By Molly Govus | Head of Comment
On Sunday evening, the PDC welcomed their first Welsh Darts Championship winner of 2020. It has been a strange year for darts, but the lack of a cheering crowd didn’t stand in the way of Gerwyn Price’s untouchable performance and 7-3 win against three-time world winner, Gary Anderson aka. The Flying Scotsman.
Not only has Gerwyn Price bagged the winning spot of the championship, but he has also surpassed the renowned Michael van Gerwen in the world rankings after moving to number two only in the last few months. His remarkable journey saw him feature in the Pro12 and for Neath RFC less than 10 years ago to now being the best player in world darts.
Throughout the championship, Price showed stamina and determination in his play. His semi-final match against Stephen Bunting finished 6-4, and showed extreme confidence moving into the final match, but with two brilliant darts players playing head-to-head, it was almost impossible to say who would come out top dog due to their completely different performance styles.
According to a SportingLife poll, 58% voted that Anderson would come out with the win, presumably taking into account the former winner’s wealth of experience at this level. It seemed that the odds were in his favour.
This prediction stayed true to start with; Anderson won the first and second leg of the match and achieved the first match 180; But this only spurred Price forward to get the second match 180, and to eventually win the first set. Little did we know that Price was only getting started.
One of Price’s major advantages was his finishing – at one point, his checkout percentage rose to 80%, and he showed faultless technique, getting 13/13 of his double top hits. During this breath-taking run, it was often hard to gage how Anderson was feeling.
Price is known for his emphasis and bold presence on the stage, whilst Anderson takes the humble and quiet backseat. In Anderson’s case, a few shakes of the head speak volumes. At 5-1, it was clear that Price was beginning to slow his pace, and Anderson was coming back with a vengeance, achieving the 14th and 15th match-180. It was at this point that the power balance began to switch.
Anderson began to pick up the pace with finishing statistics at 44%, and Price’s body language began to shift away from the confident demeanour his fans were used to. Thankfully for Price, this didn’t last for long.
Whilst stunning Anderson, the 35-year old also broke the record for the highest set average in World Championship history during winning the sixth with a mark of 136.64. This all came from an 11-darter with 100 checkout, a 12-darter finished with a 161 checkout, and a 10-darter which was agonisingly close to the perfect leg for Price.
Over these next two legs, Price threw nine match darts as Anderson struggled to keep momentum going in the match. The agony of being so close and under pressure worked in Price’s favour, eventually pinning double fives.
Although his missed doubles brought his average down to 100.08.
Being the first Welshman to get into the WDC semi-finals, and to win the Championship, it truly was a momentous win. In his post-match interview, he said: ‘I have never felt pressure like that in my life’.
On the other side, playing in his fifth Ally Pally final, Anderson gave a respectful interview, saying: ‘I’ll give myself a pat on the back for getting this far’. It is also worth nothing that Anderson has moved up to eighth in the Order of Merit despite having a troubled darts season due to injuries. He continued, ‘You can’t struggle against players like Gerwyn’.
Price’s reaction of holding the trophy to the sky to honour his late mother says it all and his Instagram post that followed with it stated: ‘There was one shining light looking down on me all tournament. This one is for you Mam’.
It goes without saying that 2021 is going to be a brilliant year for Gerwyn Price, starting with the Darts Premier League in Easter.