Wayne Mardle previews Premier League Darts in Exeter

Premier League Darts returns on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Action, featuring a high-profile clash between Gary Anderson and Rob Cross. Wayne Mardle looks into his crystal ball…

World No 1 Michael van Gerwen takes on Mesur Suljovic, Daryl Gurney meets Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, while Raymond van Barneveld faces table-topper Michael Smith and Simon Whitlock comes up against Gerwyn Price.

Wayne runs the rule over five cracking tungsten contests, live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix from 7pm.

Gary Anderson v Rob Cross

Gary’s fortunes have changed amazingly, haven’t they? I thought he was going to pull out with a bad back at one point, but he now knows it’s only a muscle tear so he seems free again. Gary seized the moment when he came from 6-3 down to salvage a draw with Peter Wright in Berlin last week. He’s looking good and playing swiftly, which is always a good sign. Rob Cross is playing alright too, but he’s still not showing the form that won him the World Championship.

Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright

I do think that Daryl Gurney is a massive price because I don’t think Wright is playing brilliantly. He’s changing his darts left, right, and centre. The ones he used in Berlin last week had kind of a tapered barrel going down to the point which gave him more room in the 60. He can group them well then, and he was throwing well, throwing quick, which I like to see from him. Gurney appears to be scoring as well as anyone but sadly his doubling is woeful.

Mensur Suljovic v Michael van Gerwen

Like always MVG will never-ever lose a game in my mind – it’s like Phil Taylor from 1997 to 2006. Mensur played brilliantly against Gerwyn Price in Berlin and he hardly moved on the oche. I was surprised how still he was actually. I don’t know if he has been working on it, but it’s helping him.

Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith

This is an odd one for me because you’ve got someone who’s doing so much damage without playing brilliantly and then you’ve got someone in Barney, who had been playing quite well, but then looked utterly disinterested in Berlin.

Simon Whitlock v Gerwyn Price

I think Whitlock is playing better than Price but I’ve already shown in this Premier League that I’ve got a soft spot for Gerwyn Price. He’s better than what he’s playing, but the trouble with the Premier League is that once you start struggling it invariably gets worse, unless you’re a proven winner of course. Last week he got absolutely annihilated by Mensur Suljovic.

Live Premier League Darts

March 1, 2018, 7:00pm

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Wayne Mardle was speaking to Sky Sports’ Raz Mirza. The 2018 Premier League heads to the Westpoint Arena in Exeter this Thursday with coverage underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix, which you can find on channel 287, and is free for all Sky customers. Ten weeks of tungsten action will then continue 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