Michael Van Gerwen has to dig deep for a point as Premier League gets under way

PA Sport Staff
·2-min read

Five-time winner Michael Van Gerwen had to dig deep for a point as the Unibet Premier League began without world champion Gerwyn Price.

Price had to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19, with James Wade taking his place in the tournament at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

Three-time world champion Van Gerwen found himself trailing 6-5 to debutant Dimitri Van Den Bergh, with the Belgian throwing for the match.

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However, Van Gerwen completed a 12-dart finish in the last leg to ensure four of the opening night’s five contests finished all square.

“You can never be happy with a point,” Van Gerwen told Sky Sports. “Overall I can’t be too unhappy with my game – I played OK I think.

“Of course there’s more in the tank and there’s more to come.

“I feel good and I want to do even more tomorrow. I always try to aim for the best and it’s not always possible.”

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Wade almost made a perfect start after being elevated from standby, with Gary Anderson taking out 156 in the final leg to deny him victory in a 6-6 draw.

Peter Wright also had to settle for a 6-6 draw against newcomer Jonny Clayton.

The first four legs went against the throw in a high-quality contest before good finishing put Wright 5-3 up.

However, despite hitting all six of his throws at double, Wright was denied after throwing just seven with his opening set of darts in the 10th leg and failing to hold.

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Wales’ Clayton missed a bullseye that would have given him a 161 checkout for a 6-5 lead but did hold throw in the 12th leg to claim a deserved point.

Rob Cross and Jose De Sousa also played out a draw, while Nathan Aspinall thrashed Glen Durrant 7-3 in the night’s opening contest to gain a modicum of revenge for his defeat to the same opponent in last year’s Premier League final.

Van Gerwen takes on Wright in the pick of Tuesday night’s games.