Lewis ends Anderson reign
Champion misses out as fight for play-offs gets tight
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: April 26, 2012 11:22pm
Gary Anderson: Champion misses out on play-off places
Defending champion Gary Anderson lost his grip on the Premier League trophy as a 7-7 draw with Adrian Lewis in Liverpool ensured he would not make it into the 2012 play-offs.
The fight for play-off places is really hotting up with just two weeks left to play now, and that showed itself in the fact that three matches ended in draws for the first time in the competition since 2006.
Phil Taylor is a whopping seven points out in front after his tenth win out of 12, but behind him six players can still mathematically fill the three remaining spots, with only reigning champion Anderson definitely ruled out.
The Scotsman started brightly but world champion Lewis showed his pedigree to level with a brilliant maximum 170 out shot, which he completed despite dropping his third dart, coolly picking it up to nail the Bull.
Week 12 Results
Adrian Lewis 7-7 Gary Anderson
Andy Hamilton 7-7 Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor 8-3 Simon Whitlock
Kevin Painter 7-7 James Wade
"It's been a struggle," said Anderson. "From day one it's been a struggle but I'm getting back to somewhere near my best, which is encouraging.
"It's nice to feel right on the stage for once, it's a long time since I've felt it. I've got to concentrate on the others now this is out of the window! We've got the UK Open and the Matchplay coming up so I have to focus on them now."
Kevin Painter was kicking himself after letting a 4-1 and 7-4 lead over James Wade disappear, the world number three hitting back to salvage a 7-7 draw and leave Painter three points behind him in the table.
'The Artist' missed two darts for an 8-4 victory that would have put him right back in the play-off reckoning but let Wade off the hook, and now Painter is up against it in the race to finish in the top four.
Andy Hamiltonis also still fighting, but only just, as he remains second bottom after a tough 7-7 draw with Raymond van Barneveld, who remains outside of the play-off places.
'The Hammer', who made the World Championship final in January, is growing into Premier League life but it may come too late to keep his campaign going - he lies three points off fourth with just two games to go.
After being behind most of the match, Barney could have been throwing for the match had he not missed two double 12s for a 7-6 lead, and he admitted he was not at his best.
The top two in the table went head-to-head and Simon Whitlock looked in top form when he nailed a 161 outshot to take a 3-1 lead against table-topper Taylor, who lost for the first time this season last week.
However, 'The Power' hit back in style by taking the next seven legs on the spin to condemn the Aussie to an 8-3 defeat, although The Wizard remains second and almost assured of a play-off place.
"I was a little bit worried," said Taylor. "He's a good player is Simon. The practice room is brilliant right now, everyone's giving it the banter as there are plenty of people still in it, it's so wide open - it really is nip and tuck.
"It is the best Premier League we've had. I'd love to play Adrian Lewis in the final, he's been giving me loads of stick this week, but so he should as I've been giving him loads of stick as well.
"The defeat to him gave me a kick up the backside and I really want to win the Premier League again this year, trust me, I don't want to be an also-ran going out in the semis."