Phil Taylor’s return to form continued in week three of the Premier League as he saw off defending champion Gary Anderson 7-4 at the 3Arena in Dublin.
The Flying Scotsman is also the current world champion but it was the 16-time winner who claimed the points with his second win of the season.
When Taylor missed four darts at double 7 in the sixth leg, Anderson made it 3-3 but, still “not 100%”, after a bout of flu, the champion failed to kick on.
The Power won the next two legs to put space between him and the world number two and although Anderson took out 61 to claim the ninth leg it was to be his last.
Despite some strange out-shot choices from Taylor, the Stoke man averaged 100 and closed out the game comfortably.
“You’re out there to try and entertain. These people have paid their money to come and watch a good game,” he told RTÉ Sport about the sell-out 9,000 crowd.
“They stand up when you’re playing well. The crowd were fantastic, they cheer at the right time and they booed at the right time, to be honest.”
He added: “Last year, I didn’t want to be there. I’m okay now,” referring to a season where he failed to win a PDC tournament and went through some personal difficulties.
The second heavyweight battle of the night saw Michael van Gerwen record a 106 average on the way to a 7-4 win over erstwhile league leader Adrian Lewis.
The world number one was 5-4 up but almost allowed Lewis back into the game.
The two-time world champion missed doubles in the next two legs and was punished when MVG took out double top in the 11th leg.
“It was a good game for everyone to watch,” he said.
“There was passion. We didn’t want to lose to each other. I did the right thing at the right moment.”
The victory meant that the Dutch man has won five out of five Premier League games at this venue.
“It’s probably the fans, or me, or both,” he said. “I feel really comfortable on this stage. It’s just a bit of luck I’ve got on my side with the green shirt.”
Peter Wright got off to a slow start in the night’s opening game against James Wade but, after trailing 3-1, found his form to claim his third win in three games.
Snakebite (104 average) hit a 161 out-shot to take a 5-3 lead and, after the duo shared six 180s, ran out a 7-4 victor.
The Scotland-born player, now top of the table, has never reached the semi-finals of the tournament but is confident of changing that statistic.
“It’s going to come this year,” he said. “I know they all fear me. I’m not even playing well yet.”
Raymond van Barneveld cut a relieved figure after his 7-5 win over Robert Thornton, Grand Prix winner in Dublin last October.
Thornton missed a shot at double 4 for what would have been a valuable point after a first-round defeat and missing out last week due to illness.
RVB said: “He’s a fighter and he always comes back. Maybe the crowd was not really sporting,” he said in reference to some ill-timed booing of the Scot. “But you have to do your own thing and hit your doubles.”
New boy Michael Smith, making his debut in the tournament, claimed his first point of the season in a 6-6 draw Dave Chisnall.
It was also the first stalemate of the year and Smith did have a 6-5 lead but Chisnall, who already had one win under his belt, cleaned up the final leg in 11 darts to ensure the St Helen’s pair shared the spoils.