BARRY Rutherford produced two battling performances as he gained two welcome points in the penultimate week of the John Smith’s Knack Premier League in Seaham.
Rutherford – who remains bottom of the table – roared back to take the last three legs to draw 4-4 with John Squire, then produced another stalemate against Anthony Gale.
Gale earlier had no answer to a fine Kevin Guy performance as best legs of 18 and 19 darts (twice) sealed a 5-0 win to help Guy stay level on points with third-placed Graham Mullen.
Mullen hit his 25th maximum in a 5-2 win against Steve Skinner, with best legs of 14 and 18 (three times).
Jimmy Ashett took advantage of Paul Williams’ match being postponed as he moved a point clear at the top after two wins.
Despite being slightly out of sorts, he beat Neil “Rhino” Richardson 5-2, but his performance in his second game was top drawer as he beat Neil Rose 5-2 with a three-dart average of just under 90, plus a 14-darter and two legs in 15.
Rose earlier, for the third time this season, fought back from 3-0 down to win, defeating John Redpath 5-3 with best legs of 16, 18 and 19 darts.
That leaves Redpath going into the last game, for the second consecutive season, still to secure his eighth spot to qualify for final’s night.
Eddie Ashman guaranteed fifth place with an emphatic 5-1 win against Davey Thompson, with two 16-darters the highlight, while Martin Price beat Alan Smith 5-2 to move out of the bottom two for he first time this season, helped by legs in 19 and 21 darts.
Mark Robinson’s impressive debut season continued as he secured 12th place with a comfortable 5-1 defeat of Ray Malarkey, helped by two 18-darters.
Spiller Henderson and Phil Dunn could not be separated in an entertaining 4-4 draw, while Dunn later overcame Alan Smith 5-2, with best legs of 19 and 20 darts.
Results: Jimmy Ashett 5 Neil Richardson 2, Anthony Gale 0 Kevin Guy 5, John Redpath 3 Neil Rose 5, Graham Mullen 5 Steve Skinner 2, Davey Thompson 1 Eddie Ashman 5, Phil Dunn 4 Spiller Henderson 4, Barry Rutherford 4 John Squire 4, Alan Smith 2 Martin Price 5, Ray Malarkey 1 Mark Robinson 5, Jimmy Ashett 5 Neil Rose 2, Anthony Gale 4 Barry Rutherford 4, Phil Dunn 5 Alan Smith 2