Van Gerwen extends Cazoo Premier League lead with Leeds victory

Michael van Gerwen (Simon O'Connor, PDC)

Michael van Gerwen moved three points clear at the top of the Cazoo Premier League by completing a third league night triumph of the season in Leeds on Thursday.

The Dutchman tasted victory in Exeter and Brighton last month, and wins over Peter Wright and James Wade at the First Direct Arena earned him another £10,000 bonus.

Van Gerwen also sits three points clear of Jonny Clayton at the top of the league table as the race for Play-Off places intensifies.

The five-time Premier League champion benefitted from a quarter-final walkover after Gary Anderson was ruled out following a positive Covid-19 test on Wednesday.

He defeated World Champion Wright 6-3 in the semi-finals and then produced a scintillating display in the final to see off Wade 6-1 with a 103.87 average.

Finishes of 76 and 68 were followed by a 14-darter as Van Gerwen raced into a 3-0 lead in front of 9,000 fans, before Wade hit back with a 14-darter of his own.

Van Gerwen, though, was ruthless in how he completed the triumph, following a 13-darter with legs of 15 and 11 darts to close out his third seasonal victory.

"It feels good and overall it was a great night," said Van Gerwen.

"I think the final was okay compared to the semi-final. I know exactly how to play James Wade, you need to make sure you keep believing in yourself and make sure you hurt him, and that's what I did.

"I cannot complain, I won the night and can't wish for any more. 

"It was a bit tough [not playing in the first game], but you just have to look at the end goal of winning the nights.

"You just have to do what you can do, and that is win the games you have. I always want to perform, especially in front of crowds like this. They were amazing tonight."

Van Gerwen has enjoyed a return to winning ways in 2022 after being overtaken in the PDC Order of Merit in the past 18 months by both Price and Wright, and added: "The times are different now in terms of dominance.

"I know there's still more work to do but you need to keep aiming for more, and winning is the best medicine for you.

"The most important thing right now is being happy with how I am playing, and if the right Michael van Gerwen turns up - I know I can win."

Wade was left to suffer a third defeat in a league night final this season, with wins over Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton seeing him follow up runs to the decider in Belfast and Birmingham with another tilt for glory.

Last week's Birmingham winner, Jonny Clayton, defeated Yorkshireman Joe Cullen 6-1 in their quarter-final, while Wright - wearing the traditional blue and yellow of Leeds sporting teams - saw off Michael Smith 6-2 in their opener with a 104 average.

The Cazoo Premier League season continues on Thursday April 14 with Night 10 at the AO Arena in Manchester, where Van Gerwen will take on Clayton.

The night also sees Wright take on Price in a repeat of the 2021 Grand Slam of Darts final, while Anderson is set to take on Wade and Cullen plays Smith.

2022 Cazoo Premier League
Night Nine - First Direct Arena, Leeds
Thursday April 7

Peter Wright 6-2 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen Bye (Gary Anderson withdrew)
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Joe Cullen
James Wade 6-5 Gerwyn Price

Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Peter Wright
James Wade 6-4 Jonny Clayton

Michael van Gerwen 6-1 James Wade

Cazoo Premier League Table

Each night will see quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final played over the best of 11 legs (first to six). In all fixtures, the player named on the left of the draw will throw first in the opening leg, with the throw alternating from then on.
Each player will meet the other seven players twice over the course of the season in a quarter-final game, plus two further nights will feature additional fixtures in the same format.

League Points
Night Winner - 5 points + £10,000 bonus
Runner-Up - 3 points
Semi-Finalists - 2 points

Prize Fund
Winner £275,000
Runner-Up £125,000
Semi-Finalists £85,000 each
Fifth in League Table £75,000
Sixth in League Table £70,000
Seventh in League Table £65,000
Eighth in League Table £60,000
Nightly Winner Bonus £10,000 x16
Total £1,000,000