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PDC ready but awaiting crowd return for Premier League Darts conclusion |  Darts News

Jonny Clayton sets the pace for the Premier League Darts after five rounds of matches, PDC chief executive Matt Porter is hoping the competition can end in front of a crowd (Image: Lawrence Lustig / PDC)

Despite the world No.1 retiring less than 10 hours before the start of the Premier League Darts, PDC general manager Matt Porter is delighted with the competitive nature of this year’s competition and is still hopeful that the final stages will go ahead. will perform in front of a crowd.

“It’s a waiting game, but I just want to reassure everyone, whether you are a fan, a player, a stakeholder, we are ready to do whatever we need to do as soon as we are allowed”, Porter said in the last episode. of The Darts Show podcast.

“We don’t take this as free time. We implemented Plan A to Plan Z and that was proven, I think, by the content we delivered and the way we delivered it.

“It’s about having the ability to think on your feet and prepare for things in the background. Even though it doesn’t seem like much to do, in the background a million puzzle pieces are put together and that’s about getting the last one cleared. “

Planning for a sporting season has been tricky over the past 12 months, but the PDC has responded innovatively and quickly over the past year to deliver as strong a darts schedule as it gets – from the Home Tour to the first lockdown at a world championship played. almost entirely behind closed doors.

The start of the 2021 Premier League, which had already delayed the appointment of its latest entrant, was pushed back two months by the coronavirus pandemic, then forced behind closed doors as restrictions remained in place before being handed another challenge a little less than two weeks ago.

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Gerwyn Price – the world No.1, newly crowned world champion and arguably the most dominant player in the sport for the past 18 months – has been forced to withdraw from the Premier League after returning a positive test for Covid- 19.

The news arrived less than 10 hours before opening night started, and very quickly it was announced that James Wade would replace Price and the usual social media fury over the tournament’s continuation followed.

The way the world is now, there has to be a procedure, and with precedents set following positive tests at the World Grand Prix, the European Tour and the World Championship, for Porter and the PDC team, it was simple.

“It’s a sign of the times, isn’t it really,” Porter added..

“Losing your world No. 1 and world champion is very disappointing, but unfortunately we have to follow the rules and Gerwyn has tested positive.

PDC ready but awaiting crowd return for Premier League Darts conclusion |  Darts News

Gerwyn Price was kicked out of the Premier League after returning a positive coronavirus test

“It’s very unfortunate for the event, very unhappy for Gerwyn, very lucky for James Wade – fair play for him for his cooperation and his willingness to get to Milton Keynes by chance and he got the reward.

“We have to follow the rules. If we don’t play by the rules, we can’t run the event. I think he’s coming to the end of his isolation now and I hope his health stays good and he can be. back in the field. get on board sooner rather than later. “

Wade was the first reserve, he was at Milton Keynes and had been tested for exactly that reason, so it was a fairly straightforward process that he would take Price’s place and just fit into Iceman’s matches.

Premier League Darts: matches of the night 6

Rob Cross vs. Gary Anderson
Jose de Sousa vs. James Wade
Jonny Clayton vs. Dimitri Van den Bergh
Glen Durrant vs. Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall vs. Peter Wright

Premier League Live Darts

April 19, 2021, 7:00 p.m.

Live of

What followed was the most competitive start to the Premier League that almost everyone can remember.

Nine consecutive darts from Jose de Sousa and Jonny Clayton, more than 100 averages and the top nine players in the table separated by just three points after De Sousa’s victory over Dimitri Van den Bergh in the last game of the opening phase.

Only defending champion Glen Durrant is cut adrift as competition resumes at Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on Monday with four more nights of action – in the end, those two players will be eliminated.

“I feel for Glen,” Porter said. “He’s obviously going through a very difficult time on set and I hope that’s something he can overcome. I know it’s something that he’s facing and tackling. He’s not one of those players who just thinks everything is fine and wears it down on what he’s doing.

“He’s trying to straighten things out and that’s because he’s a real professional. The rest – that’s throwing all names in the air, isn’t it?

PDC ready but awaiting crowd return for Premier League Darts conclusion |  Darts News

PDC ready but awaiting crowd return for Premier League Darts conclusion |  Darts News 1:07
Jonny Clayton hit the first of two nine-dart finishes in as many nights

Jonny Clayton hit the first of two nine-dart finishes in as many nights

“That’s what gets good sporting interest. Nobody wants to see walkovers and people winning the league by 20 points, because it’s boring. You don’t want to know who wins until the end and that. is what we have at the moment. it’s awesome.

“Jonny and Dimi are showing great signs, but everyone is leaning behind them.

“Even Jose, who maybe struggled the first two nights in terms of results, won the night’s performance twice in five nights and he’s ninth!

“It just shows you that this is anyone’s game.”

PDC ready but awaiting crowd return for Premier League Darts conclusion |  Darts News

PDC ready but awaiting crowd return for Premier League Darts conclusion |  Darts News 1:03
Having been the catcher for Clayton’s perfect leg, Jose De Sousa dealt one of his own

Having been the catcher for Clayton’s perfect leg, Jose De Sousa dealt one of his own

It has now been over a year since the PDC hosted a full house for one of its events in this country. A small crowd a few times in Europe and a handful on the opening night of the World Championship are the only paying customers who walk through the door.

But as the restrictions begin to ease, hopes for crowds to return begin to rise. Test events are already in place, and World Snooker will be playing their tournament in Sheffield with a crowd and the PDC will be keeping a close watch on their Matchroom colleagues.

The plan, as it always has been, is for a crowd in the final week of the Premier League, which comes a week after the next lockdown easing and ultimately – as Barry Hearn told the podcast fifteen ago. days, to have a full house for the World Matchplay in Blackpool.

PDC ready but awaiting crowd return for Premier League Darts conclusion |  Darts News

The Premier League has been kept away from the usual bright lights and large crowds, although the PDC hope to welcome a limited number of fans in May.

Porter’s team are ready, even with short notice and with small windows for ticket sales.

“We’ve had some preliminary conversations, we know the sites are ready to go, we’ve got a plan in place, we just need to know we’re allowed to do it and see if people want to come.

“Obviously, time is running out. I think it’s a little over four weeks now, so we don’t have a lot of time, but it wouldn’t be a huge amount of tickets either, so hopefully. that we can get things done there, but we’re in the hands of others, as always.

“It’s May 17th – the next step in unlocking – initially there was talk of 1000 or 50% capacity crowds for indoor events. That’s the benchmark we’re looking for, so things keep moving forward.”

The year of darts focused on a few blocks of Pro Tour events, this meant 12 player championship competitions were held, alongside the Masters, UK Open and the start of the Premier League.

The World Series have already been moved, only the Nordic Masters and the World Series Finals are taking place in Europe. The Darts World Cup will be held in Jena, Germany in September rather than the scheduled June date, and as it stands there are no European Tour events on the calendar.

“We have a lot of sites on hold, places where players are used to going,” Porter adds.

“Obviously there are different countries involved, so there are different stages of restrictions there, but the simple position is that we are ready to act quickly, as and when we can.

“We need to be aware of travel and hotels, testing requirements, quarantine. At the end of the day, at the moment, we can’t do anything, so we’re not going to do anything, but when we can, we’ll be ready to move.

“We won’t be playing the European Tour behind closed doors, so it’s going to depend on the crowds.

“We’re probably a third of the time, but I wouldn’t say content wise – we certainly hope to go back the second half of the year if you like.

“The standard has been phenomenal; it has been excellent. It has been frustrating not to have really moved in terms of the crowd, although hopefully the wheels are starting to spin there.

“It’s just the usual challenges of testing and traveling overseas that spoiled us, but other than that it’s something we’re getting used to.”

Don’t miss an arrow thrown with Sky Sports while the Premier League Darts resumes on Monday April 19 at 7 p.m. on Sky Sports Action – and stay with us to build that up for updates, interviews and reactions from the start of this year’s contest.


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