Players from past and present joined the Sheffield crowd in a minute's applause for Eric Bristow
Michael van Gerwen opened up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League as Gary Anderson moved into the top four on an emotional night in Sheffield.
The FlyDSA Arena played host to five tungsten tussles as the second phase of the league campaign got underway after a minute’s applause for Eric Bristow, who died suddenly last Thursday.
With the action switching to a double header in Rotterdam next week, all eyes were on the matches that pitted the top four against each other.
Night Ten – Sheffield Raymond van Barneveld 3-7 Daryl Gurney Gary Anderson 7-2 Peter Wright Simon Whitlock 1-7 Michael van Gerwen Michael Smith 5-7 Rob Cros Raymond van Barneveld 2-7 Peter Wright
Simon Whitlock 1-7 Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen says he is determined to finish top of the Premier League table again after defeating Simon Whitlock in Sheffield
An imperious Van Gerwen seized his opportunity to put daylight between himself and the rest of the field with a 7-1 thrashing of Whitlock, who has now won just one of his last seven matches.
The Aussie started brightly and was handed a glorious opportunity for a 2-0 lead when the world No 1 made a mess of a routine finish, but Whitlock could not capitalise and Van Gerwen mopped up to reel off the first of seven consecutive legs.
A pair of 100+ finishes were the highlights for Van Gerwen, who is four points clear of Smith and Cross and looks well set for a sixth successive year at the top of the regular season standings.
MVG's 121 checkout was the highlight of another masterful display from the defending champion
Raymond van Barneveld 3-7 Daryl Gurney
Daryl Gurney says the sleepless nights that come with fatherhood have been worth it after beating Raymond van Barneveld in the Premier League at Sheffield
Barney kicked off his bid for a pair of victories that could have made serious inroads at the top of the table by taking on Gurney in the opening match of the night, but Superchin produced his best performance of the Premier League.
There was little between the pair in the opening exchanges, a brilliant 158 looked to have RVB in the groove for the evening but when he lost the fifth leg of the match, Gurney pounced and never looked back.
From 2-1 down, the Grand Prix champion reeled off five successive legs to break the Barney challenge and eventually secure a comfortable win that stretches his unbeaten run to six matches.
Michael Smith 5-7 Rob Cross
Second met third and it proved to be the match of the evening, not a surprise having seen the pair battle out a World Championship classic in December when Smith missed darts to knock out the eventual champion.
A brilliant 107 got the ball rolling for Cross, who led 2-0 early on only for Smith to come roaring back to take three legs on the bounce and move in front.
Cross got the match going with a clinical 107 finish
Bully Boy has been a man inspired this year but Voltage produced one of the bursts of the season to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 lead, which featured a 12 and two 13-darters in a spectacular run.
The world champion missed a dart for a 7-3 victory and Smith took advantage with back-to-back legs to force a decider, but Voltage held his nerve for victory.
Cross reflects on a big victory and set his sights on The O2 next month
Gary Anderson 7-2 Peter Wright
Gary Anderson was pleased with his finishing during his win over Peter Wright in the Premier League and is looking forward to the run-in
In the battle of the Scots, it was Anderson who proved too strong, roaring to a victory that takes the two-time champion into the top four.
It could have been a whitewash for the Flying Scotsman, who bossed the match throughout and raced into a 5-0 lead with a spectacular 144 finish his highlight.
Anderson's 144 check-out was one of the night's biggest finishes
The pair split the next four legs as Wright’s level improved but it merely delayed the inevitable as Anderson hit double 16 to secure a third win from his last four matches and, coupled with the night’s other results, move into the play-off places.
Raymond van Barneveld 2-7 Peter Wright
Wright took out 132 as he got the better of Barney in the final match of the evening
In the final match of the night, a lacklustre Barney could not get anything going and it was Wright who grabbed an all-important victory, his first win since beating MVG in Week Two.
Snakebite took a while to get going but with Barney below par, last year’s Premier League runner-up managed to find enough to get over the line.
A brilliant 132 finish was the highlight as Wright remained in touching distance of the top four, but he will have it all to do down the closing stretch.
As for Barney, it’s now four defeats in a row and the doyen of Dutch darts will head to an adoring crowd in Rotterdam knowing he needs wins from his matches against Whitlock and Van Gerwen to get his campaign back on track.
Next up the 2018 Premier League heads to Rotterdam’s Ahoy for a darting double header next Wednesday and Thursday for weeks 10 & 11 coverage is underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event on Wednesday, with Thursday’s action underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action
Live Premier League Darts
April 18, 2018, 7:00pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Night 11 – Rotterdam Michael Smith v Gary Anderson Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen Rob Cross v Gary Anderson Live Premier League Darts
April 19, 2018, 7:00pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Night 12 – Rotterdam Simon Whitlock v Michael Smith Daryl Gurney v Gary Anderson Rob Cross v Peter Wright Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld Daryl Gurney v Simon Whitlock
The Premier League continues through to the season’s conclusion with the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London. Keep up to date with the latest darts news, previews, reports, reaction and expert analysis. Get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts- don’t forget to use #LoveTheDarts