Daryl Gurney and Gerwyn Price were involved in a furious bust-up on a dramatic night of Premier League action at The FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield on Thursday.
It was a huge match in the context of the Play-Off battle as both players sought a crucial two points in their bid to reach the top four, but the pair had to be separated by security on the oche after a heated tussle ended in a 7-7 stalemate.
Price had won eight of his previous 11 meetings against Gurney and ‘The Iceman’ appeared poised to do the Premier League double over the Northern Irishman after moving 6-3 ahead, but ‘Super Chin’ reeled off three straight legs to restore parity at six apiece.
Price then produced a majestic double-double 96 finish (D18, D20) to guarantee himself a share of the spoils, but the drama wasn’t done there. The Welshman missed D13 for a match-winning 146 outshot and Gurney capitalised by converting a clinical 64 kill to pinch a point.
Gurney celebrated in animated fashion although this wasn’t seen by Price, who was looking away from the board as his opponent threw at double. However, the pair exchanged heated words before George Noble intervened and security entered the fray to ensure the incident didn’t escalate.
Price was handed a suspended three-month ban in January following his conduct at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts, although it was confirmed that the suspension would be enforced if he was found to be in breach of any DRA rules before July 11.
Speaking to tournament-sponsor Unibet following Thursday’s clash, Price suggested that his colleagues may be trying to get him banned. “They know that I’m on, sort of, curfew and I’ve got a month or two left,” said the Welshman.
“I don’t know if they’re trying to get me banned or whatever, but it ain’t going to work. I shook his hand and I didn’t think there was anything in it. To be honest with you I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t win, but if I lost that game I was out so I’m still in and I’ve got a fighting chance next week so that’s all I’m happy about.”
Speaking on Sky Sports’ coverage, Wayne Mardle added: “Daryl was the initial aggressor. Price is in a position where he cannot react because he has a possible suspended ban hanging over him, from the Grand Slam.
“He cannot react. I don’t know what Price did wrong. We don’t know what was said. All we know is that, at the end, Gurney was the aggressor. Price had his back to Gurney.”
Price was also involved in controversy seven days ago, after refusing to shake James Wade’s hand following his 8-4 defeat against ‘The Machine’. This point keeps Price in with a chance of making the Play-Offs as he prepares to play Peter Wright in Leeds next week, although his destiny is no longer in his own hands.
Elsewhere in Sheffield, Rob Cross retained top spot after recording an 8-4 win over Mensur Suljovic, averaging 102.66 and firing in seven maximums in the process. Suljovic remains in fourth position, but he only leads Gurney via legs won against the throw.
Michael van Gerwen’s hopes of topping the league phase for the seventh consecutive season are still alive, as he posted the highest average of this year’s competition to dispatch Peter Wright 8-1. Van Gerwen averaged a staggering 110.85 and converted 73% of his attempts at double to inflict a fifth straight defeat on ‘Snakebite’.
James Wade remains in third position after sharing the spoils with Michael Smith in the night’s opener. ‘Bully Boy’ struggled in the finishing department, but he fought back from 7-5 down to salvage a point against ‘The Machine’, who is one point away from booking his spot at The O2.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
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