OK, so it’s not May, we’re not looking forward to the summer and it’s not taking place in London’s O2 Arena, but at long, long last the Darts Premier League has reached the playoff stage.
For London’s docklands, read Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and for live and noisy crowd– read: fake piped in atmospheric cheers — but hey after this most horrible of years, let’s be thankful for some top-level PDC darts at its finest.
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A look at the final matches
Fresh off the back of the World Grand Prix, which only finished on Monday, bringing yet another PDC major for the new world number two Gerwyn Price. We have another top PDC award up for grabs as Thursday sees the complete final night of Premier League Darts 2020.
Price will not be there sadly, his league form poor enough to only render a fifth-place finish, one ahead of Michael van Gerwen who also misses out. The absence of the world’s top two should offer hope for the remaining four, which includes World Champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright.
As well as Peter Wright, the remaining four include table topper Glen Durrant, Gary Anderson and Nathan Aspinall. The two semi-finals will be played over the best of 19 legs each.
The first semi-final is between Glen Durrant and Gary Anderson, leaving Peter Wright to face Nathan Aspinall in number two.
As noted, Durrant ended the group stage on the top of the table making him only the third darter to do so in the tournament’s 15-year history, while Anderson is the only former Premier League champion left in the competition.
Before we look at the semis in greater detail, the outright prices from bet365 for the 2020 Darts Premier League are as follows.
As the highest-ranked player in the tourney, world number three Peter Wright is worth 13/8, ahead of Gary Anderson at 11/4. Glen Durrant is a sizeable 7/2 given his dominance thus far and Nathan Aspinall at 10/3 is also very generous. Given that it really isn’t very hard to imagine a Durrant/Aspinall final, those prices are indeed tempting.
Glen Durrant V Gary Anderson
Earlier in the competition, Durrant beat Anderson 7-4 in week three while the pair drew the rematch 7-7 in Week 11.
Could this be the night where Anderson is victorious? Possibly. I mean the guy is a two-times world champion and is capable of showing glimpses of his previous levels even if the Scottish veteran’s game is generally slowing down these days.
He remains one of the finest darters of all time and last week made it to the last eight of the World Grand Prix, averaging 90 along the way.
In contrast, Durrant had an atrocious Grand Prix, dropping out in round one at the hands of Dave Chisnall, citing technical issues whatever that means. Duzza has been messing around with his flights and will hopefully have settled on a set come Thursday if he is get the reward his Premier League form deserves.
Duzza has been the Premier League’s best player so far this season, but Gary has the titles, PDC at least, so it is a tough one to call. I’m backing Durrant in this one, however, providing he makes his mind up about those darts on time.
Peter Wright v Nathan Aspinall
On the two occasions these two met in the earlier rounds, Snakebite won both and with more than a little bit of breathing room too, averaging 106. Given this, he should be happy with the draw. The Asp was going great guns prior to the shutdown but hasn’t been in the best form since the live restart.
Like Durrant, both Wright and Aspinall exited the World Grand Prix in the first round. Aspinall busted out in round one of the Matchplay too, albeit to eventual winner Dimitri van den Bergh.
On form, Wright should take this despite a disappointing World Grand Prix, but the Asp can be very dangerous and might have the bigger of two snake bites here.
QUICK GLANCE AT DARTS PREMIER LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS
Venue: Ricoh Arena, Coventry
Format: Best of 19, 21
Current Champion: Michael van Gerwen
Where To Watch: Sky Sports Arena
When To Watch: (1900 GMT)