Darts fans divided over Premier League line-up amid calls for new entrant

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Michael van Gerwen swept to yet another title with victory at the Austrian Darts Open at the weekend.

But it was Dutch compatriot Danny Noppert’s run to the final that really caught the eye in Graz. The 31-year-old defeated Dimitri van den Bergh (6-3), Premier League leader Jonny Clayton (6-2), Joe Cullen (6-1) and Nathan Aspinall (7-2) on his way to the final, where he lost to Van Gerwen 8-5.

After the final, he posted on Instagram: “Had a great weekend again. Unfortunately lost the final but Super performance again Graz, thanks for the encouragement.”

Noppert, a former BDO World Championship finalist, has enjoyed an excellent start to 2022 and won his first TV title in March, beating Michael Smith 11-10 in the final of the UK Open. That win could prove to be a watershed moment in Noppert’s career. “I think I can take big steps forward in my career now,” he said after his win over Smith at Butlin’s Minehead.

And in the wake of his impressive display in Austria, some darts fans believe he should be added to the Premier League roster in 2023, with some suggesting Gary Anderson, who has endured a miserable campaign and sits at the foot of the table, should make way.

@9Jeremy6 made his feelings clear on Twitter, writing: “If Danny Noppert isn't in the Premier League next year but Anderson is, darts is cancelled”, while Rob Downer admitted: “As much as it pains me to say it , there’s so many quality players to take his [Anderson’s] place.”

Which players would you like to see in next season's Premier League? Have your say in the comments section below

@lancsmatt believes it is essential Anderson has a strong second half of the year if he is to keep his place, adding: “Do think unless Anderson makes worlds final or a big other tournament win then his poor showing in PL this year will put a nail in the coffin, for this year at least…. And I’m a big fan! He’ll be replaced by Hendo [John Henderson] when big John wins the worlds this year…. I can dream!

Michael Kowalski pointed out: “You know we have 8 or 9 TV tournaments including Masters to play before next Premier League? Clayton can win PL again, Cullen can win Grand Slam, Searle can win Grand Prix and Heta can win European Championships + Top4 then no spot for Noppert, just wait,” while @discobob64 wrote: “It's all about box office numbers and who would draw in the crowds. That's why they were considering putting Fallon [Sherrock] in.”

The next European Tour event, the European Darts Open in Leverkusen in Germany, takes place this weekend.

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