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Dimitri dazzles and comes close in Germany!

Saturday, 26 May 2018 11:10:50 Europe/London

Team Unicorn ace Dimitri van den Bergh reached his first senior PDC final at the German Darts Masters.

But after amazing victories over Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, he couldn’t get over the line on a record breaking day as he lost the final 8-2 to Mensur Suljovic in front of a World record 20,000 crowd at the Veltins Arena.

However, the PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion can still be extremely proud of his achievements.

“I guess I just ran out of gas in the final,” he said. “But it has been one of the best days of my life. To beat Michael and Gary for the first time and to do it in front of this crowd was unreal. This is a catalyst for me. I want more.”

Sadly, he just couldn’t get going in the final and was 5-1 down very quickly as Suljovic nailed some superb check-outs.....109, 100 and 80. The Austrian hit eight doubles from 12 attempts in his semi-final win over Peter Wright and he was 8/13 against Van den Bergh.

Two 11 darters and a 102 average and on this occasion, Dimitri has nothing to give, but it was still an astonishing day for him.

Dimitri won an extraordinary semi-final with Anderson in a thriller of an all Unicorn clash. The only time the Belgian was ahead was when he hit the winning double in the deciding leg.

Gary will feel he threw it away. He outscored Van den Bergh throughout but the 23-year-old hit some incredible finishes under pressure. The Scot led 5-3 at the break and was sat on 36 to extend his lead but Dimitri hit a superb 111 check-out.

Anderson then missed two darts in both the 10th and 12th legs but when he broke throw to lead 7-6, they’re looked to be only one winner. He then banged in a third 180 to leave D4 for the match. Incredibly though, Van den Bergh hit a sensational 124 finish on D11 to force the decider.......he kicked off with a fifth maximum and never looked back as he clinched victory with an 11 darter!

His win over Van Gerwen was emphatic. He won six out of seven legs to stun the World No.1 in what was the biggest win of his life. Then he took out Anderson! It was an amazing day.

In the 1st Round, Van den Bergh whitewashed Martin Schindler as he hit his highest ever average on a TV stage.....109.98

Anderson had beaten Gabriel Clemens and Jamie Lewis and looked set for another World Series title before Van den Bergh intervened!

Gelsenkirchen results - 1st Round:

Raymond van Barneveld 6-0 Manfred Bilderl Jamie Lewis 6-5 Nico Kurz Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Robert Marijanovic Gary Anderson 6-2 Gabriel Clemens Dimitri van den Bergh 6-0 Martin Schindler Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Max Hopp Peter Wright 6-1 Dragutin Horvat Rob Cross 6-4 Stefan Stoyke

Q/Finals:

Gary Anderson 8-6 Jamie Lewis

Michael van Gerwen 3-8 Dimitri van den Bergh Peter

Wright 8-7 Raymond van Barneveld

Rob Cross 7-8 Mensur Suljovic

S/Finals:

Gary Anderson 7-8 Dimitri van den Bergh

Peter Wright 2-8 Mensur Suljovic

Final:

Dimitri van den Bergh 2-8 Mensur Suljovic

By STUART PYKE at the German Darts Masters in Gelsenkirchen

Photo courtesy PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Anderson back in business!

Saturday, 19 May 2018 22:32:51 Europe/London

Gary Anderson shrugged off the disappointment of Premier League Finals Night to claim a fifth title of the year.

The Unicorn star won Players Championship 11 in Milton Keynes on Saturday as he beat young German Gabriel Clemens 6-5 in a thrilling final.

Gary bounced back in style after his semi-final loss to Michael Smith at the O2 to take a third Players Championship victory of 2018.

Anderson said: “To be honest I was going to go home after Thursday night but decided to play and I nicked it in the end. It was a tough old day and, in the end, a good result for the old man! I guess I needed that.”

The Scot won the quarter-final, semi-final and final in last leg deciders. It was a classy performance from a class act.

He averaged 107 in beating Adrian Lewis in the quarter-finals and Darren Webster in the semi-finals.

And the Scot came back superbly to beat the German in the final. He was 1-4 down but fought back to level. Clemens took the ninth leg before Anderson forced the deciding leg. Clemens missed two match darts and the Unicorn ace took the title.

He was made to work hard all day at Stadium MK.

After a 1st Round 6-4 win over Josh Payne, he then beat Peter Hudson 6-5, Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 and Ryan Joyce 6-3 before those brilliant performances to dispatch Lewis and Webster.

Elsewhere as far as Team Unicorn was concerned, Michael Smith reached the quarter-finals but lost 6-4 to Webster, while Adam Hunt enjoyed a good run to the last 16 where he was beaten 6-1 by Peter Wright.

*************************

Meanwhile there was double celebration for Unicorn youngster Chris Dobey on Friday night as he qualified for two more big Euro Tour events - the Gibraltar Darts Trophy and Danish Darts Open. Ted Evetts also qualified for the Denmark event.

By STUART PYKE

Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Sublime Smith So Close!

Thursday, 17 May 2018 23:34:24 Europe/London

Unicorn ace Michael Smith was beaten in the final of the Premier League in London.

Michael van Gerwen won the title for a fourth time and a third consecutive year with an 11-4 victory over Smith at the O2.

Smith was up against an inspired Van Gerwen as the Dutchman so nearly broke the world record for the highest average in the final of a TV ‘Major’. He averaged 112.37. In the 2015 Masters Final, Van Gerwen averaged 112.49

But the Team Unicorn star can still be mighty proud of his Premier League season. He has grown up as a man and as a darts player. His consolation is the biggest pay cheque of his career - £120,000 - and by reaching the final, he has also guaranteed his place at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts.

“I guess I ran out of steam in the final. Ultimately I am disappointed not to go on and win because I played really well all night. But Michael played like a World No.1 and that was incredible!”

“I have to be happy overall with the Premier League. I know I am close to that first big title. My confidence won’t be knocked by losing the final. I move on with the belief that I belong,” Smith added.

It has still been a heck of a journey for Smith. To finish second in the league and then reach the final. He has earned new respect and there is no doubt the St Helens star will fulfil his darting destiny by winning ‘Major’ TV titles.

But nobody would have beaten Van Gerwen on Thursday night.

He started off the final with legs of 12, 12 and 11 darts before Smith got on the board. Van Gerwen went on to establish an 8-1 lead and at that stage was averaging just shy of 122!

Smith though refused to throw the towel in. He nailed finishes of 125 and 104 to stay in it and hit six 180s in the final. But there was no stopping Van Gerwen who won it in style with a 112 check-out.

In the semi-finals, Smith stunned Gary Anderson in the all Unicorn clash. The Scot losing in the PL semi-finals for a third straight year as the apprentice got the better of the master with a confident, assured and clinical performance.

There were seven 180s in the first five legs as Smith opened up a 4-1 lead. Crucially Anderson missed four darts to level at two apiece and another two chances went begging in the 10th leg to make it 5-5.

Whenever he was under pressure Smith responded superbly. A 120-finish made it 7-4 and although he blew four darts for an 8-4 advantage it didn’t matter. He took his 180 tally to eight and then sunk Anderson with an 11 darter followed by a 14 darter to win it.

Take a bow Michael Smith!

Results: S/Finals:

Michael van Gerwen 10-6 Rob Cross

Michael Smith 10-6 Gary Anderson

Final:

Michael van Gerwen 11-4 Michael Smith

Story by STUART PYKE at the O2 Arena

 

Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Anderson and Smith prepare for their big match

Wednesday, 16 May 2018 22:16:21 Europe/London

Close friends and Unicorn team-mates Gary Anderson and Michael Smith prepare to go head-to-head in their Premier League clash, with the Scot in familiar territory having qualified for The O2 for a fifth successive year.

Two-time Premier League champion Anderson secured his Play-Off spot with a win over Van Gerwen in Aberdeen last week, and the Scottish star knows he will have to be at his best to beat his protégé Smith.

“He’s like my adopted son but I will be playing to win,” said Anderson, who recorded a 7-2 win over Smith in their last Premier League meeting in Rotterdam and is 7/2 to claim the title for a third time.

“He’s my mate and we get on really well, but it doesn’t matter what game we’re playing I always want to win.

“It’ll be great playing Michael on such a massive stage and whichever one of us loses will be there cheering the other on in the final.

“Whoever wins will be on the wind-up for the next fortnight and neither of us wants to be on the receiving end!”

Smith will also be making his debut Play-Offs appearance, although he has experience of playing on stage at The O2, having won the Unicorn PDC World Youth Championship final in 2013 against Ricky Evans.

The St Helens star has enjoyed a memorable second Premier League campaign, which saw him end the league phase in second place, and Smith is now focussed on making Thursday the biggest night of his life.

“I believe I can win the Premier league,” said Smith, who beat Anderson 7-5 on the opening night of the season in Dublin.

“I’ve won two games in a day against the world’s best players many times before so there’s no reason why I can’t do it again at The O2.

“I would love to be introduced to the stage at the World Matchplay in July as the reigning champion of the Premier League.”

A crowd of 10,000 fans will pack The O2 on Thursday to see the tournament’s conclusion, with a £250,000 first prize on offer for the eventual champion.

Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Michael Smith Talks to Stuart Pyke

Wednesday, 16 May 2018 09:32:47 Europe/London

Ahead of his Premier League semi-final clash with Gary Anderson, Michael Smith talks to Stuart Pyke about his preparation for the match, what it's like to play against his mentor and friend, his good run in 2018, his family and how he is aiming to improve his consistency. It is a great insight into how he is developing as a player and a person.

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Alex James

Part's Premier League Preview!

Monday, 14 May 2018 11:55:44 Europe/London

Team Unicorn World Champion Ambassador and Sky Sports Darts pundit John Part previews the eagerly awaited 2018 Premier League finals night that takes place this coming Thursday at the O2 Arena in London.

'Darth Maple' focusses on the all Team Unicorn Semi-Final clash between 'The Flying Scotsman' Gary Anderson and 'Bullyboy' Michael Smith. This scenario of course, leads to a guarantee a Unicorn player in this years final. But who will it be?

Find out more about what JP has to say about it all, by watching his preview video below:

 

 

 

 

 

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Matthew Rankin

Huybrechts misses out

Monday, 14 May 2018 10:47:07 Europe/London

Kim Huybrechts will feel he missed a great opportunity at the Dutch Darts Masters.

The Unicorn ace has endured a tough run of form but made it through to the semi-finals in Zwolle before throwing away a lead to lose 7-5 to Irishman Steve Lennon

The tournament was won by Michael van Gerwen who claimed a fourth Euro Tour title of the year with an 8-5 victory over Lennon in the final.

In the last 16, the Belgian played superbly to beat Jermaine Wattimena in a last leg decider and again in the quarter-finals, he held his nerve to see off Peter Wright 6-5 after ‘Snakebite’ had missed four match darts.

But sadly Huybrechts saved his worst performance of the day for the semi-finals. He actually led 3-0 and 4-2 but faded and Lennon completed a 7-5 victory to reach his first European Tour Final.

It was his first semi-final appearance on the tour for three months and hopefully a much-needed confidence boost as he looks for a return to top form.

Van Gerwen survived match darts against Daryl Gurney in the semi-finals before delighting the home crowd yet again.

Unicorn star Kyle Anderson came from 4-1 down to beat Cameron Menzies in the last 16 but then came up against Van Gerwen in the semi’s. The Aussie came from 0-3 down to get within a leg, including hitting seven perfect darts in that 5th leg.

Dutch Darts Masters - Q/Finals:

Steve Lennon 6-3 Mensur Suljovic

Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Peter Wright

Daryl Gurney 6-2 Stephen Bunting

Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Kyle Anderson

S/Finals:

Steve Lennon 7-5 Kim Huybrechts

Michael van Gerwen 7-6 Daryl Gurney

Final:

Michael van Gerwen 8-5 Steve Lennon

Report from STUART PYKE

Image courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Anderson through to the O2 and Smith semi-final showdown!

Thursday, 10 May 2018 23:43:34 Europe/London

]Team Unicorn stars Gary Anderson and Michael Smith will clash head on in the Premier League semi-finals in London.

Anderson sealed a dramatic victory over Michael van Gerwen on home soil in Aberdeen to claim third place in the table. Smith was confirmed in second spot after his draw with Raymond van Barneveld.

So a huge Unicorn showdown it is!

Van Gerwen will now face Rob Cross in the other semi-final.

Anderson said: “I had to win with the support of that crowd. It was a crazy atmosphere. My form has been up and down, but to play Michael will be something else. I’m after him for sure!”

Anderson’s place at Finals Night was actually confirmed before he played. As soon as Peter Wright hit D19 to win a third leg against Daryl Gurney, the Unicorn star had qualified.

But he knew a victory over Van Gerwen would mean the pair avoided each other in the semi-finals, and Anderson was up for it.

He broke throw in the opening leg but missed five darts for a 2-0 advantage and Van Gerwen turned it around to lead 2-1. But the Scot then reeled off three legs on the spin, including a 121 check-out after the Dutchman missed ‘tops’ for a second time to take out 160.

Finishes of 104 and 81 on the bull saw Van Gerwen level, but the Unicorn ace broke again and then took out 112 for a crucial hold. The World No.1 forced the last leg but Anderson kept his cool and ‘tops’ saw him clinch a crucial win.

So Smith secured second spot in the table after a thriller against Raymond van Barneveld, and it was a brave, battling display from the Unicorn man who was told this week he is suffering from pleurisy.

It really has been a phenomenal performance from Smith - arguably the highlight of his career so far. Can he now go on and claim the big prize at the O2?

“That’s certainly the aim!” he said. “The illness hasn’t helped but at least I know what the problem is now and it can be treated, so I will be fit and ready for Gary at Finals Night!”

There was some sensational finishing. It was four apiece after eight holds of throw....Barney took out 122, 126 and 121 while Smith hit a vital 124.

Van Barneveld then broke throw for 5-4 but Smith responded straight away after the Dutchman missed three darts to take control. Smith then nailed a superb 107 check-out to guarantee a point and Barney responded with a 91 finish to make it all square.

So Smith against Anderson.....bring it on!

Aberdeen results:

Michael Smith 6-6 Raymond van Barneveld

Simon Whitlock 6-6 Rob Cross

Peter Wright 6-6 Daryl Gurney

Michael van Gerwen 5-7 Gary Anderson

Premier League S/Finals at the O2:

Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross

Michael Smith v Gary Anderson

Story from STUART PYKE

Photos courtesy Steve Walsh / PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

Anderson goes for glory in Aberdeen

Wednesday, 9 May 2018 18:55:29 Europe/London

Gary Anderson will be aiming to secure his place in the Unibet Premier League Play-Offs in front of a passionate Scottish crowd as the league season ends at The BHGE Arena in Aberdeen on Thursday.

Team Unicorn’s two-time Premier League Champion needs to win just three legs against Michael van Gerwen to guarantee his place at The O2 on May 17.

Anderson’s only rival for the final top four spot is Daryl Gurney, who must win at least 7-2 against Peter Wright and hope league leader Van Gerwen records a big win over the Scot.

The 47-year-old will be hoping to bounce back from defeats to Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld in the past fortnight to join Van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Rob Cross in the Play-Offs.

"Obviously Michael will be a tough opponent,” said Anderson, who won the Premier League in 2011 and 2015.

"I've just got to make sure I do enough to get to The O2 without any dramas.

"It's all about producing at the right times now, I want to win in Scotland and I love coming home. It's always very special and I've got a decent record in Aberdeen.

"I really don't care where I finish in the top four and who I face at The O2. All I'm fussed about is playing my best game when I get there."

Elsewhere, Michael Smith, who secured his Play-Off place last week with a 6-6 draw against Gurney, will take on Van Barneveld in the opening game of the evening in Aberdeen.

The Unicorn ace insists he won’t be relaxing as he aims to secure a second-placed finish in just his second Premier League season on Thursday.

“I’m not going to relax against Raymond,” said Smith, who returned to the Premier League this year after a one-year absence.

"Last time we played I beat him 7-0 and he’s going to try to do the same to me, so I know I can’t afford to take things easy this week.

“I want to win as many points as I can to make sure I finish as high as I possibly can in the table and I want to keep the winning feeling going ahead of The O2.

“To finish second in the Premier League at my second attempt would be a great achievement.”

A small number of tickets for Thursday's Unibet Premier League at The BHGE Arena are still available and can be purchased via www.ticketmaster.co.uk/AECC and 08444 77 9000.

The Unibet Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports from 7pm on Thursday, and aired worldwide through the PDC's international broadcast partners and for PDCTV-HD Subscribers outside of the UK, Ireland & Netherlands.

In addition, the Unibet Premier League will feature radio commentary throughout the season on talkSPORT and talkSPORT2.

Unibet Premier League

Night 15 – May 10

The BHGE Arena, Aberdeen

Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld

Simon Whitlock v Rob Cross

Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney

Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson

Image courtesy Lawrence Lustig PDC

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson

PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Round-up

Monday, 7 May 2018 22:17:19 Europe/London

Michael Barnard and Adam Huckvale enjoyed PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour victories as the year’s third double-header weekend concluded in Wigan on Sunday.

Barnard claimed his third Challenge Tour win of the year, while Huckvale became the tenth different winner in 2018 from a dozen tournaments.

The winner of Saturday’s Event Ten, Barnard overcame veteran Andy Jenkins 5-3 in the final in Wigan to complete his weekend double with a second £2,000 title.

The 41-year-old recorded whitewash 5-0 wins over Sam Booth and Jamie Kelling in the opening two rounds, before beating Eddie Lovely 5-1 to progress to the last 32.

A 5-3 win over Kevin Garcia was then followed by a 5-2 triumph over Jay Foreman as Barnard reached the quarter-finals.

Barnard beat Cameron Menzies 5-2 in the last eight, before recording a 5-3 win against Dennis Nilsson - who threw a nine-dart leg during Event Ten on Saturday - to set up a final with Jenkins.

In Event 12, Adam Huckvale defeated Darren Beveridge 5-3 to seal his maiden Challenge Tour triumph.

Huckvale beat Antony Darlow 5-1 in round one, then edged past Ash Hilditch 5-4, before recording a whitewash 5-0 win over Wes Newton.

The Event Six semi-finalist then beat Jesus Noguera Perea 5-1, followed by a 5-2 quarter-final victory over Paul Phillips and saw off Stuart Kellett 5-3 to book his place in the final against Beveridge.

Event 12 also saw Bournemouth's Lee Turle hit a perfect nine-dart leg in his 5-4 defeat to Dave Prins.

Nilsson completed a memorable weekend with two semi-finals on Sunday, while Event Nine winner Cody Harris reached the last eight in Event 12.

The PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour will continue on September 8-9 as Events 13-16 take place at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.

PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour

Sunday May 6, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan

Event 11

Last 16

Andy Jenkins 5-2 Matthew Dennant

Ted Evetts 5-3 Rhys Griffin

Boris Koltsov 5-1 Wilco Vermeulen

Barrie Bates 5-3 Chas Barstow

Dennis Nilsson 5-1 Brett Claydon

Martin Atkins 5-4 Dave Prins

Cameron Menzies 5-3 Scott Dale

Michael Barnard 5-2 Jay Foreman

Quarter-Finals

Andy Jenkins 5-3 Ted Evetts

Barrie Bates 5-1 Boris Koltsov

Dennis Nilsson 5-3 Martin Atkins

Michael Barnard 5-2 Cameron Menzies

Semi-Finals

Andy Jenkins 5-2 Barrie Bates

Michael Barnard 5-3 Dennis Nilsson

Final

Michael Barnard 5-3 Andy Jenkins

Event 12

Last 16

Stuart Kellett 5-2 Reece Robinson

Cody Harris 5-1 Matt Clark

Paul Phillips 5-3 Geert Nentjes

Adam Huckvale 5-1 Jesus Noguera Perea

Dennis Nilsson 5-4 Christoff Van De Wal

Andy Boulton 5-3 Kevin Garcia

Darren Beveridge 5-3 Adrian Gray

Yordi Meeuwisse 5-2 Boris Koltsov

Quarter-Finals

Stuart Kellett 5-2 Cody Harris

Adam Huckvale 5-2 Paul Phillips

Dennis Nilsson 5-4 Andy Boulton

Darren Beveridge 5-2 Yordi MeeuwisseSemi-Finals

Adam Huckvale 5-3 Stuart Kellett

Darren Beveridge 5-3 Dennis Nilsson

Final

Adam Huckvale 5-3 Darren Beveridge

Comments | Posted in Unicorn Darts By Peter Johnson
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