Play-off spots still up for grabs in Premier League
It has been one of the strongest Premier League’s in the history of the competition, and with only two weeks of round robin games to go, the line up for the play-offs is still unknown.
With Phil Taylor occupying top spot in the Premier League and sealing his place in the semi-finals a long while ago, three places still need to be filled with six players fighting for them.
Of the six, Simon Whitlock, James Wade and Adrian Lewis are in the best positions as they are second, third and fourth in the table. Raymond van Barneveld, Kevin Painter and Andy Hamilton are the players in fifth, sixth and seventh, but for the latter two time is running out for them to get close to the play-off places.
Painter and Hamilton are both on nine points and are three off Lewis in the final semi-final spot. Anything other than a victory will end their hopes.
As debutants both have done extremely well in the Premier League. For week 13, Painter faces double and reigning world champion Lewis, while Hamilton kicks off the night against Whitlock.
Last week, three of the four matches ended in draws, but for Painter his one against Wade was a costly one.
The Artist was brushing aside the former champion at 4-1 and 7-4 and looked to have the victory in the bag. However, Wade dug deep and hit back to take the final three legs and snatch a point, boosting his hopes whilst damaging Painter’s at the same time.
In their first meeting, Lewis romped to an 8-3 victory over Painter, which was his first of the competition. Since then, Lewis has been firing, and is the only man to beat Taylor so far. His form has been great, and he should join Taylor in the semis.
Hamilton led Barney last week but had to settle for a point against the big Dutchman. This year’s world finalist plays Australian Whitlock- who came close to beating Taylor in his last match when he was 3-1 up on the Power. It will be tough for Hamilton to break down Whitlock, but he has history when facing the beard to be feared.
Hamilton came from 5-3 down to win 6-5 in sets in this year’s world championship semis, while at the World Matchplay last year Hamilton stunned Whitlock by coming from 15-8 down to win 17-15 in the quarter-finals.
Whitlock will be tough to break down and has been playing superbly in the Premier League this year, and as he is on the verge of the semis, he won’t slip up.
Gary Anderson will not be defending his crown in the semi-finals after the Scot could only draw with Lewis last Thursday, but it was a thrilling encounter and one that saw the real Anderson turn up.
With the death of his father and problems with his shoulder, Anderson hasn’t been at his best, and without a win in seven weeks he will only have two games left as he cannot make it into the play-offs.
The way he battled against Lewis was superb, and the old Anderson was on the oche. Even though he cannot qualify, he’ll use the next lot of games as a confidence booster for the rest of the season.
Anderson can hurt Barney’s chances of reaching the play-offs now he is back to playing well again.
Five-time world champion Van Barneveld hasn’t won in three matches now, and he is choosing the wrong time to go on a bad run. He has so much experience, and will need to call on it to claw himself into the vital positions.
The final match of the night is between Taylor and Wade, a repeat of the 2010 final where Taylor created history by throwing two nine darters in the final to lift the trophy.
Those outside of the play-off positions need wins, and those inside them have their destiny in their own hands, making it all to play for this week.
İsmail Vedat- Follow me on twitter
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