Friday, 9 March 2012

Premier League - Night 5

My only quibble with the Premier League format is that it stops in May. Having 8 top-notch players serve up cracking darts matches week after week for the first four and a half months of the year only serves to make the withdrawal symptoms worse later, when one can wait up to two months between televised events.

Andy Hamilton must have been getting a sense of deja vu, after last week's match against Barney, as he took an early lead against Kevin Painter only to have the Artist come racing back from 4-2 down to 8-5 victor. Wayne Mardle in the commentary box suggested Hamilton look for the positives in his performance, but to be fair there are only so many ways one can be positive about losing 6 of the last 7 legs. Kevin Painter never looks happy at the oche, but he put in a solid performance and should feel pleased with himself.

Phil Taylor rather turned the tables on Gary Anderson, who last week gave Adrian Lewis an 8-1 drubbing, and demolished the reigning Premier League champ 8-1 in turn. It wasn't really that Anderson did much wrong, but against Phil Taylor in this kind of form one doesn't really have to. Touch wood, the Power has put his earlier colly wobbles behind him, and is playing like a man revitalised. After nearly 25 years at the top of a professional sport, most players would become tired, but Taylor never seems to have any less driving ambition than the day he first picked up a dart. Taylor, I think we would have to say, is favourite to remain top of the League, but of course once the play offs start anything can happen, so there's hope for Anderson et. al. too :o)

James Wade continued rebuilding his Premier League run, after a thoroughly shaky start. Against Painter last week, and against Barney this week, he played much more like the deadly accurate and business-like performer we know him to be, and that's a very good sign. Wade seems to have fragile confidence - one big loss, or even one bad leg, can lead him to fall apart. Hopefully his well-fought 8-6 win over Barney will help keep his morale up for the rest of the Premier League, because when he's firing on all cylinders he's both great to watch and dangerous to play.

Last up were Whitlock and Lewis, who started out trading legs and trading 180s in what was looking to be an epic. Phil Taylor is often compared to Ronnie O'Sullivan, but actually Lewis is a better comparison; like Ronnie O'Sullivan, an in-form Adrian Lewis is practically unbeatable, but also like O'Sullivan he is mercurial, and too often lacks consistency. Whitlock was as solid as the Rock of Ages, but Lewis lost the brilliance of the opening legs, and it cost him the match 8-4.

So much for Brighton; Glasgow next week, where all the cheers will be for Anderson and Barney :o) I'd never thought of Brighton as a darting city, but the venue was packed to the rafters and the crowd was great. Can't wait for May, when the Premier League comes to Newcastle - and this year my car will work even if I have to rebuild it from scratch the day before :o)

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