Gerwyn Price produced arguably the greatest performance of his career to thrash Peter Wright 16-6 and retain his Grand Slam of Darts title on a remarkable night of action at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton on Sunday.
‘The Iceman’ defeated Gary Anderson in a final marred with controversy 12 months ago, although the Welshman certainly let his darts do the talking against Snakebite, posting a 107.86 average, crashing in 11 maximums and converting 51% of his attempts at double to cap off a majestic display.
Earlier in the afternoon, the 34-year-old defeated Michael van Gerwen for the first time in 20 attempts to remain on course to defend his title, before blowing away Snakebite with one of the greatest performances ever seen in a major televised final to scoop the £125,000 winner’s prize.
Price dominated the opening stages although didn’t perhaps establish the cushion his performance merited. He won the first two legs in 14 and 13 darts respectively but only led 3-2 at the first interval, despite averaging 110 to Wright’s 87.
The pair traded holds after the break before Price stole a march to establish a four-leg buffer. He closed out three consecutive legs in 12, 13 and 15 darts – featuring effortless 84 and 88 combinations to move 7-3 ahead with a sparkling 113 average.
Wright was being comprehensively outplayed but he displayed admirable resistance after the second interval to reduce the arrears. The 2017 finalist converted a clinical 75 kill for a comfortable hold, before a dramatic 12th leg ensued.
Price had the throw and kicked off with six perfect darts, only to lose the leg. The fifth seed had two darts at tops and saw the first deflect out of the board, before falling just short with the second. Wright needed no second invitation, firing in a sublime 11-darter to cut the gap to 7-5.
The reigning champion could have been forgiven for wondering how he hadn’t built up a more sizeable advantage given the relentless barrage he had inflicted upon Wright, but he rectified matters in typically emphatic fashion.
Price broke straight back with an 11-darter of his own, before restoring his four-leg lead with an assured 14-dart hold. However, the fifth seed moved five legs clear for the first time in the contest in leg 15, producing a brilliant 130 checkout on the bull to move within six legs of glory.
The Welshman was remarkably averaging 113.42 at this point although that dropped shortly after resumption, as he squandered five darts at double. Despite this, he still won the leg courtesy of double five, to increase his winning run to four legs.
Wright wired the bull to break throw in that leg, which proved to be the final attempt at double he had during that session. Price was scoring with relentless precision and reeled off the next four legs in 14, 17, 12 and 14 darts respectively to make it eight on the spin and move to the cusp.
The Welshman had barely put a foot wrong throughout the contest although he displayed rare signs of fallibility as he approached the final hurdle, spurning three match darts at double 12 and double six respectively.
Snakebite gratefully exploited this reprieve and sank tops to register another leg on the board, although this didn’t provide the spark for an inspired fightback, as Price nailed double 10 moments later to secure his second major crown and retain the coveted Eric Bristow Trophy.
“I’m chuffed to bits,” said Price. “I knew in the middle of the game that I was playing really well. I was hitting trebles for fun and putting Peter under pressure and he wasn’t playing his best. I was that I was at the top of my game and I felt comfortable all the way through that game.“
“I’m chuffed to bits to get this again and finally have the crowd cheer this time. This week they’ve been fantastic – I’m not used to this but they truly have got behind me this weekend and I appreciate it. I’ve had a good year, 18 months, but it doesn’t happen all the time. I’m just thankful to win this again.”
Price had secured his spot in a second straight Grand Slam final with a landmark win against Van Gerwen earlier in the day. The Welshman had never beaten the Dutchman in 19 previous meetings, although he produced a nerveless display to complete a stunning 16-12 success.
‘The Iceman’ roared into an early 4-1 lead and consistently held the world No 1 at bay, despite MvG averaging over 108 for large periods. Nevertheless, Price kept his cool, winning four of the final five legs to prevail with a 100.73 average – denying Van Gerwen a fourth Grand Slam crown.
Meanwhile, Wright sealed a place in his second Grand Slam final after defeating three-time BDO world champion Glen Durrant in a gruelling battle. The pair met in the 2017 quarter-finals with Wright running out a 16-10 winner and it was a similar story on Sunday afternoon.
Durrant – appearing in his third major semi-final of 2019, was unusually profligate in the finishing department, missing 30 of his 41 attempts at double. Wright wasn’t at his blistering best but led from the outset, eventually prevailing 16-11 with a 97.34 average and 40% on the doubles.
The seventh seed defeated Price to win his only other major title to date at the 2017 UK Open, although he was unable to replicate that feat in his 13th individual major final. Nevertheless, the 49-year-old was typically gracious in defeat.
“I had no answer,” admitted Wright.“Beating Michael and then the way he played there, I thought he was trying for the record [average in a final]. I was chasing him all the way through, and when he missed I was lucky if I was on 100-and-something! He played fantastic all the way through.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts
Sunday November 17
Peter Wright 16-11 Glen Durrant
Gerwyn Price 16-12 Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price 16-6 Peter Wright