Gerwyn Price secured the fifth PDC title of his career as he defeated Gabriel Clemens 8-4 with a 109.70 average to seal glory in Players Championship Five on Saturday afternoon, on a day which saw two more nine-darters hit at the Barnsley Metrodome.
‘The Iceman’ posted an incredible five ton-plus averages throughout the day, boasting a hugely impressive tournament average of 101.83. However, he saved his best until last; averaging 109.70 in Saturday’s showpiece to claim the £10,000 prize fund and clinch his first title since his memorable Grand Slam triumph last November.
The Welshman, who is also unbeaten in this year’s Premier League, reached the semi-finals of Players Championship Four last Sunday where he was beaten by an inspired Glen Durrant. However, the world number seven wasn’t to be denied on this occasion, as he bagged the third Players Championship title of his career.
Clemens drew first blood in the final with a commanding 14-dart hold, but Price responded magnificently to gain command. He fired in legs of 12 and 13 darts to secure the lead, before converting clinical 72 and 69 combinations in successive legs to round-off impressive 14-darters.
Clemens stopped the rot on tops after Price missed the same target for a 113 checkout, but the former Rugby League star regained his three-leg buffer with a sublime 11-darter on tops. The 33-year-old stretched his lead to 6-2 with a 15-darter via double ten, but Clemens battled back, following up a 65 kill with a 12-darter of his own to reduce the arrears to 6-4.
Nevertheless, with ‘The German Giant’ sensing the opportunity to launch a famous fightback, Price halted his charge emphatically. The former UK Open finalist sank double ten to complete a 12-darter and move to the cusp of victory, which he duly sealed in the following leg with a majestic 11-darter.
“This time 12 months ago I was playing rubbish, I was going out in the first round all the time but now my mind is clear,” said the Premier League star. “The last couple of weeks I’ve been playing really well but falling to players who have been playing amazing, so today I’m delighted to get the win.
“Winning breeds confidence and today I thought I played fantastic all day and was a deserved winner. I’m striving to make the top four in the Premier League and to also keep doing well on the ProTour. It’s tough to do both but it seems to be working for me this year.”
Price’s latest triumph moves him up to fourth on the Pro Tour Order of Merit, as he continues his fabulous start to 2019. ‘The Iceman’ kicked off his campaign with a 6-4 victory over Marko Kantele, where he averaged 101.80. He then recorded successive 6-2 wins over Madars Razma and Ryan Joyce to set up a last 16 showdown against his fellow countryman Jonny Clayton.
Clayton stormed into a 3-1 advantage with an incredible 124 average and also led 5-3, but Price won the remaining three legs in 14, 13 and 14 darts to prevail with a 105.50 average. The Welshman then booked his semi-final spot with an impressive 6-2 win over top seed Ian White, averaging 106 to White’s 105.30.
In the last four, Price took on Dave Chisnall, who defeated Premier League duo Rob Cross and James Wade to continue his strong start to the season. Chisnall also defied a 110 average from Scott Baker in round-three, but he surrendered a 4-2 lead against Price, who reeled off the final five legs in 15, 15, 15, 12 and 12 darts to triumph with a 100.50 average.
Clemens was unable to clinch a maiden PDC title after being denied by the irrepressible ‘Iceman’ in Saturday’s showpiece, but the 35-year-old produced a series of fine performances to reach his second PDC final and pocket £6,000 in the process.
‘The German Giant’ averaged 99.80 as he defeated Nathan Derry 6-4 in his opener, before beating Alan Norris by the same scoreline in an extremely scrappy contest. Clemens then claimed hard-fought wins over Ted Evetts and Ross Smith to set up a last eight clash against John Henderson, in a repeat of their second-round clash at the 2019 World Championship.
Henderson edged out Clemens at the Ally Pally, but Clemens gained revenge to close out a 6-4 victory. The German then faced Danny Noppert in the semi-finals, with ‘Noppie’ vying for his second Pro Tour title. The Dutchman landed a brilliant nine-darter to establish a 3-1 cushion, but Clemens recovered to prevail 7-5 with a 99.40 average and book his spot in the final.
Noppert’s magical nine-darter wasn’t the only perfect leg produced at the Barnsley Metrodome. Scott Baker, who reached the semi-finals at Players Championship 1, fired in a stunning nine-darter in his third-round tie against Dave Chisnall, but he was beaten 6-3 despite posting a 110 average.
Elsewhere, a host of big names were condemned to early exits on Saturday afternoon, with the Premier League quartet of Peter Wright, Michael Smith, Daryl Gurney and Raymond van Barneveld all suffering second-round defeats.
Wright was edged out in a last-leg decider by Ted Evetts, while Smith and Gurney suffered surprise defeats to Devon Petersen and Kirk Shepherd respectively. Van Barneveld was beaten by former Lakeside champion Steve Beaton, while Jamie Hughes posted a stunning 106 average to thrash two-time world champion Adrian Lewis 6-1 at the same stage.
Mensur Suljovic and Rob Cross bowed out in the last 16 against Noppert and Chisnall respectively, whilst Glen Durrant was beaten 6-5 by Ian White at the same stage. Durrant was bidding to claim back-to-back Players Championship titles but squandered two match darts in the penultimate leg, in a match which saw both players deliver ton-topping averages.
World number one Michael van Gerwen is absent from this weekend’s double-header, whilst two-time world champion Gary Anderson also remains sidelined with his ongoing back problem. Simon Whitlock didn’t feature in today’s event, but he will return for Players Championship 6 tomorrow, searching for his first win of 2019.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Players Championship 5
Saturday February 23, The Barnsley Metrodome
Ian White 6-5 Glen Durrant
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Jonny Clayton
James Wade 6-3 Ricky Evans
Rob Cross 5-6 Dave Chisnall
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Ross Smith
John Henderson 6-5 Max Hopp
Ryan Searle 6-4 Joe Cullen
Mensur Suljovic 3-6 Danny Noppert
Ian White 2-6 Gerwyn Price
James Wade 3-6 Dave Chisnall
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 John Henderson
Ryan Searle 4-6 Danny Noppert
Gerwyn Price 7-4 Dave Chisnall
Gabriel Clemens 7-5 Danny Noppert
Gerwyn Price 8-4 Gabriel Clemens