Premier League Darts came to the O2 in Dublin on Thursday night, and with 10,000 spectators inside the venue, the joint was certainly jumping.
As usual with this format of the game, patrons were treated to a quality night of arrows.
Top two Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright went head-to-head, and the revitalised Phil Taylor took on old foe Raymond van Barneveld in a World Championship final rematch.
A bout of tonsillitis had seen Wes Newton miss the Exeter date earlier in the tournament, which meant that two games—against Gary Anderson and Simon Whitlock—were needed in order to restore parity to the fixture list.
A full list of Thursday's results and revised standings can be found below:
|Gary Anderson 6-6 Wes Newton|
|Wes Newton 6-6 Simon Whitlock|
|Adrian Lewis 6-6 Dave Chisnall|
|Michael van Gerwen 7-5 Peter Wright|
|Phil Taylor 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld|
|Michael van Gerwen||8||6||1||1||13|
|Raymond van Barneveld||8||3||4||1||10|
|Simon Whitlock (R)||8||1||2||5||4|
Michael van Gerwen 7-5 Peter Wright
The new boy on the Premier League tour, Peter Wright certainly added a little bit of spice to proceedings before either had set foot on the oche.
Per Rod Harrington Sky Sports, the Englishman's comment of "Michael who?" won't have gone down well in the Dutchman's camp.
He was at it again during the match, and van Gerwen didn't like it one bit, telling Sky Sports in a live post-match interview that there was "no need" for Wright to disrespect his opponents.
Perhaps it was that remark that fired van Gerwen to victory, one which can't be understated as the Dutchman roars clear in the standings.
The closeness of the win doesn't really tell the full story, with van Gerwen primed to dish out a lesson to the Scot before choking for a few frames.
Blows were traded equally in the opening legs, with an impressive 14-darter to open proceedings from the Dutchman.
At two apiece, Wright had the perfect chance to take out 161 on the bull, but he allowed his showmanship to get the better of him again.
Encouraging the crowd to cheer the attempt, he promptly missed and van Gerwen put him in his place with a sharp 84 checkout.
It was all about van Gerwen then, as he punished every one of Wright's mistakes over the next three frames, including maximums in the seventh and eighth legs.
At 6-2 up, an arrowsmith with the Dutchman's experience and nous should never have let Wright back in, but at 6-5, he was looking at an unlikely draw.
In the nick of time, van Gerwen regained his touch with an opening 180 and rounded off with a stunning 128 checkout.
Phil Taylor 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld
Prior to Thursday evening's tie, "The Power" certainly had van Barneveld's number, having not lost to him in 18 previous meetings in the Premier League, per Darts Database.
In keeping with games between these two heavyweights, the opening legs set the tone for a fantastic match, both players trading blows.
A fantastic 160 checkout from Barneveld brought him level at 2-2, and he moved ahead again in the next leg.
Taylor had three chances to finish on the double 14 to go 3-2 up but took them outside the bed, perhaps showing the difficulties he is finding with his natural game at the moment.
Trying just a little too hard, he couldn't put the leg to bed, and van Barneveld took the lead against the throw.
"Barney's" maximum in the next leg set him up nicely for a 121 finish, which he took out with the double that had troubled Taylor in the previous leg.
Can Phil Taylor continue his resurgence in the next round of the competition?
Taylor duly obliged the crowd in the next leg. He needed to win and did so. A slow rhythm to the seventh leg didn't seem to suit Taylor. Too many low-scoring visits saw Barneveld surge 5-3 up.
Two 140s from the Dutchman and a missed finish from Taylor should have seen "Barney" easily clean the 59. Incredibly, the gift wasn't accepted and Taylor was alive again at 5-4.
Perhaps the inability to put the Englishman away in any of their previous Premier League meetings was playing on the mind of van Barneveld as nerves took hold. Taylor seized the chance to take out double top to claw back level.
Sensing the need for urgency, six perfect darts were sent down and the Dutchman was staring at a perfect nine-dart leg. Taylor took full advantage for a stunning 6-5 lead and a guaranteed point, meaning van Barneveld still hasn't beaten Taylor in the Premier League.
The last leg was peppered with nervous throws, with neither player seizing the initiative, and a missed 121 checkout by Taylor saw his opponent snatch the draw.
Adrian Lewis 6-6 Dave Chisnall
Former PDC World Champion Adrian Lewis has enjoyed something of a mixed bag in this Premier League season.
A 7-1 humbling at the hands of new-boy Peter Wright didn't go down well with the Englishman, per Craig Swan of the Daily Mirror, but comfortable wins over Simon Whitlock and Phil Taylor had seen "Jackpot" in a comfortable mid-table position.
Two draws in the last three weeks had stunted progress again, and so it would prove Thursday night against a gritty Dave Chisnall.
Coincidentally, it was also Chisnall's third 6-6 draw in the last four weeks.
A see-saw opening couple of legs saw Lewis miss a double 10 for a 140 finish, but he took out the bull for a 124 in the second.
Chisnall was consistently landing the maximums to keep proceedings interesting, with Lewis standing toe-to-toe. The thrill-a-minute action was taken up a notch in the eighth leg, as Chisnall took the roof off with a stunning 158 checkout.
Great respect in the interview between Dave & Adrian. Chizzy is made for the Premier League. Even Lewis said it. Phenomenal game.— SportsPage180 (@sportspage180) March 27, 2014
The pendulum swung back and forth, and Lewis guaranteed a point with a 180 and 100 checkout in the penultimate leg to lead 6-5.
Both players began the last leg with maximums but it was Chisnall who kept his nerve to earn himself yet another point and secure the draw.