Week seven of the Premier League was played in front of a sea of orange at the Rotterdam Ahoy, as Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen tasted victory on home soil.
In the battle of the tungsten titans, MvG beat an out of sorts Phil Taylor 7-4 with The Power seemingly admitting defeat.
The 16-time World Champion got off the mark quicker, despite complaining that the stage was uneven, and raced into a 3-0 lead courtesy of finishes of a kill on double top and two combinations of 96 and 73.
The Green Machine looked off colour, perhaps due to the pressure of 10,000 Dutch fans willing him to win, averaging just over 70 in the early stages. A regulation 14 dart leg got him off the mark and seemed to spark him into life, breaking in 13 darts before clinically killing 68 to level the encounter.
Two more combination finishes swung the match, as van Gerwen’s finishing proved the difference, an 82 finish followed by a 78 made it five straight legs for the world number one.
Taylor made it 5-4 but started to look rattled, sarcastically applauding the crowd after he missed two darts at double to level the match, watching on as van Gerwen went within a leg of the match. His behaviour became even more uncharacteristic when, instead of pressuring the Dutchman’s leave, he plundered three darts into the outer segment of the bull, allowing MvG to come back, pressure free and win the match.
Fellow Dutchman van Barneveld was also in imperious form, as he put Gary Anderson to the sword, beating him 7-2 in front of an expectant crowd.
Barney started like a freight train, a 13-darter followed by a 12, as he stunned Anderson by moving into a 3-0 lead.
The Flying Scotsman looked like he might spark a revival, hitting back with a 13-dart hold of his own. But the Dutchman was simply too good, clinically finishing 62 before plundering in his trademark 156 to go 5-1 in front.
It must be said, the two legs that Anderson won, he took out in style, with his second being sealed with a 108 checkout.
It wasn’t to count for much in the end, as Barney sealed a point with 10-dart leg against the darts before winning the match with a 52 two-dart kill on double 16.
Peter Wright remained top of the Premier League though, despite the charge of the Dutchmen, with a comprehensive 7-4 victory over Dave Chisnall.
The early stages were dominated by mid-range finishes, Wright taking out 71 and 120 before Chisnall weighed in with an 88 checkout. Chizzy held throw before Wright hit yet another big finish, this time an 86 kill, to regain the lead.
Wright moved into a 5-2 lead but was pegged back by a fantastic 126 check from Chisnall. Snakebite was unphased though and sealed himself a point in the very next leg.
The world number three squandered match darts in the tenth leg but wasn’t to be denied in the eleventh, finding the double eight bed to take the two points and make sure he would go into week eight top of the pile.
A heated encounter between Adrian Lewis and Kim Huybrechts put the Belgian on the verge of relegation, as Lewis won 7-3.
Huybrechts had raced into a 3-1 lead, courtesy of combination outs on 80 and 89. A last dart kill on double five got Lewis back in to the encounter.
The crucial moment came in the sixth leg, as Lewis accused Huybrechts of stamping whilst he was throwing for double, to take out 126. The two-time World Champion became angry at the Belgian, gesticulating at him, with words exchanged between the pair.
George Noble appealed for calm but Huybrechts never regained his composure, Lewis winning the remaining four legs in the match to take the match and leave the Hurricane three points off of safety, with just two matches until judgment night.
The night’s other encounter was between James Wade and Jelle Klassen, who announced before the encounter that he will need surgery on his throwing wrist in May in a bid to cure his tendonitis.
The Dutchman looked clearly hampered and the story of the game was Wade’s return to form, taking out the kind of combination finishes that have given him so much success over the years.
The Englishman took a 2-0 lead and never really looked in danger. Combination finishes of 76, 82, 64 and 71 earned the win for Wade, who ended with a 63.64% checkout percentage. Klassen now needs a miracle to survive in the Premier League, languishing bottom courtesy of legs difference. The Cobra is three points from safety and would be relegated if he fails to beat Lewis next week in Manchester.