The 2014 Premier League Darts season took another twist on Thursday evening as Birmingham's National Indoor Arena played host to the latest instalment of top-flight action.
Phil Taylor's resurgent rise to the play-off places was reinforced after "The Power" took three points from his two matches against Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall, now sitting third in the standings.
His push to the top spots was strengthened after Michael van Gerwen fell to Gary Anderson, the league-leading marvel now level on points and leg difference with Van Barneveld.
Read on for a breakdown of how the table looks following Birmingham's bonanza, along with all the results and a recap of the key fixtures.
|1||Michael van Gerwen||14||9||2||3||+22||20|
|2||Raymond van Barneveld||14||7||6||1||+22||20|
|Player 1||Score||Player 2|
|Robert Thornton||7-5||Dave Chisnall|
|Raymond van Barneveld||6-6||Phil Taylor|
|Michael van Gerwen||4-7||Gary Anderson|
|Adrian Lewis||6-6||Peter Wright|
|Dave Chisnall||2-7||Phil Taylor|
Raymond van Barneveld 6-6 Phil Taylor
According to Darts Database statistics, Thursday's clash between "Barney" and Taylor was the 64th time these giants of the industry have clashed in their illustrious careers, but only the fourth draw seen between the two.
No matter how bitter that rivalry may be, a share of the spoils is acceptable for both stars, now second and third respectively, with neither Van Barneveld nor Taylor in a position where they can risk dropping points.
At one point in the fixture, the Dutchman found himself 5-3 up, and as the official PDC account can attest, there are those who feel Barney should have taken home the victory:
However, mental resolve is a trait that rings true with the veteran Taylor, and after nailing an 88 checkout with double 14 in the 12th leg, he took a point from a match comprising many a turn.
Michael van Gerwen 4-7 Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson's ability to take out the bigger scores told the tale of his victory over Michael van Gerwen, the Scot managing four maximums and 12 140-plus totals. "Mighty Mike," by contrast, only hit one maximum.
Despite taking the first leg, Van Gerwen quickly slumped to a 4-1 deficit, and there was no coming back as Anderson rode high on his wave of high three-dart averages, shown by PDC Results:
(R): Premier League Darts, League, Michael van Gerwen (97.48) 4 (12) 7 (100.8) Gary Anderson #PremierLeagueDarts— PDCResults (@PDCResults) May 1, 2014
Sky Sports quotes "The Flying Scotsman" being appreciative of how lucky he was not to have ruined his own opportunities, however:
"I did my best to throw that away, the same scenario [as usual], I lost a couple of legs I shouldn't have but got there in the end. I'm not quite finished yet."
Van Gerwen's fortunes were summed up by the three aching wires he struck in the final leg, an advantage Anderson gripped with glee, finishing on double 8 to win their fixture 7-4.
Adrian Lewis 6-6 Peter Wright
Adrian Lewis' chances of making the play-offs may be done and dusted, but "Jackpot" did a fine job of lending a helping hand to those above him in the table by taking a point from Peter Wright on Thursday.
It wasn't a particularly clean affair, as the official PDC website shows, Lewis and Wright finished with checkout percentages of just 30 and 35 percent, respectively.
However, the path of the scoreline was a more entertaining aspect of their encounter, with "Snakebite" establishing a 2-0 lead before then dropping to 6-4, following a rampant response from his challenger. The likes of Van Gerwen, Van Barneveld and Taylor will have been happy to see fourth-placed Wright held to a 6-6 draw in the end.