The 2021 Premier League of Darts may be a very different format and schedule to the usual tournament played across the UK and Europe over the opening months of the year, but last week the tournament belatedly got underway at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, which is its home for this year.

Ten players, including late entrant James Wade who replaced the ill World Champion Gerwyn Price in the draw, started the competition in phase 1. A round where each player plays the other in the competition once in a best of 12 game. The first five matches of this part of the tournament were played from Monday to Friday last week.

The final four games of Phase 1 will be played on from Monday next week, with Thursday night being the famed Judgement Night, when the bottom two players in the table will be eliminated with the eight remaining players moving on to Phase 2.

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Let’s now give you a quick recap of how the first five match nights went in phase one of the Premier League of Darts last week, before we then recap the table and bring you the remaining fixtures scheduled to take place from Monday to Thursday next week.

Premier League Darts Results

Night One

  • Nathan Aspinall 7-3 Glen Durrant
  • Rob Cross 6-6 Jose De Souza
  • Peter Wright 6-6 Jonny Clayton
  • James Wade 6-6 Gary Anderson
  • Michael van Gerwen 6-6 Dmitri Van den Bergh

Night Two

  • Gary Anderson 7-5 Jose de Sousa
  • Jonny Clayton 7-3 Glen Durrant
  • Dmitri Van den Bergh 7-5 Nathan Aspinall
  • Michael Van Gerwen 7-2 Peter Wright
  • Rob Cross 7-3 James Wade

Night Three

  • Rob Cross 3-7 Michael van Gerwen
  • Glen Durrant 0-7 Dmitri Van Den Bergh
  • Peter Wright 7-4 Gary Anderson
  • Nathan Aspinall 7-4 James Wade
  • Jose de Sousa 3-7 Jonny Clayton

Night Four

  • Dmitri Van den Bergh 6-6 Peter Wright
  • Jonny Clayton 3-7 Rob Cross
  • Jose de Sousa 6-6 Nathan Aspinall
  • James Wade 7-3 Michael van Gerwen
  • Gary Anderson 7-2 Glen Durrant

Night Five

  • Gary Anderson 4-7 Jonny Clayton
  • Peter Wright 7-5 Rob Cross
  • Michael van Gerwen 6-6 Nathan Aspinall
  • James Wade 7-3 Glen Durrant
  • Dmitri Van den Bergh 3-7 Jose de Sousa

Nine-Darters In Successive Nights

The tournament has already witnessed two nine-dart finishes. The first came on Wednesday night and was achieved by debutant in the tournament Jonny Clayton in his win over Jose de Sousa. However, on the very next night, de Sousa achieved the 9-dart finish himself in his exciting 6-6 clash with Nathan Aspinall.

Premier League Table –  Night 5 (end of part 1 of phase 1)

  1. Jonny Clayton – 7pts (+7)
  2. Dmitri Van Den Bergh – 6 Pts (+5)
  3. Nathan Aspinall – 6 Pts (+5)
  4. Michael van Gerwen – 6 Pts (+5)
  5. Peter Wright – 6 Pts (0)
  6. Rob Cross – 5 Pts (+2)
  7. James Wade – 5 Pts (+1)
  8. Gary Anderson – 5 Pts (+1)
  9. Jose De Sousa – 4 Pts (-2)
  10. Glen Durrant – 0 Pts (-24)

This does look like being the most competitive and closest Premier League Darts campaign ever, apart from the defending champion Glen Durrant who has looked well below par in his five games thus far and looks destined to bow out of the tournament on Judgement Night.

However, the remaining nine players are separated by just three points from top position to ninth in the table, which will make avoiding that second elimination spot hugely exciting over the second set of games in the opening phase. Any player can still finish top of the table at the end of phase 1 and any player could finish ninth.

It promises to be a hugely exciting week of action ahead of us!

Premier League Phase 1 Remaining Fixtures

Night 6 – 19th April

  • Nathan Aspinall v Peter Wright
  • Jonny Clayton v Dmitri Van den Bergh
  • Rob Cross v Gary Anderson
  • Jose de Sousa v James Wade
  • Glen Durrant v Michael van Gerwen

Night 7 – 20th April

  • Glen Durrant v Jose de Sousa
  • Rob Cross v Dmitri Van den Bergh
  • Nathan Aspinall v Jonny Clayton
  • Peter Wright v James Wade
  • Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson

Night 8 – 21st April

  • Rob Cross v Nathan Aspinall
  • Gary Anderson v Dmitri Van den Bergh
  • Michael van Gerwen v Jose de Sousa
  • James Wade v Jonny Clayton
  • Peter Wright v Glen Durrant

Night 9 – Judgement Night – 22nd April

  • Jonny Clayton v Michael van Gerwen
  • Glen Durrant v Rob Cross
  • Jose de Sousa v Peter Wright
  • Nathan Aspinall v Gary Anderson
  • Dmitri Van den Bergh v James Wade

It is impossible to pick out the key games in this set of matches for this coming week as in truth, every game is going to matter. Even those games involving Glen Durrant could still be key as Durrant could still make it into Phase 2 if he can win all four of his games next week and even if he doesn’t, if a player drops points against him then that could be crucial to their chances too.

Therefore, next week’s games in the Premier League are going to be hugely exciting as every single match will likely count for something and that makes Judgement Night in Thursday all the more important.

It could well be the case that we could have as many as four or five players battling it out to avoid elimination on that evening, or if results don’t go the way of one player during the early part of the week, we may already know who is eliminated at that point (although given how results have gone, that doesn’t look likely).

In terms of who will be eliminated, Glen Durrant is of course the odds on pick having lost all five of his opening games. Who gets eliminated alongside him is a much more difficult pick but I do think that Rob Cross may struggle as he has not been in the best of form over the last 18 months or so and he does have some very tricky games coming up this week.

As for who wins the tournament, who knows? It is certainly the most open Premier League Darts tournament I can remember and at the moment, it is almost impossible to pick the winner. Jonny Clayton is the player in form, but when we hit Phase 2 of this event I would expect the likes of Wright and Van Gerwen to start showing their class and as such, I would probably just about pick the Dutchman Van Gerwen to win it still.