MICHAEL VAN GERWEN smashed the world record televised average with a stunning new standard of 123.40 as he stormed to a 7-1 win over Michael Smith in the Betway Premier League's visit to Aberdeen on Thursday night.
Van Gerwen powered past Phil Taylor's previous best of 118.66, set against Kevin Painter at the 2010 UK Open, with an unplayable performance to delight a capacity crowd at the GE Oil & Gas Arena.
The Dutchman fired in legs of 11, 12, 11 and 12 darts to open up a four-leg lead in just over four minutes, before hitting back-to-back ten-dart finishes to push his average above 135 in-running.
Three missed doubles to record a whitewash win allowed Smith in to finish 116 in the seventh leg, but double 16 in the next sealed van Gerwen's incredible performance, as well as his third successive win this season.
"It's fantastic," said van Gerwen, who could have averaged 136 had he landed double 18 to win the seventh leg. "I'm always thinking about 110, 115 averages but not 123!
"I felt confident straight away and I played well from the start, so I'm happy with my performance and it was an amazing game.
"When I was 6-0 up I realised I could make some records and I missed a couple of doubles. If you play like this it's amazing and I'm really glad it came out tonight. I hope I can do this many more times in the future."
A night of stunning quality also saw Taylor average 115.25 in his 7-5 victory over Dave Chisnall in another exceptional contest - with the six-time champion recording the 11th highest televised average in history to respond to van Gerwen.
Chisnall led 3-1 at one stage and hit three 11-dart legs during the game, but Taylor took out a key 126 in his revival before capitalising on his rival's two misses to snatch a draw by returning on double eight to claim the win in a dramatic decider.
"Everything's coming together and I'm so pleased I played well tonight," said Taylor. "I'm trying hard and every time I looked Dave seemed to be hitting a 180.
"I'm over the moon to win - it's all about scrambling to make the cut, and I've got six points in the bag."
Reigning Premier League champion Gary Anderson had earlier brought the 4,000-strong Aberdeen crowd to its feet with a memorable 7-3 win over Raymond van Barneveld to get his season back on track.
The World Champion had lost his two matches since missing the opening week through illness, but was back to his heavy-scoring best to see off the Dutchman with a 103.34 average as he took five of the game's final six legs.
"It's not often we get to Scotland and when we do get here you want to play well and win, but once the crowd started singing and changing I found it really hard to concentrate," said Anderson.
"I've never had a reception like that - I was shaking."
He added: "Turning up to Aberdeen with no points wasn't good. I needed to get a point and to get two's a bonus against Barney. I need to get back on the practice board but although I'm not 100 percent I'm getting there."
Peter Wright remains a point clear of van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis and Taylor after he continued his unbeaten start to the season with a draw against Robert Thornton, who picked up his first point of the campaign.
A mid-game surge had seen winless Thornton take three successive legs for a 6-4 lead, but Wright battled back to claim a share of the spoils from the all-Scottish clash.
Lewis, meanwhile, continued his strong start to the season by claiming his third win out of four matches in another thrilling contest as he edged out James Wade 7-5.
Wade led 2-0 at one stage and took out 120 and 121 in successive legs to open up a 5-3 lead, but Lewis finished 142 and an 11-darter to move 6-5 up before taking the deciding leg on double one after the left-hander missed eight darts for a draw.
"I'm really pleased with that," said Lewis. "I couldn't score much better than that and I want to keep this going.
"Both of us were playing really well and James took out some massive finishes and it came to the last leg and neither of us could get over the line - but I got away with it."
The Betway Premier League continues at the Westpoint Arena in Exeter next Thursday, with the four matches including the top four clashing as Taylor meets Lewis and Wright faces van Gerwen.
Betway Premier League
Night Four - February 25
GE Oil & Gas Arena, Aberdeen
Adrian Lewis 7-5 James Wade
Gary Anderson 7-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Michael van Gerwen 7-1 Michael Smith
Phil Taylor 7-5 Dave Chisnall
Peter Wright 6-6 Robert Thornton
Adrian Lewis v James Wade
0-1 - Lewis is first to a finish but misses five darts at double top and ten, allowing Wade in to break on double 14.
0-2 - The leg sees three successive 180s hit, with two maximums coming from Wade before he lands tops to complete a 12-darter to double his advantage.
1-2 - Lewis finishes tops to hit back.
2-2 - Wade misses darts at double eight and four, and Lewis follows a 180 by capitalising on tops to level the game.
2-3 - Wade fires in a maximum before breaking throw for a second time, landing double eight.
3-3 - Double ten sees Lewis break back once again to square the contest.
3-4 - Wade takes out a clinical 120 finish to win another leg against the throw and regain the advantage.
3-5 - The pair trade 180s, but Lewis is left waiting on 41 as Wade finishes 121 on the bull to move two legs clear with a second successive ton-plus checkout.
4-5 - Lewis hits back by landing double four.
5-5 - Wade wires double 14 for a 148 checkout, and Lewis steps in to finish 142 with a superb combination to level a high-quality contest.
6-5 - Both players hit 180s before Lewis finishes 64 on double eight for a sensational 11-darter to move ahead for the first time in the game, securing at least a draw.
7-5 - The game enjoys a dramatic ending, with Lewis missing six darts to claim victory only for Wade to miss eight darts to claim a point, allowing the 2011 Premier League finalist back in on double one to finally seal the points.
Gary Anderson v Raymond van Barneveld
1-0 - Anderson makes a flying start by finishing 121 on the bull, with van Barneveld sat on 40.
1-1 - Double 16 sees van Barneveld level.
2-1 - Anderson misses four darts at doubles, but van Barneveld misses tops to steal the leg as the World Champion returns on double one.
2-2 - van Barneveld lands a 180 and tops to hit back.
3-2 - The pair trade 180s, with van Barneveld missing tops for a 120 finish to break throw, allowing the Scot to hit double 18 and edge ahead.
4-2 - Anderson fires in another maximum before hitting tops to break and move two legs clear.
5-2 - The reigning Premier League champion hits a 180 for a third straight leg before double four pushes him three legs ahead of his rival.
5-3 - The duo swap 180s before Anderson is punished for two misses at double 16 as van Barneveld hits tops to respond.
6-3 - Double top sees Anderson secure his first point of the season.
7-3 - Anderson seals his first win of the 2016 Betway Premier League on double four.
Michael van Gerwen v Michael Smith
1-0 - van Gerwen makes an explosive start with an 11-dart finish, taking out 87 on double 18.
2-0 - Smith lands a 180, but van Gerwen replies in kind before finishing tops for a 12-darter to break throw.
3-0 - van Gerwen hits a 174 score and defies another maximum from Smith by taking out 87 again for a second 11-darter - with legs of 11, 12 and 11 darts he is averaging 132 in-running!
4-0 - van Gerwen's incredible form continues as he finishes 132 with a spectacular bullseye, bullseye, double 16 combination to thrill the capacity Aberdeen crowd.
5-0 - The Dutchman opens with two 180s and adds another treble 20, missing the treble 19 for a possible nine-darter but going on to finish double 16 for a ten-darter.
6-0 - The astonishing display continues as van Gerwen scores 140, 180 and 145 before double 18 secures a second successive ten-dart leg and seals a minimum of a point - averaging over 135 van Gerwen is on course to smash the world record televised average.
6-1 - van Gerwen misses three darts at double 18 to compete the win, and Smith takes out 116 on tops to hit back - landing his first dart at a double in the game.
7-1 - van Gerwen lands double 16, at the second time of asking, to complete the win with a world record televised average of 123.40.
Phil Taylor v Dave Chisnall
1-0 - Double 16 gives Taylor the opening leg.
1-1 - Taylor lands a 180 but misses double 12 for a 141 finish, allowing Chisnall in on tops to level.
1-2 - Chisnall opens with a 180 before breaking throw by taking out 88 for an 11-darter, with Taylor sat on 36.
1-3 - Chisnall adds a second successive 11-darter, hitting another maximum and double 18.
2-3 - Taylor opens with six perfect darts of two 180s, with Chisnall landing a maximum in reply but unable to prevent Taylor finishing an 11-darter.
3-3 - Taylor takes out 126 on double six to level with a superb 12-darter.
4-3 - Double 16 sees Taylor level another high-quality contest, despite Chisnall opening with a 180.
4-4 - Chisnall kicks off with his fifth 180 before finishing tops for a third 11-darter of the contest - with both players averaging 115!
5-4 - Taylor edges back in front by hitting double top.
5-5 - Chisnall hits double top in reply to level the contest.
6-5 - Chisnall posts another maximum, only for double 16 to seal a minimum of a point for Taylor.
7-5 - Taylor tees up a possible nine-darter for the second time in the game with two 180s, and after the perfect leg slips away once again, he recovers from missing two darts at double 16 to land double eight after Chisnall wastes two darts at tops to claim a draw.
Peter Wright v Robert Thornton
1-0 - Wright takes out 100 on tops to claim the opening leg.
1-1 - Thornton levels, hitting a 180 before finishing 95 on tops.
2-1 - Wright lands a 180 and tops to move back into the lead.
2-2 - Thornton pins double five with his third dart to take the leg as he squares the game again.
3-2 - Wright hits double top for a third time in the game.
3-3 - Thornton lands a 180 before punishing a miss at tops from Wright by returning on double one.
4-3 - Wright takes out 81 to edge back in front.
4-4 - Double 12 sees Thornton hold throw once more to level.
4-5 - Wright misses double 12 to finish 138, allowing Thornton in to take out 60 on tops for a break of throw to move ahead for the first time.
4-6 - Thornton secures his first point of the season, finishing 80 on double five to secure at least a draw from the match.
5-6 - Wright misses double six to finish 126, but Thornton misses tops to claim the win as his rival returns on double three to send the game into a deciding leg.
6-6 - Wright lands a 174 score to be first to a finish before completing a 14-darter to claim a draw and remain a point clear at the top of the league table.
THE draw for the first two rounds of the Coral UK Open has been made, with former champion Robert Thornton set to star on the main stage at the Butlins Minehead Resort when the tournament kicks off on Friday March 4.
The Ł300,000 Coral UK Open Televised Finals see 128 players competing at the Butlins Minehead Resort, with play in the early rounds being split across eight stages simultaneously, live on ITV4.
A total of 96 professional players won through the six Ł60,000 Coral UK Open Qualifiers held in Wigan during February, while a further 32 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers complete the field after coming through open knockouts held in Rileys Sports Bars.
The top 32 players from the UK Open Order of Merit - including reigning UK Open champion Michael van Gerwen, World Champion Gary Anderson, 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor and 2014 UK Open champion Adrian Lewis - will enter the action in Friday evening's third round.
Friday afternoon's first round sees the players ranked from 65-96 in the UK Open Order of Merit joined by the 32 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers, with the players ranked from 33-64 coming in for the second round.
The first round draw will see former UK Open finalist Wes Newton kicking off the event on the Main Stage in the Skyline Pavilion against Mark Cox.
Belgium's Ronny Huybrechts will play Rileys Qualifier Mark Rice, before veteran star Dennis Smith meets Alex Roy, who also won through the Rileys Qualifiers, before Andy Smith plays Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena.
Stage Two, which is situated in Reds Bar, will kick off with a trio of matches as professional aces meet Rileys Qualifiers, with Andy Boulton up against Lee Grimshaw, William O'Connor playing Mark Jodrill and Sweden's Magnus Caris facing Jason Molds, before Ireland's Mick McGowan plays former World Youth Championship finalist Nathan Aspinall.
Stages Three to Eight will be located in the Centre Stage area, with the stars in first round action including former World Youth Champion Arron Monk against Rileys Qualifier Stewart Rattray, former UK Open semi-finalist Alan Tabern facing youngster Harry Ward and Paul Hogan - a Rileys Qualifier who reached the last 32 a year ago - taking on Daniel Day.
The second round action on the Main Stage will include 2012 UK Open champion Robert Thornton's meeting with either Monk or Rattray, while former Players Championship Finals winner Kevin Painter meets Rileys Qualifier John Scott or Dean Winstanley.
Austrian youngster Rowby-John Rodriguez will play Lee Evans, while UK Open debutant Jeffrey de Graaf takes on either William O'Connor or Mark Jodrill.
Stage Two's second round games include Mark Dudbridge - who hit a nine-dart finish in the UK Open Qualifiers - up against Dutchman Joey Ten Berge and Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan taking on one of two Rileys Qualifiers, Steven Rose or Scott Marsh.
Andrew Gilding, a semi-finalist at the 2015 UK Open, will open his challenge in the second round against Ryan De Vreede or Nathan Derry, while two-time UK Open quarter-finalist Jamie Caven plays Gary Stone or Johnny Haines.
The third round draw for Friday evening's matches, which feature the top 32 players from the UK Open Order of Merit plus the second round winners, will be made on stage at the conclusion of the afternoon session.
2016 Coral UK Open
Schedule of Play - First & Second Rounds
Friday March 4
Afternoon Session (11.45am-5pm)
Mark Cox v Wes Newton
Ronny Huybrechts v Mark Rice
Dennis Smith v Alex Roy
Andy Smith v Jermaine Wattimena
Jeffrey de Graaf v William O'Connor/Mark Jodrill
Lee Evans v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Arron Monk/Stewart Rattray v Robert Thornton
Kevin Painter v John Scott/Dean Winstanley
Andy Boulton v Lee Grimshaw
William O'Connor v Mark Jodrill
Jason Molds v Magnus Caris
Mick McGowan v Nathan Aspinall
Matt Clark v Mike De Decker
Joey Ten Berge v Mark Dudbridge
Brendan Dolan v Steven Rose/Scott Marsh
Darron Brown v Ryan Harrington/Glen McGrandle
Kevin Dowling v Dick van Dijk
Curtis Turner v Jonathan Worsley
Arron Monk v Stewart Rattray
Barry Lynn v Dean Stewart
Gary Stone/Johnny Haines v Jamie Caven
Andy Brown/Mark Frost v Mark Barilli/Darren Layden
Yordi Meeuwisse v Robbie Green
Jay Foreman v Ronny Huybrechts/Mark Rice
Ben Green v Jason Hogg
Michael McFall v Dirk van Duijvenbode
Harry Ward v Alan Tabern
Daniel Day v Paul Hogan
Wayne Jones v Andy Jenkins
Chris Jones/Paul Milford v Jason Heaver/Steve Maish
Harry Ward/Alan Tabern v Josh Payne/Dave Parletti
Darren Webster/Lee Morris v Scott Dale
Mark Barilli v Darren Layden
Ian McFarlane v Jonny Clayton
Ryan De Vreede v Nathan Derry
Darren Webster v Lee Morris
Richie Corner v Berry van Peer
Dennis Smith/Alex Roy v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Barry Lynn/Dean Stewart v Brett Claydon
Jan Dekker/Andrew Davidson v Cristo Reyes
Andy Brown v Mark Frost
Paul Whitworth v Joe Murnan
Jan Dekker v Andrew Davidson
Jason Heaver v Steve Maish
Les Delderfield/Mark Wilson v Matthew Edgar
David Pallett v Jason Marriott
Ian McFarlane/Jonny Clayton v James Wilson
Mark Cox/Wes Newton v Ken MacNeil/Rob Cross
Les Delderfield v Mark Wilson
John Scott v Dean Winstanley
Chris Jones v Paul Milford
Steven Rose v Scott Marsh
Paul Whitworth/Joe Murnan v Ritchie Edhouse
Michael McFall/Dirk van Duijvenbode v Peter Hudson
Andy Smith/Jermaine Wattimena v Kevin Dowling/Dick van Dijk
Jason Molds/Magnus Caris v Ben Green/Jason Hogg
Gary Stone v Johnny Haines
Ken MacNeil v Rob Cross
Ryan Harrington v Glen McGrandle
Josh Payne v Dave Parletti
Curtis Turner/Jonathan Worsley v Andy Boulton/Lee Grimshaw
Andrew Gilding v Ryan De Vreede/Nathan Derry
Daniel Day/Paul Hogan v Tony Newell
Mick McGowan/Nathan Aspinall v Stuart Kellett
Friday March 4
Afternoon Session (11.45am-5pm)
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Saturday March 5
Afternoon Session (12.30pm-5pm)
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
Sunday March 6
Afternoon Session (12.45pm-5pm)
Evening Session (7pm-11pm)
First Round - Best of 11 legs
Second Round - Best of 11 legs
Third Round - Best of 17 legs
Fourth Round - Best of 17 legs
Fifth Round - Best of 17 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs
Fifth Round Losers Ł5,000
Fourth Round Losers Ł3,000
Third Round Losers Ł1,500
THREE AND EASY FOR WRIGHT IN BETWAY PREMIER LEAGUE!
PETER WRIGHT moved two points clear at the top of the Betway Premier League table with a comeback win over James Wade in Dublin on Thursday, as Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld thrilled a sell-out crowd at the 3Arena.
Wright is the only player with a perfect record following three weeks of the new Premier League season, having followed up his opening two wins with a high-quality 7-4 victory over Wade, averaging over 104 in a superb display.
Wade produced some fine darts as he took an early 3-1 lead, but Wright fired in a 13-darter to fire his challenge and pulled clear with a 161 checkout before sealing the points.
"James wasn't quite on his game and I took advantage," said Wright. "I was very nervous at the start and I started pretty slowly, but I felt confident and the darts came in the end.
"I felt pretty comfortable and the practice I've put in this week has paid off there. I'm happy, but I'm still not at my best and I know there's more to come."
2013 Premier League champion van Gerwen picked up a second successive win as he averaged 106.40 in a fine 7-4 win over Adrian Lewis in another thrilling contest.
Lewis hit back from an early 2-0 deficit to lead 4-3, but van Gerwen found an extra gear to reel off four straight legs and end the Stoke ace's winning start to the season.
"I really enjoyed the game," said van Gerwen. "It was a really important game for both of us and I think I played well, and I did enough to make sure my confidence keeps growing.
"At a couple of moments I wasn't too sure about my game but I did the right thing at the right moments. I did well and I'm really pleased with these two points."
Six-time Premier League champion Taylor condemned World Champion Gary Anderson to a second successive defeat with a 7-4 victory in their clash, winning four of the final five legs to claim his second straight win.
"I'm happy with the performance and to get the two points," said Taylor. "I'm really pleased with that because you know you've got to play well against Gary.
"You've got to go out and perform and I was consistent there. The crowd were fantastic and they loved it, so it was a good night all round."
2014 Premier League winner van Barneveld, meanwhile, hit checkouts of 116 and 153 against Robert Thornton, who took out 145 himself but missed one dart to snatch a draw in the game's final leg before the Dutchman edged to the win.
"I'm happy with the win," admitted van Barneveld. "I played a poor last leg but he missed his chance and let me in.
"Robert always comes back at you and he did again there - and he nearly got a draw. I'm happy with the performance and two points is really important right now because this is an open competition and everyone can beat everyone."
Youngster Michael Smith picked up his first Premier League point as he bounced back from three defeats in the opening two weeks by claiming a draw with Dave Chisnall in a see-saw encounter.
"That was a hard game so I'm pleased to get a point," said Smith. "Dave's a great friend and I think for the first two legs I was playing my mate up there but I gave it everything I've got.
"I missed a couple of darts to go 4-2 up and I did the same last week and got punished by James Wade, but I got back into it tonight and then Dave let me back in to go 6-5 up.
"Then I went and hit a 30 with my second score in the last leg and that killed me. I hit the 180 but then Dave checked out the 81 but I'm pleased now that I've got a point on the board and I know I've got a lot of improvement in me."
Chisnall produced two 11-dart finishes during the game, but admitted: "It feels like a point lost to me.
"When you go 6-5 down you're always happy to get a point, but I'd missed those doubles in the 11th. The 11-darter in the final leg was great.
"It was tough to play Michael and I think he'll get better. I started off well but it was a bit frustrating after that and I'm a little disappointed. I'll take the point and move on to next week."
The Betway Premier League season continues next Thursday with Night Four at the GE Oil & Gas Arena in Aberdeen.
Betway Premier League
Night Three - February 18
Peter Wright 7-4 James Wade
Dave Chisnall 6-6 Michael Smith
Phil Taylor 7-4 Gary Anderson
Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Adrian Lewis
Robert Thornton 5-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Peter Wright v James Wade
0-1 - Wade breaks throw immediately by landing double ten.
0-2 - Wade fires in a 162 score before finishing double six for a 14-darter to move two legs up.
1-2 - Wade lands a 180, but double six sees Wright claim his first leg of the contest.
1-3 - A third-dart double top sees Wade restore his two-leg cushion.
2-3 - The pair trade 180s before Wright finishes double 16 for a 13-darter to pull another leg.
3-3 - Wright levels the match by finishing double 16 to break.
4-3 - The colourful star finishes double four to win a third successive leg.
5-3 - Wright fires in his second 180 of the game before taking out a brilliant 161 checkout for a 12-darter to break throw and move two legs clear.
6-3 - Wright posts a third maximum before sealing a fifth straight leg by taking out 98 for a 12-darter to secure a minimum of a point.
6-4 - Wade's third 180 is followed by double ten as he continues his challenge.
7-4 - Wright takes out double top to complete a high-quality win, averaging 104.48 to claim a third successive victory.
Dave Chisnall v Michael Smith
1-0 - Chisnall kicks off the game with a 180 before finishing double three to claim the opening leg.
2-0 - Chisnall tees up a potential nine-darter with two 180s, and though he misses a seventh treble 20 he returns to mop up the leg with a brilliant 11-darter on double four.
2-1 - Smith hits back by landing double top to complete a solid 14-dart finish as he breaks throw.
2-2 - Double ten sees Smith level the contest, having weathered Chisnall's superb start.
2-3 - Smith fires in his first 180 before taking out tops to move ahead with a third successive leg.
3-3 - Chisnall hits his fourth maximum of the contest, and is given a reprieve for a miss at double 18 by returning to hit the bed to punish Smith's misses at double top and ten.
4-3 - Chisnall regains the lead by finishing 80 on double five to claim a second successive leg.
4-4 - Smith posts another 180 to give himself the breathing space to recover from three initial misses at tops to return and hit the bed to level.
5-4 - Chisnall fires in his fifth maximum of the game before landing tops to edge back in front.
5-5 - Smith follows his third 180 with tops to square the contest.
5-6 - Smith capitalises on Chisnall's three missed doubles by stepping in on tops to secure his first Betway Premier League point.
6-6 - Chisnall scores three successive 140s before Smith fires in a fourth 180, but the youngster can only watch on as the 2015 semi-finalist takes out double 12 for an 11-darter to grab a draw.
Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson
1-0 - Taylor lands the game's first 180 before finishing double eight to win the opening leg.
1-1 - Anderson kicks off with a 174 score before landing tops as he levels.
2-1 - Taylor clinically picks off a 101 checkout to hold throw once again.
2-2 - Anderson again replies, firing in his first 180 before taking out 96 on double 18.
3-2 - Double 18 edges Taylor back in front.
3-3 - Taylor lands his second 180 but pays for four missed darts at double seven, allowing Anderson in on double nine to hold throw and level.
4-3 - Taylor fires in a 180 and double four to move ahead once more.
5-3 - Taylor misses the bull to take out 161, but returns on double eight to break throw.
5-4 - Anderson breaks back, hitting a 180 and finishing 61 on double 18.
6-4 - Taylor's miss at the bull for a 167 finish is followed by Anderson missing the middle double to complete a 158 checkout, and the six-time Premier League champion returns on double eight to claim at least a point.
7-4 - Taylor completes victory by posting double 16 to claim a second successive win.
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
1-0 - van Gerwen lands a 180 before finishing double 16 for a 13-darter to make a superb start.
2-0 - Lewis opens leg two with a 180, but van Gerwen replies with another maximum before taking out 87 to break throw.
2-1 - Lewis lands his second 180 before hitting a third-dart double six to break back with his first leg of the game.
2-2 - Lewis is handed a let-off for a miss at double 11 when van Gerwen wires double 16, allowing the Stoke ace back in to finish double four as he levels.
3-2 - Double ten sees van Gerwen move back ahead.
3-3 - van Gerwen fires in a 180 but is punished for failing to give himself a dart at a double when on 81 as Lewis hits double ten to square the contest.
3-4 - Lewis breaks throw with a superb leg, following a 180 with a two-dart 85 finish to move ahead for the first time.
4-4 - Double 16 sees van Gerwen square the match with a break in reply.
5-4 - Lewis opens with a 180, but van Gerwen's double 16 sees him edge back into the lead.
6-4 - van Gerwen posts 180 to leave 47, and when Lewis misses a dart at double 16 to finish 91 the Dutchman steps in to hit the same bed to seal at least a draw.
7-4 - van Gerwen kicks off with his fifth 180 of the game, with Lewis wiring the bull for a spectacular 164 finish to keep the game alive before the Dutch star takes out double ten for a 14-darter to seal the points.
Robert Thornton v Raymond van Barneveld
0-1 - van Barneveld finishes 116 to claim the opening leg with a break of throw.
0-2 - van Barneveld fires in a 180 and tops for a 13-darter to double his lead.
1-2 - The pair trade 180s before Thornton steps in to punish van Barneveld's two missed doubles by taking out 64 on double eight.
1-3 - van Barneveld hits his third 180 before scrambling home double one.
2-3 - Thornton produces a brilliant 145 checkout to hit back.
2-4 - An 81 finish sees van Barneveld regain his two-leg cushion.
3-4 - The pair trade 180s before Thornton lands double six to hit back.
3-5 - van Barneveld powers in a thrilling 153 checkout to delight the capacity 9,000 crowd.
4-5 - Thornton hits tops to respond once more.
4-6 - van Barneveld lands a superb two-dart 87 finish to earn a minimum of a point with a superb 11-darter.
5-6 - Double ten keeps Thornton's hopes alive as he sends the game into a deciding leg.
5-7 - The tension rises in the final leg, with van Barneveld missing tops to finish 145 before Thornton misses the same bed to snatch a draw, allowing the Dutchman back in on double five to take the victory.
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN and Phil Taylor stormed back to form in the Betway Premier League with 111 averages in victories in Newcastle on Thursday, as Adrian Lewis and Peter Wright maintained winning starts to the season.
World number one van Gerwen bounced back from last week's defeat to James Wade with a scintillating 7-3 defeat of reigning Premier League champion Gary Anderson.
The Scot was making his first appearance of the season after being laid low in Leeds a week ago and survived an early burst from van Gerwen as he took a 3-1 lead by pulling back to trail 4-3.
A swift 11-darter helped van Gerwen pull away once more before he took out 85 and 72 to complete a sensational display with a 111.88 average.
"Last week I was a bit poor but this was a good performance and I played well tonight," said van Gerwen. "It's especially nice against Gary, he's the World Champion and it's the number one and two in the world so they're always big battles.
"I played a fantastic game and I hope that I carry on playing like this for the rest of the season. I finished well at the right moments, my doubles were there and my scoring was there so it was a good night for me."
Taylor, meanwhile, responded to his defeat to Raymond van Barneveld a week ago with a superb 7-1 defeat of James Wade, averaging 111.20 and hitting seven doubles from ten attempts.
A killer 122 checkout for a 12-darter in leg four - after Wade scored 180, 140 and 140 to leave 41 - proved crucial as Taylor cruised to an impressive victory.
"My finishing as lovely and I think that was the difference tonight," said Taylor. "I'm glad to get two points on the board and Barney gave me a kick up the backside last week.
"James pushed me into that performance and it was a lot closer than the score says, but I produced the goods tonight."
Adrian Lewis picked up a second successive victory as he held off a late rally from Dave Chisnall to claim a 7-4 win in their clash, having led 6-1 following some clinical early darts.
"It's a great start," said Lewis. "I'm playing really well and I didn't really expect else tonight other than to go up there and do a job, although Chizzy's been great in the Premier League and you can't underestimate him.
"I relaxed at 6-1 for some reason - perhaps in my head I knew I'd got a point - but when I needed it under pressure I fired in with that 12-darter at the end. I can't ask for any more with my form and that showed in patches tonight."
Peter Wright also sits with two wins from as many matches after he edged out Raymond van Barneveld 7-5, although he had to claim five of the final six legs after finding himself 4-2 down early on.
"I'm really happy with the result and it's another two points," said Wright. "I didn't think I played particularly well but I'd changed darts and that didn't work out like I wanted so I'll be going back to my other darts next week!"
With a chest infection ruling out Robert Thornton, Wade stepped in to play twice on the night as he picked up a second win of the season by inflicting a third straight defeat on Premier League newcomer Michael Smith with a solid 7-4 triumph.
"I'm glad I won but Michael hasn't found his feet yet," said Wade. "It's never nice to play someone when they're feeling the pressure and Michael's better than he showed there tonight."
The Betway Premier League continues next Thursday at The 3Arena in Dublin, which includes the tasty rematch of the 2015 World Championship final between Anderson and Taylor and van Gerwen up against Lewis.
Betway Premier League
Night Two - February 11
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
James Wade 7-4 Michael Smith
Raymond van Barneveld 5-7 Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis 7-4 Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson 3-7 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 1-7 Phil Taylor
James Wade v Michael Smith
1-0 - Wade finishes 88 on double seven to claim the opening leg.
1-1 - Smith takes out 120 to level.
2-1 - Wade lands a 120 finish of his own to regain the lead.
2-2 - Smith opens with a 180 before finishing 87 in two darts to hit back.
2-3 - Smith punishes a miss at tops from Wade - for another 120 finish - by breaking throw on double ten.
3-3 - Smith is punished for a host of missed doubles as Wade pounces on double five.
4-3 - Wade takes out 71 on tops to move back ahead.
4-4 - Smith finishes 86 on double seven as he levels.
5-4 - Double five sees Wade edge back into the lead.
6-4 - Double ten for a break of throw secures Wade a minimum of a point.
7-4 - Wade is first to a finish and has enough breathing space to initially miss four match darts before landing double six claim his second successive win.
Raymond van Barneveld v Peter Wright
1-0 - van Barneveld lands the game's opening 180 in a superb 11-darter, which he finishes by taking out 81 on double 12.
1-1 - Wright levels by landing double 16 at the fourth time of asking, with van Barneveld missing three darts at doubles to break throw.
2-1 - van Barneveld takes out 100 to hold throw once more.
2-2 - Wright kicks off with his first maximum before landing double 16 to square the game again.
3-2 - Double 16 sees van Barneveld edge back in front.
4-2 - van Barneveld is handed a let-off for missed doubles across two visits as Wright misses four doubles, allowing the Dutchman back to break on double nine.
4-3 - van Barneveld posts a second 180 but misses three doubles, allowing Wright back in on double ten to break back.
4-4 - Wright fires in a maximum before finishing 68 on double 16 as he levels.
5-4 - Tops edges van Barneveld back in front.
5-5 - van Barneveld opens with a 180 but double 14 sees Wright hit back square.
5-6 - van Barneveld's miss at tops allows Wright in to take out 75 on double 12 as he seals at least a point.
5-7 - Wright produces a timely 177 to leave 24 before double 12 completes a 13-darter and maintains his winning start to the season.
Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall
1-0 - Lewis wins the opening leg despite Chisnall kicking off with a 180, as the Stoke ace steps in on double 18 for a 13-darter.
2-0 - Lewis breaks throw to double his lead, with Chisnall again opening with a maximum only to see his rival finish 78 for a 14-dart leg.
3-0 - The pair trade 180s before double eight sees Lewis continue his flying start.
4-0 - Tops sees Lewis break throw again to move four legs clear.
4-1 - Chisnall finishes 74 to get off the mark.
5-1 - The pair once again swap maximums, but Chisnall's two missed doubles allow Lewis in on tops to capitalise.
6-1 - Lewis lands a third 180 and tops as he seals at least a point.
6-2 - Chisnall takes out 110 on the bull to continue his challenge.
6-3 - Lewis fires in another maximum but misses five match darts to allow Chisnall back in on tops to keep himself in the game.
6-4 - Chisnall's revival continues with a neat 98 checkout.
7-4 - Lewis' fifth 180 leaves him 81 before double six completes a 12-darter as he seals the points to remain unbeaten.
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
1-0 - Anderson claims the opening leg by pinning double top for a 14-darter, making a strong start on his return from illness.
1-1 - van Gerwen opens with back-to-back 180s before landing tops for a 13-dart finish to level.
1-2 - The world number one breaks throw with a 14-darter on double eight.
1-3 - Anderson lands a 180 but can only watch on as van Gerwen takes out 105.
2-3 - Tops for a 13-darter sees Anderson hit back.
2-4 - van Gerwen restores his cushion by taking out 70 on double eight.
3-4 - Double 16 sees Anderson respond with another 13-dart leg.
3-5 - van Gerwen completes a superb 11-darter to edge clear once more.
3-6 - van Gerwen hits a 180 before taking out 85 to break with a 12-dart leg.
3-7 - The Dutchman completes a stunning display by hitting another 180 and a 72 finish, ending with a 111.88 average.
James Wade v Phil Taylor
0-1 - Taylor breaks throw immediately by finishing double eight.
0-2 - The six-time Premier League winner finishes 66 to double his lead.
1-2 - Wade takes out 78 on double 12 to respond with his first leg.
1-3 - Wade scores 180, 140 and 140 to leave 41 after nine darts, only to see Taylor take out a killer 122 on double seven for a 12-dart finish.
1-4 - Taylor opens with a 180 before punishing a miss at tops from Wade, for a 116 checkout, with double four to break throw once again.
1-5 - Double eight sees Taylor move four legs clear.
1-6 - Taylor scores 180 and 177 to leave 48 before finishing double 16 for an 11-darter.
1-7 - Taylor fires in double four to complete a brilliant performance, ending the game with an average of 111.20.
THE Professional Darts Corporation will break new ground once again in 2016 by staging its first tournament live on BBC Sport following an exciting new deal to introduce the Champions League of Darts to the circuit in September.
The eight-player tournament will be held on September 24-25 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff to kick off a new era for the sport on terrestrial television.
Featuring the leading eight players from the PDC Order of Merit following July's BetVictor World Matchplay, the Champions League of Darts will see the stars split into two groups of four players.
Following the round-robin phase, the top two players from each group will then progress to the knockout semi-finals and final, with a huge Ł100,000 first prize on offer for the eventual champion.
"The BBC has a long history of broadcasting darts but this will be the start of an exciting new era," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
"The Champions League of Darts will bring the very best players in world darts - the top eight from the PDC Order of Merit - to BBC screens for an exciting, quick-fire tournament.
"In addition, it's fantastic for us to be taking the Champions League of Darts to Cardiff. Welsh fans love their darts and this will be another great opportunity for them to see the sport's biggest names live.
"Both live crowds and TV audiences have continued to soar for PDC tournaments in the last year, and it's a great reflection for us that the BBC were keen to add the Champions League of Darts to their sporting portfolio."
Barbara Slater, Director BBC Sport says: “We are very pleased to be showing the inaugural Champions League of Darts on the BBC for what is promised to be a thrilling and innovative tournament.
“Darts has always had wide appeal and it is great that audiences will get the chance to see all the action from the world’s top players live on BBC Two and across our platforms.“
Further details about ticketing for the Champions League of Darts will be announced at www.pdc.tv/tickets in due course.
GARY ANDERSON will return to action in the Betway Premier League at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on Thursday.
The reigning Premier League champion was ruled out of last Thursday's opening night in Leeds through illness, and also missed the weekend's UK Open Qualifiers in Wigan.
However, Anderson will make his return to action against Michael van Gerwen in Thursday's second league night, to be held at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.
Anderson is also set to compete in the weekend's Dutch Darts Masters European Tour event in Venray.
In addition, following Anderson's withdrawal in Leeds and with Michael Smith having faced Adrian Lewis, the fixtures for Night Seven in Glasgow have now been amended.
Anderson and Lewis will now meet at The SSE Hydro in their previously planned fixture, with the Scot then returning later in the night to play Peter Wright.
Smith, meanwhile, will now sit out the Glasgow event after playing twice on the night in Leeds to provide five fixtures in Anderson's absence.
Betway Premier League
Night Two - February 11
Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Michael Smith v Robert Thornton
Raymond van Barneveld v Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
James Wade v Phil Taylor
Revised Night Seven Fixtures
Night Seven - March 17
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis
James Wade v Robert Thornton
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
Raymond van Barneveld v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Peter Wright
* Original Adrian Lewis v Michael Smith fixture moved to Leeds due to illness to Gary Anderson.
DAVE CHISNALL kicked off the Betway Premier League season with a superb whitewash of Robert Thornton in Leeds on Thursday as reigning champion Gary Anderson missed the league's opening night through illness.
World Champion Anderson was denied the chance to face Adrian Lewis on medical grounds after being laid low with a viral upper respiratory tract infection on Thursday.
His absence meant that debutant Michael Smith played twice on the evening - and the former World Youth Champion was given a tough induction to the Premier League stage with losses to Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis.
However, the night's most eye-catching display came from Chisnall as he followed up a run to the final of last weekend's Masters event by storming past Thornton 7-0.
He allowed his rival only one dart at a double during a ruthless performance as he averaged over 101 to kick off the season in style.
"It's a dream," said Chisnall, a semi-finalist last year. "Robert didn't play as well as he can but I capitalised on his mistakes and hit my doubles well.
"It's going to get harder because it's only our second tournament back since the World Championship so everyone's rusty and there's more to come. Today was good for me."
2014 champion Raymond van Barneveld also produced a brilliant display of finishing as he took out seven doubles from nine attempts as he swept past six-time Premier League winner Phil Taylor 7-2.
Van Barneveld landed an early ten-darter as he came from a leg down to lead 5-1, and though Taylor took out 113 to hit back, the Dutchman went on to complete the win with a pair of double 16 checkouts.
"I'm happy with the win," said van Barneveld. "To get two points in the opening match of the Premier League against Phil Taylor, with a 103 average, I'm over the moon.
"The ten-darter gave me a lift and I hit lots of crucial doubles. I tried to keep Phil under pressure and maybe he wasn't at his best, but I took advantage of that.
"I'm focused on the Premier League because the Premier League and the World Championship mean the world to me. I focus on every match and I know what I can do - I believe in myself and I hope I can go all the way."
2009 Premier League winner James Wade impressed with a superb comeback from 3-0 down to defeat Michael van Gerwen 7-4, with the Dutchman hitting a 167 checkout as he took an early lead only to be punished for missed doubles in four of the next five legs.
A 70 finish from van Gerwen saw him pull back to 5-4, but Wade hit a 121 finish to restore breathing space before following his fifth 180 by finishing 81 on the bull for victory.
"I'm really happy because there are not many people who will take a point from Michael, because he's the best player in the world," said Wade. "Michael wasn't at his best and I did enough and hit my finishes when I had to.
"I can win games from bad situations and that's what I did."
Two-time World Champion Lewis - who had initially been due to face Anderson - topped a 100 average as he defeated Smith 7-1, reeling off six straight legs on his way to victory with seven doubles from 13 attempts.
"I thought my finishing tonight was fantastic," said Lewis. "Michael Smith's no mug, he's number eight in the world and he'll be back. It's his first time and it is hard because you're against the world's top ten week-in and week-out.
"My mind was set for playing Gary so I had to change my focus but I did that well. I love Leeds and I played brilliantly here last year, and the crowd were superb tonight."
World number five Wright opened the season with a 7-2 win over Smith, taking out 121 on his way into a 3-0 lead to establish a cushion which - despite two 14-darters from his opponent - he would never let slip.
"I've been working really hard in the last few weeks since the World Championship and it's great to be back playing," said Wright.
"It was a bit of a patchy display in places but it's a win and that was the most important thing, because every two points could prove crucial."
The Betway Premier League continues at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle next Thursday, with tickets still available by calling 0844 493 6666 or online via www.eventim.co.uk.
2016 Betway Premier League
Night One, First Direct Arena, Leeds
Peter Wright 7-2 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 4-7 James Wade
Phil Taylor 2-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Robert Thornton 0-7 Dave Chisnall
Adrian Lewis 7-1 Michael Smith
Peter Wright v Michael Smith
1-0 - Wright takes the season's opening leg on double 16.
2-0 - Wright secures an immediate break of throw by taking out 121 on the bullseye.
3-0 - Wright lands a 180 to have the breathing space to miss five doubles, with Smith unable to capitalise on double eight as his rival returns to claim his third leg.
3-1 - The pair trade 180s before Smith steps in to punish Wright's miss at tops by taking out 84 for a 14-darter.
4-1 - Wright hits a 180 and tops for a 14-darter in reply.
5-1 - Another 180 sees Wright pull clear before double six gives him a fifth leg, after Smith misses tops.
5-2 - Smith finishes a second 14-dart leg of the match by landing double ten.
6-2 - Wright fires in a fifth 180 before double 16 completes a 12-dart finish.
7-2 - Another double 16 checkout for Wright seals a fine opening win.
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
1-0 - Wade first in the game's first 180, but van Gerwen holds throw on double one to claim the opener.
2-0 - Wade lands another maximum, but can only watch on as van Gerwen finishes a stunning 167 checkout.
3-0 - van Gerwen opens with a 180 and adds a 177 before hitting tops to claim a third leg.
3-1 - A miss at tops from van Gerwen allows Wade in to hit double ten for his first leg.
3-2 - Double 12 sees Wade break throw.
3-3 - van Gerwen misses two darts at double 16, and Wade takes out a clinical 116 on double 18 to level.
3-4 - Wade lands a third 180 before hitting double ten to move ahead.
3-5 - van Gerwen hits a maximum of his own but pays for two further missed doubles as Wade steps in on tops for a fifth successive leg.
4-5 - The world number one finishes 70 on double 16 to reply with his first leg in six.
4-6 - Wade opens with a 180 before finishing 121 on double 14 to seal at least a point.
4-7 - The pair trade 180s before van Gerwen's miss at the bull allows Wade in, and he finishes 81 on the bull for victory.
Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld
1-0 - Double eight gives Taylor the opening leg.
1-1 - van Barneveld hits a 180 and double 12 to level.
1-2 - van Barneveld opens with 140 and 180 before finishing double 18 for a ten-dart leg.
1-3 - Double 18 once more continues van Barneveld's flawless doubling.
1-4 - The Dutchman wins his fourth straight leg, breaking with a 61 finish on double 18.
1-5 - van Barneveld takes out 66 to hit a fifth double from as many attempts.
2-5 - Taylor takes out 113 to hit back.
2-6 - Taylor lands a 180, but sees van Barneveld take out 64 on double 16 to land another first-dart double and seal at least a point.
2-7 - van Barneveld misses two darts at double 16 to see his flawless finishing record ended, but Taylor's two misses at tops allow him back in to hit double 16 at the third time of asking to seal an opening win.
Robert Thornton v Dave Chisnall
0-1 - Chisnall capitalises on a slow start from Thornton - who kicks off with a score of 11 - by hitting double 16 to break immediately.
0-2 - Chisnall lands a 180 before finishing 54 for a 12-darter.
0-3 - Double eight sees Chisnall claim a third straight leg.
0-4 - Double eight for a 14-darter sees Chisnall continue his charge.
0-5 - Chisnall finishes 100 with two clinical darts to win a fifth leg, without Thornton yet having a dart at a double.
0-6 - Chisnall takes out 73 on double eight for a 14-darter to seal at least a draw.
0-7 - Thornton misses tops for a 117 finish - his first chance at a double - to allow Chisnall in to complete a 13-darter for only the sixth Premier League whitewash.
Adrian Lewis v Michael Smith
1-0 - Lewis lands an early 180 before finishing 72 on double four to take the opening leg.
1-1 - Two misses at tops from Lewis allow Smith in to hit the same bed and level.
2-1 - Smith misses three darts to break throw, allowing Lewis back in on double ten.
3-1 - Lewis breaks throw by finishing 76 on double eight to move two legs clear.
4-1 - Lewis lands a 177 as he takes out a 14-darter to win a third successive leg.
5-1 - Tops sees Lewis break throw once more to pull clear.
6-1 - Lewis kicks off with a 180 before finishing 84 for an 11-dart leg.
7-1 - The Stoke ace lands his third maximum before finishing 84 once again as a 12-darter seals a big win.