Van Gerwen celebrated a record-breaking third consecutive nightly win in the Premier League
Michael van Gerwen celebrated a record-breaking third consecutive nightly win in the Premier League
With his 6-4 victory over World Champion Michael Smith on Night Six in Liverpool, Michael van Gerwen set a new record for most consecutive victories in the Cazoo Premier League.
After claiming back-to-back victories in Dublin and Exeter, Van Gerwen travelled to the M&S Bank Arena and continued his dominance to become the first player to win three straight nights since the Premier League’s nightly knockout format was introduced.
The Dutchman won decisively 6-2 against Jonny Clayton to start his Night Six campaign. He then defeated Peter Wright 6-1 to advance to a match against Smith.
The pair began with 15-dart holds before Van Gerwen struck first, punishing three missed doubles darts from the St Helens star to break in leg three.
Van Gerwen extended his lead with a 14-darter, but Smith fought back with a clinical 111 combination, which he followed with back-to-back 180s in leg six.
Smith was unable to replicate his nine-dart magic against the Dutchman, but after tying the match with a 12-darter, he continued his blistering burst with an 11-dart hold in leg seven.
Van Gerwen, however, was unfazed, regaining the lead with a 14-dart break in leg nine before winning on double ten, after Smith had wired a dart at the bull to force a decider.
“You have to turn up in a final against a player like Michael Smith, and I’m glad I did,” said Van Gerwen, who has won his last nine Premier League matches and is now eight points clear at the top of the league table.
“When you are under pressure, it’s the best feeling in the world to produce good darts. It gives you joy and it gives you confidence.
“I know how to win without playing my A-game, but I think in patches tonight against Michael Smith, I did play really well.
“I am not where I want to be yet, but I am winning games and when you see the table, I can’t really complain!”
Smith was battling illness ahead of Thursday’s action, but he won battling victories over Dimitri Van den Bergh and Nathan Aspinall to take a valuable three points on Merseyside and strengthen his position in second place in the league table.
In his 6-3 victory over Van den Bergh, the world number one produced 110 and 122 finishes before crashing in five 180s to dispatch a sluggish Aspinall and advance to the evening’s showpiece.
In the quarter-finals, Aspinall produced a flawless performance to defeat Night One winner Chris Dobey for the fifth time in a row, converting all six of his doubles attempts in a 6-4 victory.
Dobey fell to a ton-plus average for the second week in a row, as Aspinall converted 112, 143, and 100 combinations to stay in the top four.
Meanwhile, Wright opened his Premier League account in 2023 with a dramatic 6-5 victory over Gerwyn Price in the evening’s curtain-raiser, despite missing eight match darts in a dramatic finale.
Wright raced to a 5-2 lead before Price responded to tie the match at five apiece, but the Welshman was unable to complete the comeback, missing three match darts in the decider.
2023 Cazoo Premier League
Night Six – Thursday March 9
M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
Peter Wright 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Chris Dobey
Michael Smith 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Peter Wright
Michael Smith 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Michael Smith