes 94 in two darts with a treble 18, double top combination.
5-6 - Wright misses double eight to finish 133, but returns to hit double four with his third dart as he sends the game into a decider.
6-6 - Wright lands his third 180 of the game and then posts a 180 to be first to a finish, leaving 81 after nine darts before snatching a draw by landing double six for a 14-darter.

Phil Taylor v Stephen Bunting
1-0 - Taylor finishes 98 on double 12 to win the opening leg.
2-0 - Taylor lands a 180 to leave 81 after nine darts, before finishing double eight to break throw - after Bunting misses a single 20 to leave tops.
3-0 - Taylor finishes double eight as he moves three legs up.
4-0 - Bunting leaves 36 with a 140 score - but Taylor finishes 80 on tops to break throw once again.
5-0 - Double five gives Taylor a five-leg lead.
5-1 - Bunting lands double top to win his first leg of the game.
6-1 - Bunting fires in a 180 and then scores 171 to leave 50 - only to watch Taylor finish 121 on double 14 for a killer blow.
7-1 - Taylor takes out 151 on tops to complete a comprehensive win, ending with a 100.03 average.

Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
0-1 - The pair trade 180s in the opening leg, with Anderson^s three missed doubles matched by a trio of misses from van Gerwen before the World Champion returns on double four to break throw immediately.
0-2 - van Gerwen misses the bull for a 124 finish, and Anderson lands double 19 with his third dart at the bed to move two legs up.
1-2 - Double 18 sees van Gerwen hit back to win his first leg of the game.
1-3 - The pair again trade 180s, but van Gerwen is punished for three missed doubles - at the bull, double eight and double four - as Anderson lands double one to regain his two-leg lead.
2-3 - Anderson misses double top and ten, and van Gerwen steps in to finish double 16 as he again reduces the gap.
3-3 - Anderson misses three darts at double 19, and van Gerwen breaks throw on tops to level the contest.
4-3 - van Gerwen lands double 16 as he moves ahead for the first time.
5-3 - Anderson pays the price for five more missed doubles, as van Gerwen breaks to win a fourth straight leg by landing double ten.
6-3 - Anderson lands his fourth 180, but misses double 19 once more as van Gerwen finishes tops to secure a point.
6-4 - Anderson regains his range by finishing 68 on tops to hit back.
7-4 - van Gerwen lands a 180 to leave 24, and when Anderson misses the bull he steps in to finish double 12 and seal the win.

Adrian Lewis v Kim Huybrechts
0-1 - Lewis lands a 180, but Huybrechts breaks throw on double ten.
1-1 - Lewis levels by hitting double ten to break back.
2-1 - Lewis fires in his second maximum before taking out 47 - at the second time of asking - to move ahead.
2-2 - Lewis lands a 177 but misses three darts at doubles, allowing Huybrechts in on double 16 to leve.
3-2 - Double ten sees Lewis edge back ahead.
3-3 - Huybrechts hits two 180s and seven perfect darts, and although a nine-darter goes begging the Belgian defies a 180 in reply from Lewis to land double eight.
4-3 - Huybrechts fires in his third 180 of the game, but Lewis regains the lead on tops.
4-4 - Lewis misses three darts at doubles to break, and Huybrechts finishes double two to level again.
5-4 - Huybrechts posts a fourth maximum, but can only watch on as Lewis finishes 72 on tops to move back ahead.
5-5 - Double top sees Huybrechts draw level again.
6-5 - Lewis lands a 180, his fourth, before finishing 80 to secure a point.
6-6 - Huybrechts finishes 62 in two darts on double 16 to claim his first point of the season with a draw.

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