Chizzy and Smith battle to avoid early exit

Dave Chisnall in action during the second week of the 2016 Betway Premier League against Adrian Lewis
Dave Chisnall in action during the second week of the 2016 Betway Premier League against Adrian Lewis
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Dave Chisnall and his St Helens pal Michael Smith are both facing a battle to avoid an early exit from the Betway Premier Darts League with Judgement Day only a couple of weeks away.

Chizzy crashed to a 7-4 defeat to five times world champion Raymond van Barneveld in Glasgow and now lies third from the bottom of the table with three points and only edges ahead of Smith, who didn't feature at the Scottish venue,due to a better scoring average from seven matches.

Robert Thornton currently occupies bottom spot with one point to his name from six games but crucially has two fixtures next Thursday when the competition heads for the Echo Arena, Liverpool - one of which is against Bully Boy.

On the same night, Chisnall takes on world champion Gary Anderson.

Meanwhile, despite failure to qualify for the Premier League, Stephen Bunting has not

been performing too badly in other competitions of late.

Earlier in the week the St Helens ace won his second PDC ranking title at the Players' Championship Two, beating world no. 1 Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Bunting had won his only previous PDC tournament at a UK Open Qualifier in February 2014, but produced a day of outstanding darts as he denied in-form van Gerwen his seventh title of the year and became the first player from outside of the world's top five to win a PDC event so far in 2016.

The St Helens ace overcame Johnny Haines 6-1 in his opening match and then defeated Robbie Green 6-3 before claiming deciding-leg wins over Betway Premier League aces Robert Thornton and Adrian Lewis - where he produced a remarkable comeback from 5-0 down - to reach the quarter-finals.

There, he dropped just one leg against Andrew Gilding before sneaking past Saturday's Players Championship One winner Peter Wright in another 11-leg battle, but he saved his best performance for the final against world number one van Gerwen.

The Dutchman took the opening leg in 16 darts before finishing 141 for a 12-darter to double his lead, only for Bunting to take the next four legs in 15, 12, 14 and 13 darts - landing two 180s in the game's fourth leg - to move into a 4-2 advantage.

Van Gerwen landed a 180 as he hit back in leg seven, only for Bunting to match that as he moved 5-3 up with the aid of a maximum of his own.

A 13-dart finish from van Gerwen kept his hopes alive at 5-4, and the pair both kicked off the tenth leg with scores of 140 and 180 before Bunting fired in a 137 score and took out 44 for a 12-darter to seal victory and secure the £10,000 first prize.

Van Gerwen had to settle for the £6,000 runner-up prize as he ended a PDC tournament weekend without a victory for the first time this year, after previously winning the Unibet Masters, three UK Open Qualifiers, the Dutch Darts Masters and last week's Coral UK Open Televised Finals.

The Dutch ace did, though, achieve perfection for a second successive weekend by landing a nine-darter in the opening leg of his 6-1 quarter-final win over Ian White.