Premier Darts Week 1 – Phil Taylor Whitewashed
Yes that’s right, the great man Phil Taylor was dramatically whitewashed for the first time yesterday by the new world number 1 Michael van Gerwen.
Taylor strode to the oche sporting new darts and a leaner figure. The usual Taylor edge never eventuated however, as Michael van Gerwen made no errors in winning 7 legs on the spin. Taylor still averaged 99, but being that step below his best meant that he was at the mercy of van Gerwen who averaged an incredible 110. Perhaps the most telling sign was Taylor’s 4 missed darts at double. Normally Taylor would be taking those chances and getting himself into the fight. But he didn’t.
Now this might sound a bit ridiculous and I don’t doubt that Taylor will be back at the top of his game before you know it, but I’m wondering how much Taylor’s weight loss has contributed to his (relatively) poor start to the Premier League season. There are many large dart players and its reasonable to talk about the advantages of having an anchored centre of gravity at the oche. With Taylor shedding kilos, perhaps he was just a little unbalanced? It might take more getting used to that than new darts!
Simon Whitlock unfortunately had an extremely rusty start, losing 7-1 to Adrian Lewis – narrowly avoiding another whitewash (he would have become the first player to be whitewashed twice in the Premier League). The news was that he was coming off the back of the flu or something, so an out of sorts performance was excusable – we need to hope that the Wizard will be back straight away next week. Take nothing away from Lewis, he continued his good form from the World Championships.
One of the highlights on the night was Raymond van Barneveld’s performance against Gary Anderson. After the first few legs Barney was averaging over 120, it was a performance to behold. Barney is fantastic to watch when he is playing at his best and this 7-2 victory was easily one of these occasions. 6 180’s, 2 ton plus checkouts and 70% on the doubles. Awesome.
In the other games, Robert Thornton threw away his chances of beating Dave Chisnall, missing a number of doubles at crucial times. Chisnall kicked off his Premier League career in the right way. Peter Wright showed that his World Championship wasn’t a one off performance by being far too good for Wes Newtown, winning 7-3.