10 Things Learned From The Betway Premier League 2015
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With the 2016 Betway Premier League fast-approaching – and the Legends of Darts Masters exhibition tournament coming up at The O2 – we recap the key talking points from the 2015 season
Everyone is stepping up their game
For a long time, any average above 100 was considered incredible (a player’s average score per three darts). But in 2015, averages as high as 110 became increasingly common, although no one was able to top Gary Anderson’s official tournament record of 133.35 set back in 2011.
The sport’s popularity is massively increasing
11,000 spectators packed into The O2 for the Betway Premier League Play-offs, including plenty of first-time attendees such as @psycurious, who tweeted: ‘Super-excited to be going to my 1st live #darts event, Premier League playoffs at #O2 @OfficialPDC @laurajbouchard.’
With hundreds of thousands more watching on TV over the course of the 16-week season, darts looks set to continue going from strength to strength in 2016.
Nine-dart finishes remain elusive
Raymond van Barneveld and Anderson were among those who came close – with both being one dart short of the perfect finish on separate occasions – but sadly for the fans it wasn’t to be in the Betway Premier League in 2015. Next year, gents.
The days of English dominance could be over
For the second year running only one Englishman made it through to the Play-off semi-finals – surging contender Dave Chisnall – who was eventually knocked out by Anderson. The Scot went on to defeat van Gerwen in the final, who had disposed of fellow Dutchman van Barneveld in the other semi. Prior to 2014 there had always been at least two English players in the semis.
Dave Chisnall is one to watch
He may have been knocked out by eventual winner Anderson in the Playoffs, but the St Helens native put in some scintillating performances over the course of the 2015 season, and his second placed finish in the league phase suggests that it’s only a matter of time before he goes one better and wins a major title.
Gary Anderson is the world’s best in 2015
He can certainly make a legitimate claim, having won the Premier League title and the World Championships in the same calendar year – only the second player to do so after Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. Van Gerwen may have led the world rankings all year, but the Flying Scotsman bested him in big matches when it mattered.
Michael van Gerwen will be back
The prodigious Dutchman may have lost out on darts’ biggest prizes, but he still put in stellar performances throughout 2015 en route to claiming The Masters, the UK Open and the World Matchplay titles. We wouldn’t bet against him returning to his imperious, all-conquering best in 2016.
Phil Taylor’s days at the top might be numbered
‘The Power’ is unquestionably the greatest darts player of all time, but at 55 years of age, his powers may be (ever so slightly) on the wane. The six-time Betway Premier League winner failed to make the Playoffs for the first time in the competition's history this year, and although on his day he can still dominate the oche – witness his masterful nine-dart finish against Peter Wright at the Sydney Darts Masters earlier this year, for example – the suspicion remains that time may catch up with Taylor.
Peter Wright is the league’s most colourful character
‘Snakebite’ showed once again in 2015 why he’s one of darts’ premier showmen, with his trademark mohawk, over-the-top outfits and memorable walk-ons ramping up the entertainment factor for fans watching around the world. We’re loving your work, Peter.
But Peter Bunting still has the best walk-on song
Anyone who can poke fun at themselves in front of thousands of people gets a big thumbs up in our book, so take a bow Peter Bunting, whose walk-on song, Surfin’ Bird, by The Trashmen, is a nod to his uncanny resemblance to Peter Griffin, from the animated series Family Guy.