Barney remains on course
Author: Sky Sports Darts
Raymond van Barneveld remained on course for a Premier League semi-final spot with a hard-fought 7-5 victory over Andy Hamilton in Sheffield.
The Dutchman stormed into a 3-0 lead, first taking out 120 before taking advantage of his opponent missing shots at double six and 12.
A maximum set him on the way to a third successive leg but then missed three darts at double 16 to allow Hamilton the chance to pin the same bed.
Hamilton nailed his first maximum but again messed up on the doubles and 'Barney' stepped in with double five to make it 4-1.
But the 'Hammer' fought back, taking the next four legs to lead for the first time, finishing on 124 before crucially nailing double 16, double 10 and the bull in successive legs.
However, that was as good as it got as van Barneveld rallied with double eight to draw level again, hitting the same bed to lead after Hamilton missed two out shots and then closing out the match with a 14-darter.
The Dutchman moves level with James Wade on 14 points, three clear of Robert Thornton who went down 7-4 to Simon Whitlock in the opening game of the night.
The Australian kept alive his hopes of a Premier League play-off place but found himself 4-2 down against the Scot, but Thornton's low double percentage allowed Whitlock back in the match.
Thornton broke twice thanks to an 11-darter that saw him hit successive maximums and three consecutive finishes on double top.
He had several chances to take a 5-2 lead but the Aussie stole the leg, and the momentum. He levelled the match and when Thornton missed a shot at tops he checked out 64 to lead for the first time since the third leg.
Thornton failed to hit double four with three darts, allowing Whitlock to take the 10th leg, before he rounded off victory with a brace of 180s, closing on double eight for a 13-darter.
"It's not much fun sitting on the bottom of the table so I'm happy to have won," said Whitlock. "I'm happy to still be in the league, but if I didn't believe I couldn't make the play-offs I wouldn't be playing."