I had a few late nights in Dublin and have just about recovered! It was a real party atmosphere last week with 10,000 fans there. We’d a great reception for a lot of the players but the support for Barney really brought a tear to the eye. “Barney Army!” they were cheering as he dug out a draw against Mensur Suljovic after being 5-1 down.
It was a magnificent occasion, the fans went home happy and we had a couple of pints of Guinness afterwards.
It’s on to Exeter this week for week four of the Premier League, and I like this week’s challenger to cause a stir in the opener.
You may remember Luke Humphries, the 24-year-old from Newbury, as he played brilliantly at the World Championship where he went on to reach the quarter-finals. He beat Rob Cross, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Stephen Bunting on the way, and had a 170 checkout against Micheal Smith.
He’s hoping this is the match that will kickstart his career, but he ‘s taking on Gerwyn Price, who is in fantastic form at the moment.
He is unbeaten in the league this season. He was 5-2 against James Wade last week and drew 6-6. He won two events in the Players Championship at the weekend past, one on Saturday and one Sunday, so he’s in scintillating form. He took down Daryl Gurney in week one and finished 6-6 with Barney in week two, but still, I fancy Luke Humphries this week.
There’s not a lot of logic to it, but the major factor going for him is he’s a big stage player. He played brilliantly in the Worlds but has been pretty poor away from the TV cameras. He sees this as an opportunity to make a name for himself and prove he belongs among the big boys.
Daryl’s looking for a hat-trick of wins in this year’s competition. He hit 15 140s in a 7-5 win over Michael Smith last week in Dublin, and he also beat Glen Durrant a couple of weeks before.
Rob’s looking to bounce back after being absolutely demolished last week in a 7-2 thrashing. Michael van Gerwen was shaking his head when he didn’t get the whitewash such are his standards these days.
But I’m fancying a draw here at 16/5.
Mensur’s still looking for a first victory. He was 5-1 up against Barney and drew last week in Dublin. Meanwhile, Peter Wright is playing reasonably well in the Premier League this year, with two draws and a win. He was a finalist in 2017, beat Steve Lennon last week, and has drawn with Rob Cross and Michael Smith so far.
I’m looking at another draw here. It’s very tight this year, the most competitive Premier League ever I believe, so 6-6 at 16/5 looks a good bet to me in this one.
It’d be a surprise if this was a draw!
11/2 is the price for it. It probably won’t be a draw. Michael van Gerwen’s 1/4 with James Wade a big price at 7/1. Wade has the game to beat MVG on occasion, but I think Michael is too strong at the moment. Even his B game is better than everyone else’s A game. He targetting a fifth title, and the only man with a 100% record this season. He destroyed Rob Cross last week. I’m expecting a big performance again this week. I’d look at the 7-3 or 7-4 winning scores, and 7-4 is my preference because Wade is a fighter. He’s averaged over 100 a couple of weeks this year, so 7/2 for 7-4 MVG victory is the pick for me.
Michael’s had surgery this week on an abscess on his inner thigh, which sounds horrendous. He’s having to have dressings changed every day so it doesn’t get more infected, so that’s really horrible!
It means I like Barney to do the job here. Michael will be uncomfortable, hasn’t been able to practice as much as he usually does. Raymond’s showed fighting spirit against Mensur Suljovic and Gerwyn Price, battling back from 5-1 and 6-2 down against both of them. He’ll get a hero’s welcome down in Exeter, there’ll be lots of students and fancy dress. A 7-5 victory for Barney over Michael Smith is 15/2, I’m backing Barney again. I may be a fool but I’m a sentimental old fool and hopefully, Barney will get the win.
I’m going for Luke Humphries in the first match. I don’t know what it was about him, but he came into the studio at the World Championship and he was really, really confident and a really good lad. He loves the big stage and likes to finish on a 170 so that might be worth a tickle in the match, but a 7-5 victory for Luke Humphries at 11/1 is my bet of the night. Gerwyn’s playing brilliant darts at the moment, but that form’s got to run out at some stage, so Cool Hand Luke will keep his cool in Exeter and bring home the bacon.