Another Fright Night For Wright As Bully Boy Dishes Out A Beating

Peter Wright pays ytribute to Jim Bowen

Not even the colourful tribute to the late, great Jim Bowen who died last Wednesday could stop Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright from suffering yet another nightmare at the oche, this time in Nottingham. In honour of the great man, Wright sported an image of the 1980’s TV show Bullseye’s mascot “Bully,” but it was another Bully, Michael Smith, who shot him down by seven legs to one. Only one week earlier, Wright lost to Mensur Suljovic by the same score line. On Sunday, Wright was beaten 6-1 by Brendan Dolan in the Players Championship, making for very poor form for the world number two.

Smith was on the rebound of his own defeat a week ago, albeit his only loss in the league so far, which was at the hands of world champion Rob Cross. This time, Smith averaged 95 and landed seven of his 13 double attempts to give Wright’s his second successive thumping in as many weeks.

In match two, Daryl Gurney and Simon Whitlock each took home a share of the points following a 6-6 draw. Gurney is still without a victory in his first ever Premier League campaign and needed to survive four match darts from The Wizard in the deciding leg in order to save the tie. Earlier, Superchin had come from a leg down to lead 3-1 before Whitlock moved back ahead after winning the seventh leg courtesy of a 133 checkout. However, four misses in the final leg allowed Gurney back in and he duly took advantage of Whitlock’s generosity by landing a double eight to split the points.

This match was followed by Rob Cross and Mensur Suljovic with Voltage proving too powerful for The Big Gentle. His superiority was apparent in the 7-2 victory that brought his winning streak to four on the spin and moves him up to third in the table. Cross also posted his highest Premier League average so far — 106.49 — while hitting three 180s and delivering seven from nine darts at the doubles. Suljovic, who destroyed Snakebite 7-1 in Leeds, managed four darts at a double himself. But it was not enough to take home any points this week.

Michael van Gerwen keeps his place at the top of the Premier League Darts table following his 7-3 win over Gerwyn Price who remains winless. MVG required that exact score line to stay above Smith in the table following his earlier mauling of Wright, achieving it with the help of the rather tidy average of 104.8 along with a checkout percentage of 58.33%. The match was evenly split after four legs, but a 152-checkout put Mighty Mike ahead before finishes of 95, 71 and 117, plus an 11-darter, settled the tie.

The night’s final match saw Gary Anderson come from behind to earn his third league draw of the season, this time against Raymond van Barneveld. It was yet another match in which The Flying Scotsman was required to dig deep and come from behind to claim his points having previously produced comebacks against Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney. This time Barney led by six legs to four, but in shooting for the win, missed five match darts that gifted Anderson a lifeline. It was a lifeline the Scotsman gratefully accepted by taking out a 144 checkout and saving a point.

Premier League Darts betting tips

Matchday Eight will take place today, the 22nd, at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow with televised coverage available on Sky Sports Action HD and Sky Sports Main Event HD from 19.00 GMT.

Daryl Gurney and Mensur Suljovic kick things off this week with little to split the pair. Both players sit just above the drop zone on four points meaning we only have recent form to go on. What this means that, assuming the match doesn’t head for a tie, Mensur will have the slight upper hand.

His form of late has been good, and out of these two, should feel unlucky not to have more points on the board right now. Daryl is also playing well but is dropping far too many doubles making the Big Gentle the easier bet.

Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith are next out in a battle of the top two. Smith has been massively impressive in his league campaign so far and is certainly capable of causing a shock here, making this one of those rare weeks where MVG isn’t a guaranteed win. That said, I can’t see Bully Boy beating the Dutchman when all is said and done. As good a campaign as Smith is having, Mighty Mike is simply a class apart from the rest. Given this tie presents him with the opportunity to go clear at the top, he has an added incentive to win, making him even harder to stop than normal. As always, backing MVG is pointless, but we like van Gerwen to win by over 2.5 legs, hit a 100+ checkout and average over 100 which pays 5/2.

Match three sees Gary Anderson take on Simon Whitlock with The Flying Scotsman trailing back in sixth place with only five points collected so far, which is hardly fitting for a two-time world champion and current world number three. His tally sees him two points behind the fourth-spot, which is currently occupied by this week’s opponent The Wizard. The only way these two can switch places is for Anderson to record a win so big that he goes above his rival on leg difference. While I don’t think that will happen I do expect the Scotsman to win, albeit by a much closer margin.

If Gary Anderson can feel worried about his position, that’s nothing compared to the spectacular break down in form suffered by his countryman Peter Wright, who after being beaten 7-1 twice in a row sits in the relegation zone, one spot off the bottom. Hardly fitting for the world number two. Tonight’s opponent Raymond van Barneveld is ahead in the table and in a much better position mentally. Barney is seeing how far his game can take him this year, coming across pretty relaxed and enjoying his darts overall, unlike Snakebite whose head seems to be getting the better of him. For this reason alone, I’m backing Barney this week. Why not try van Barneveld to win, hit the most 180s and average under 100, worth 9/2 at Betway?

We end the night with Rob Cross versus Gerwyn Price in a match that really should be going Cross’ way. His form is better and so is his mentality right now. Price sits at the very bottom of the table with Betway laying as short as 1/8 for him to miss the cut. While it’s true that he deserves more than the two points he has, it also says something about his game right now that he hasn’t collected more. I can’t really see any other result than Rob winning this one. At Betway, Cross to win, hit the most 180s and Price to average under 95 pays at 3/1.

This week’s boosted treble from Betway sees one line on van Gerwen, van Barneveld and Cross, up from 3/1 to 4/1. Or, our line (Suljovic, MVG, Anderson, RVB and Cross) adds up to 13/1 at Betway.

  • (6/4) Daryl Gurney v Mensur Suljovic (5/4)
  • (3/10) Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith (6/1)
  • (4/9) Gary Anderson v Simon Whitlock (5/1)
  • (6/4) Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld (5/4)
  • (4/11) Rob Cross v Gerwyn Price (11/2)