RAY Malarkey moved off the bottom of Seaham’s Coors and Collinsons Jewellers Knack Premier League table thanks to an excellent 6-3 victory over Anthony Gale.
Gale’s defeat all but ended his hopes of taking the last Grand Finals Night spot.
Malarkey (pictured) has struggled for form since returning to the league two years ago after an horrific arm injury, but his form is gradually starting to improve as best legs of 19 and two 21-darters showed against Gale.
John Nicholson also dropped points in the race for eighth place as John Squire was a 6-3 winner in another improved display by Squire, who hit a maximum in an 18-dart best leg.
Murton’s Neil Mather still looks to be in pole position for eighth despite dropping two points against Spiller Henderson, with Mather having to rally from 5-2 behind to claim a point in a 5-5 draw, with 18 darters by both players the best.
Paul Williams made it 28 wins from 28 as he overcame third-placed Neil Rose 6-3 as he avenged his defeat to Rose in Saturday’s Knack Open.
Rose started brightly with an 18-darter, but Williams proved too strong as he won his six legs in 20, 23, 18, 19, 20 and 21 darts. Kevin Guy hit best legs of 16 and 17 darts in a comfortable 6-1 win over John Allan, who slipped to the foot of the table.
Davey Thompson had two good wins as he moved clear in second place. First up was John Redpath, with Thompson running out a 6-0 winner thanks to best legs in 18, 19 (twice) and 20 darts (twice).
Barry Rutherford was next up, with Thompson zsecuring a 6-1 victory with 18, 19 and 21 darters the best legs as he secured six points on the night.
Redpath’s other game saw him beat Dave Brown 6-2, with a 17-darter and three legs in 19 his best efforts. Brown had a 180 in his 18-dart success.
Anth Skelton sealed his finals night slot with a hard-fought 6-3 win over Neil Richardson, with a superb 13-darter backed by a 19-dart leg.
Steve Skinner now only needs one more point to guarantee his finals night place after a 10-leg battle with Alan Smith saw Skinner prevail with a 6-4 win.
Results: Alan Smith 4 Steve Skinner 6, Neil Mather 5 Spiller Henderson 5, Neil Rose 3 Paul Williams 6, Ray Malarkey 6 Anthony Gale 3, John Nicholson 3 John Squire 6, John Redpath 6 Dave Brown 2, Kevin Guy 6 John Allan 1, Davey Thompson 6 Barry Rutherford 1, Neil Richardson 3 Anth Skelton 6, Davey Thompson 6 John Redpath 0