Unibet Premier League


Thursday 17th May 2018

O2 Arena, London

The 2018 Unibet Premier League reached it's conclusion with the Play-Offs at the O2 Arena in London. Rob Cross took on world number one Michael van Gerwen in the first semi-final.


Van Gerwen won the opening leg with throw in just 12 darts that included two 180s and an 84 finish. Cross started the second leg with his first 180 of the match and levelled the score with a 14 dart leg finishing on 36.


MvG comfortably held throw in the third leg in 15 darts with Cross back on 183. The first break of the match followed as the Dutchman took out 68 in a 15 dart leg to lead 3-1.


The reigning Premier League champion continued his great form with an 11 dart leg to win the next, scoring 134, 140, 180 and checking out on 47. He then broke the Cross throw again with a 13 dart leg to lead 5-1, this time taking out double eight.


The Hastings man fought back by opening the seventh leg with scores of 180 and 140, winning it in 14 darts. A poor opening four throws in the next allowed MvG to break straight back for a 6-2 lead, taking out 48 in an 18 dart leg.


Scores of 135, 180, 90 and a 96 finish for a second 11 darter from 'The Green Machine' made it 7-2. Cross then held throw in 15 darts to trail by four legs going into the interval.


Van Gerwen missed chances in the eleventh leg as Cross won it in 17 darts for his second break of throw but once again was unable to back it up as Van Gerwen broke straight back with a 13 darter to lead  8-4 and was now just two legs away from a place in the final.


A twelve dart leg from MvG followed as he took out a 128 finish after Cross had hit a 180 to leave 92. Cross now had to win the next six legs and was not going to go away easily as he fired in his best leg of the match, scoring 134, 180, 137 and checking out on 50 for a 12 darter to trail 9-5.


'Voltage' then banged in a 118 finish to win leg fifteen in 15 darts but was unable to find a treble in the first six darts of the next leg as MvG progressed to the final with a 70 checkout in a 15 dart leg to win 10-6.  


Van Gerwen hit nine 180s and averaged 103.65, Cross hit five 180s and averaged 96.04.


Following the match Cross said "Maybe I over tried earlier on, at the beginning the first dart never worked tonight and it was my achilles heel; I had to score better, I let Michael run riot and he does what he does.


"I lost because I didn't play well enough. I think the Premier League has been a massive learning curve, it's been a bit different, you're travelling so much. If I get in next year I will handle it a lot lot better and obviously I will have another nine months or whatever behind me again.


My head has not been in the best place in the Premier League but that's darts, you have to get on with it. Your life changes. After winning the Worlds maybe I wasn't quite as ready mentally. It won't break me, it will only make me stronger, I will get on with it. You will watch me play really well. It's been a busy sixteen weeks and I haven't had much time at home."  


Michael Smith beat Gary Gary Anderson 10-6 in the other semi-final.


Van Gerwen then went on to beat Smith 11-4 in the final, recording the highest average of the season, 112.37 to win the title for the third straight season.


Semi-Final Fixtures
Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Rob Cross
Michael Smith 10-6 Gary Anderson
Final Fixture
Michael van Gerwen 11-4 Michael Smith