Premier League 2013 - Ninth League Day

WES NEWTON and Gary Anderson were relegated from the McCoy's Premier League Darts on Judgement Night at the Brighton Centre on Thursday, as Robert Thornton's dream season continued with victory over Phil Taylor.

Newton and Anderson entered the ninth league night in the ten-player tournament knowing that they had to gain a result from their games with Andy Hamilton and James Wade if they were to avoid elimination at the expense of Adrian Lewis or Simon Whitlock.
However, both suffered losses as they drop out of the event, leaving the remaining eight players to battle for places in the top four over the next five weeks ahead of May's Play-Offs.

Newton, a Premier League debutant this season, went down 7-5 to Hamilton as the Stoke ace produced a key mid-game surge from 3-2 down to 5-3 ahead as he picked up his fifth win of the season.

"I'm really gutted, not only to be going out of the Premier League but that I didn't perform tonight," said Newton. "It was a big game for me and I knew I had to win, and I was trying my best. I came into tonight playing really well after winning the European Darts Trophy at the weekend and my confidence was high. I wasn't nervous but the scores just didn't go in. As a whole, my scoring just wasn't there and, when I'm on form, that's usually the best part of the game. I've loved every minute of the Premier League and it's been the highlight of my career, and I've just got to focus now on the rest of the year."
Hamilton added: "There was a lot of pressure tonight and, as much as I like Wes, I had to go out and do my job. I was relaxed and comfortable and I did what I needed to do. I want to push for the Play-Offs and this two points puts me in the mix again. I'm here for the duration and I'm going to do my best to get into the top four in the remaining games."

Anderson, meanwhile, was defeated 7-3 by 2009 champion Wade to mean that he will finish bottom of the table for a second successive season - despite being champion in 2011.

"It's been a frustrating season," said Anderson. "I played okay tonight but James took some good finishes out at the right time for him and that proved the difference. I've struggled for about a year and my game's there in practice but for some reason it's not quite there on stage - I'm throwing games away, but when it comes right I'll not be throwing them away."
Wade's victory - despite having been laid low with a chest infection and gastroenteritis last weekend - keeps him amongst the league leaders alongside van Barneveld and van Gerwen on 12 points at the top of the table.

"I'm very happy with that," said Wade, who hit finishes of 124 and 120 in the game. "It was a battle and the important thing was that I came out on top, and I showed at times why finishing's the easy part of the game. I can still improve on this performance and it's good to still be in the top four at this stage of the season."

Van Barneveld had kicked off the night in Brighton with a superb display of finishing as he defeated Adrian Lewis 7-2 - a result which left the two-time World Champion sweating on his own place in the tournament for a while. Lewis had hit five 180s in the game but missed ten darts at a double, and van Barneveld won five of the game's final six legs to claim the points.

"I hit some really crucial doubles with my last dart and I'm very pleased with that," said van Barneveld. "Adrian missed a lot of doubles and maybe if he'd hit them I would have been 5-2 or 6-2 down, but it was the same for me last week against Phil Taylor. I'm really happy to have won again and now we're into the final five weeks and we'll all be playing to get into the Play-Offs. I was really looking forward to this match because the Premier League's a great competition this year."
The subsequent defeats for Newton and Anderson secured Lewis' place in the tournament, and after losing his first four games before regaining his form, the world number three said: "I'm relieved to still be in the tournament and I want to kick on now.

"Raymond's finishing was great tonight and although I outscored him, I couldn't find the doubles and he deserved to win. In the last four weeks I've been scoring okay and hit my doubles, so it's annoying tonight not to hit my finishes when my scoring was good. I've got to take the positives out of this, though, and I'm going to push on now with my challenge to make the Play-Offs."

Australian star Whitlock also avoided the threat of relegation after Newton and Anderson's defeats, meaning that he remains in the tournament despite a 7-3 loss to van Gerwen. The Dutchman raced into a 6-1 lead in their clash before Whitlock finished 130 and 90 to hit back, but van Gerwen went on to claim his fifth victory of the season.

"I think I played a very solid game and I did very well," said van Gerwen. "I expected to play a better Simon but it was hard for him tonight because he had the pressure off him of qualifying for the rest of the Premier League. "I'm top of the table and I'm very proud of that, but I want to stay there and that will be very hard because we have seven games to go, and I'll try to win them all."

The night's only game which did not feature any players involved in the relegation scrap saw Scotland's Robert Thornton continue his brilliant debut campaign with a thrilling 7-4 win over reigning champion Phil Taylor. Taylor hit back from 3-1 down early on to level, but paid for missed doubles in the next two legs as Thornton regained command before going on to seal victory with an 11-dart finish - meaning that he moves above the World Champion into fourth place in the table.

"It was a great game and I'm delighted to have won," said Thornton. "I've had some classics with Phil and there was no pressure on us tonight so we could go on stage and enjoy the game. I've got to look at the Play-Offs now because of how I'm playing, so I hope I can keep it going for the next five weeks and make the top four. I'm very proud to be where I am in the table and this week ranks amongst the best nights in my career."

The tournament will continue at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield next Thursday, which is the first of three successive league nights which will feature six games, before the final two league nights see five matches take place before the top four players progress to the Play-Offs on May 16.

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