Clayton claims playoff place as Van den Bergh takes Aberdeen title
Clayton claims playoff place as Van den Bergh takes Aberdeen title.
Dimitri Van den Bergh finished the Cazoo Premier League for this season with a victory on Night 16, while on a thrilling night in Aberdeen, Jonny Clayton qualified for the Play-Offs.
Before travelling to Aberdeen, Van den Bergh was one of just two competitors in this year’s event without a nightly victory under his belt. However, the Belgian changed that with a triumph on the final night of league phase play.
The former World Matchplay champion defeated Michael Smith 6-4 to begin his campaign, holding off a late comeback to snap Smith’s Premier League winning streak of nine games.
Following Michael van Gerwen’s withdrawal due to a shoulder injury sustained during his quarterfinal victory over Chris Dobey at P&J Live, van den Bergh was given a bye into Thursday’s championship match.
As a result, Van den Bergh faced up against table-topper Gerwyn Price for the Night 16 championship. In an exciting last-leg match, Van den Bergh prevailed, earning the £10,000 winner’s prize on Scottish soil.
“I have given my all and it managed to work out for me tonight,” reflected Van den Bergh, who leapfrogs Chris Dobey to finish the season in sixth spot.
“I had a chance and I took it. Fair play to Gezzy. He showed his class yet again, but I stuck in, and I’m so happy with this win.
“It’s my first time being in this position in the Premier League, travelling week in week out across Europe. I have given my best and it wasn’t meant to be but I have never given up.
“I have to say thank you so much to the PDC. I felt really honoured to be part of this, and while it didn’t happen this time, nobody can say I will never be back.”
Van den Bergh turned in his best performance of the evening to prevent Price from earning his fifth nightly victory of the year by intercepting the Welshman’s throw in the decisive game and winning in a wild contest.
The first six games were against throw, but the Belgian scored a stunning 148 checkout to take the lead in the third leg. Despite this, Price kept catching up with him.
In leg seven, Van den Bergh regained control with an 11-dart break. In leg eight, he finished off the game’s first hold by hitting a 13-darter on tops to put himself one leg away from victory.
Price managed to survive a match dart in leg nine before producing a 12-dart break to force a decider. Unfortunately, Price blew three match darts in the thrilling conclusion, and Van den Bergh took full advantage to celebrate a historic victory.
Price, who impressively advanced to the season’s ninth consecutive final, becomes just the sixth player in Premier League history to win the league phase.
The Battle For The O2
The Welshman kicked off Thursday’s competition with a decisive 6-2 victory over local favourite Peter Wright, average 103 and clinching the match with a magnificent 129 checkout.
In addition, Aspinall averaged 103 to destroy his Play-Off foe Clayton 6-1, bringing him even with the Welshman in terms of points before his pivotal semifinal match versus Price.
Aspinall, the 2020 runner-up, lost 6-3 against the league leader in a competitive game, failing to earn the victory necessary to guarantee a top-four spot.
The night before, Van Gerwen, the defending champion, defeated Dobey 6-3, but not before suffering a shoulder injury. He raced out to a 5-0 lead before pushing through agony in the closing minutes.
Van den Bergh had to settle for third place despite undergoing treatment following the match because the six-time champion was unable to face him in the final four.
Clayton finished in fourth place, the same spot from which he won the championship on his debut in 2021, and Price finished the league phase six points ahead of Smith in second.
Next week, the season-ending Play-Offs for the 2023 Cazoo Premier League take place at The O2, as Price, Smith, Van Gerwen, and Clayton compete for the coveted championship in the city.
Table-topper Price will face his fellow Welshman Clayton in an all-Welsh semifinal, followed by a rematch of the World Championship final between Smith and Van Gerwen.
The victors of each semi-final will then go to the evening’s main event as the competition for the top prize of £275,000 comes an exciting conclusion.
2023 Cazoo Premier League
Night 16 – Thursday May 18
P&J Live, Aberdeen
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Jonny Clayton
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Chris Dobey
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Dimitri Van den Bergh Bye (Michael van Gerwen withdrew due to injury).
Van den Bergh is awarded the win, 1 league point and +1 leg difference. Van Gerwen receives -6 legs difference.
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Gerwyn Price