Gerwyn Price has bullishly claimed that Phil Taylor will be ‘worried’ about facing him, as ‘The Power’ prepares to begin his final World Matchplay campaign against the Welshman on Sunday evening at the Winter Gardens.
Taylor has won this tournament an astonishing 15 times since it’s inaugural staging back in 1994, but this will be his final trip to the Winter Gardens before he retires from competitive action in January 2018. The 56-year-old would love to sign off with another title, but Price is relishing the party-pooper role.
This will be Price’s first televised clash against the 16-time world champion, and he claimed: “This is the first time that I will have played him on the main stage and it’s great that I am getting the chance before he retires. It will be tough but I will give it my best shot….. and the way we’ve been playing maybe he will be more worried about me!”
However, the 32-year-old Welshman was full of praise for Taylor’s contribution to the game, acknowledging that it will be an honour to share the stage with the Stoke-on-Trent star. He gushed: “Win or lose it will be a great experience and a proud moment for me because he is the reason that darts is where it is now.”
Price has enjoyed the best year of his darting career thus far; reaching his first major final at the UK Open back in March, before leading Wales to the World Cup Final alongside Mark Webster, where they were eventually beaten by the Dutch duo of Michael van Gerwen & Raymond van Barneveld.
‘The Iceman’ has also featured in three World Series events in 2017; reaching the semi-finals in both Dubai and Las Vegas. This has seen him climb to third on the World Series Order of Merit, only trailing the world’s top two- Van Gerwen and Anderson.
Price, who only turned professional back in 2014, admitted: “It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind over the past few years and I’ve done pretty well. I’m 17 in the world now and I want to keep rising. My aim is to get into the  Premier League and I think I stand a good chance, which would have been a dream for me three and a half years ago.”
The former Rugby League star has ruffled a few feathers in recent years, most notably when he became embroiled in a verbal tussle with Adrian Lewis at last year’s World Matchplay- having dumped out ‘Jackpot’ in Blackpool back in 2015. However, Taylor believes Price is a breath of fresh air to the PDC.
Taylor claimed: “He’s great. A lot of players don’t like him, but I quite like him. He’s a good little player with a bit of go about him. I just think he’s different because he’s come across from another sport and he sticks up for himself.”
‘The Power’ is well aware of the threat posed by the 32-year-old, but he is relishing the prospect of his final Winter Gardens appearance. He told the PDC’s official website: “I’ve got good memories from there and it’s my favourite tournament. I do love the Matchplay so I’m looking forward to finishing there.
“It’s the place itself. The crowds have always been good at Blackpool but I love that venue. It’s something I fell in love with. I’m going to enjoy it.There’s no pressure on me now. I’ve got nothing to prove and if I don’t win then it’s not the end of the world for me now,” ‘Taylor added.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC