Postcard from Blackpool, with Betfred TV’s Mark Pearson

Day 5 proved a long but scintillating night of darts at the iconic Winter Gardens with a masterclass from Peter Wright and a much-improved performance from Michael Van Gerwen.

Warm work for the great MVG

The Green Machine averaged over one hundred, nearly five points more than the first round, and although he missed 6 match darts he finished on the bullseye, taking out a 121.

So he’s not battering his opponents yet, but Michael told me at his press conference that he is here to win it, and the two-time Matchplay champ is now 10/3 second favourite.

He now faces what should be an adrenalin-fuelled quarter-final against Nathan Aspinall (above). The Asp beat his mentor and friend Gary Anderson 11-9, and at the end was cool under pressure.

First up tonight we witnessed a rejuvenated Michael Smith (above). The 2019 beaten finalist was 10-8 down against Jose de Sousa but ended up winning the tiebreaker 13-11.

And finally Peter Wright (below), who keeps telling everyone he’s winning it this year, impressed – blowing Joe Cullen away, throwing a 105.46 average.

So it’s quarter-final time, and the quality is that good we are still 5/2 the field headed up by Gerwyn Price, Michael Van Gerwen 10/3, and Peter Wright 9/2.

Snakebite walked off stage saying he still thinks Dimitri Van Den Berg is playing the best darts. If you agree with Peter, then the Belgian is a tempting 6/1.

Bring on the quarter-finals!

Whenever you bet, Betfred

All pics courtesy Lawrence Lustig