Thursday, August 6, 2020

Price defends Grand Slam crown defiantly

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Tom Beresfordhttps://www.tomsportsjourno.com
Sports journalist. Non-League football reporter. YouTuber, presenter, podcast host. Previously heard on FiveLive and Love Sport Radio. Managed by Epic Sports Management
Gerwyn Price (pictured above) successfully defended his Grand Slam of Darts title. [Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC]

Gerwyn Price successfully defended his Grand Slam of Darts crown as the Welshman produced two stunning performances on the final day to become only the seventh player in history to successfully defend a PDC major televised title – joining the likes of Phil Taylor, Michael Van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis, Raymond van Barneveld and Rod Harrington.

For the Welshman, it’s been a tough 12 months since last years ill-tempered final with Gary Anderson, but the way that Price has handled the adversity has been amicable to say the very least.

On the final day of action at the Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton, Price was faced with the prospect of facing world no.1 Michael Van Gerwen in a mouth-watering Semi-Final clash in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Prior to facing Van Gerwen, Price made light work of an off-song Gary Anderson in a commanding 16-9 victory over the two-time world champion. In a repeat of the 2018 final, the match was perhaps a tad ‘overhyped’ but the Welshman showed his high-quality to shine through and emerge to the final day of action.

Price wasn’t phased at the prospect of facing the World no.1 and the lack of fear showed in his performance. The Welshman secured a 16-12 victory over the green machine in a display that left van Gerwen stunned into silence.

It was a staggering display from the Iceman as the pair continued to trade blows and it had everything – emotional celebrations, high-quality levels of play and entertainment aplenty.

Price opened a bit of daylight between the pair as he produced an impressive 130 checkout, but as you’d expect – Van Gerwen came battling back as he went on to level the match up at 9-9 with two high-quality legs.

Despite the pressure being piled on, Price responded defiantly to the barrage of high scores that the green machine was piling in. The Welshman regained his two-leg lead as he produced a 104 checkout to move 11-9 in front.

Van Gerwen did manage to stop the rot slightly, but Price wasn’t to be stopped as he clinically broke the Dutchman’s throw to move into a 14-11 lead, with the finishing line very much in-sight.

Price moved one leg from victory, but having squandered several match-darts, questions were asked of the Welsh no.1, but responded defiantly as he pinned D10 to secure his place in the final, which was followed by a trademark Gerwyn Price roar.

The Final

Prior to Price’s win over the World no.1, Snakebite Peter Wright saw off Glen Durrant, who despite being the PDC world no.29 was representing the BDO in this year’s grand Slam of darts as the BDO World Champion.

In a topsy-turvy battle, Wright managed to race to a 16-11 victory over the three-time world champion. Following both Semi-Finals, questions were asked as to whether or not fatigue may play a part in terms of the standard of darts in the final on Sunday evening.

Those questions were answered emphatically as the final got underway – The Welshman came flying out of the blocks as he raced into a 7-3 lead heading into the second interval – posting an average of 113 in the process. Wright battled hard to keep the score-line amicable, but the Welshman was just firing on all cylinders and several records were seemingly under threat.

Price showed no signs of regressing as the Welshman won eight of the next ten legs as he raced into a 15-5 lead. With Price missing two match darts, Price stopped the rot momentarily, but the Welshman completed a 16-6 win as he pinned D5 to successfully defend his Grand Slam of Darts crown.

Reaction

Following the defence of his Grand Slam title, Price told Sky Sports: “I knew in the middle of the game that I was playing really well. I was hitting trebles for fun and putting Peter [Wright] under pressure.

“He wasn’t playing his best, but I knew that I was playing at the top of my game. I felt comfortable all the way through that game and I’m chuffed to bits to get the trophy again and finally have the crowd cheer this time.”

Price added: “This week, the road have been fantastic. I’m not used to it, but they’ve truly got behind me this weekend and they’ve pushed me to win this.

On becoming the world no.2 (after the WC) Price added: “I think I’m no.1 (laughs), I’ve had a good 18 months, but it doesn’t happen all the time and I’m chuffed to bits to win this.

After reaching yet another major televised final, Peter Wright was reasonably satisfied with his form over the course the week.

“I was just chasing him [Gerwyn] all the way through,” admitted Wright. “When he missed, I was on a hundred and something if I was lucky. He played fantastic all the way through, obviously beating Michael [Van Gerwen] and the way he played there.

“I had no answer, but I’ve switched to these darts and I said to myself – I think I can get to the final with them, and I got to the final.”

Sky Sports darts expert Wayne Mardle had his say on Gerwyn Price’s performance levels over the course of the event.

“During the back-end of the final, that man [Price] has got composure, he’s got guts, he’s got determination and he’s no longer called the rugby player that plays darts.

“He’s the world no.2 and he takes home the Eric Bristow trophy again. Any sport needs watchable players, it needs to be entertaining – and he is entertaining. He’s world-class and he’s to the mentality of a world champion.”

Mardle added: “He’s proven to himself that – I’m here to stay and where he was joking last year when he said about pinching money out of darts players’ pockets, that’s kind of been put to bed and look at the respect that he gets from the crowds.”

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