Saturday | 24/03/2012

Anyone who still had doubts about the popularity of Premier League darts only had to cast their eyes over the gigantic o2 Arena on Thursday night to dispel them – and the Irish were provided with a night of darts to remember!
Over 9,000 people were in attendance but the design of the arena was such that it made everyone feel a part of the action.

I had spent the previous weekend in Ireland playing exhibitions and everyone wanted to talk about the Premier League and right from the start they were drawn into a compelling sew-saw contest between Andy Hamilton and Simon Whitlock.

There was never any real distance between them as Hamilton’s accuracy on the doubles in the early games kept him in the match and it was left to Whitlock to make up the deficit with some superb finishing in the latter stages to earn a deserved draw.

It was good to see Adrian Lewis back to something near his best.  Kevin Painter kept up with him for a while before the two times World Champion went into overdrive to claim his first victory of the tournament.

The Irish, just like the Scots last week, got right behind Barney and he repaid their support by playing some great darts to defeat Gary Anderson.

The finale was provided by an imperious performance from Phil Taylor who swept past James Wade to underline that he will be the man to beat in the semi-finals and final of this competition.