Gerwyn Price clinched the third televised title of his PDC career after recovering from 8-4 adrift to defeat Rob Cross and claim the bwin World Series of Darts Finals title on a thrilling day of darts in Salzburg.
Price came into the tournament on the back of successive titles at the PDC Autumn Series and he maintained that fine form in Austria to seal his first major title since last year’s Grand Slam, scooping the £70,000 top prize in the process.
Having emerged through epic battles against Nathan Aspinall and Peter Wright, Price was an emphatic favourite to overcome Cross – who struggled throughout his semi-final clash against James Wade. ‘Voltage’ mustered a much-improved display against the Welshman, but it wasn’t quite enough.
Cross made a blistering start to Sunday’s showpiece, following up a maximum with a 144 finish to draw first blood, but Price’ response was comprehensive. He won three of the next four legs in 11, 12 and 13 darts – featuring a brilliant 128 combination – to lead 3-2 with a 108 average.
However, 29-year-old Cross, who suffered Premier League elimination last month, remarkably won six of the next seven legs to turn the contest on its head, converting clinical 77 and 110 checkouts at crucial junctures to establish a commanding 8-4 cushion.
‘Voltage’ appeared to be closing in on a fourth major PDC crown, but Price avenged his defeat to Cross in last year’s European Championship final by enjoying a stunning sequence of his own, claiming seven of the final eight legs to secure glory.
The Welshman produced vital 74 and 79 finishes to reduce the arrears to 8-6, before a 16-dart hold via tops saw him cut the deficit to the solitary leg at the interval. Nevertheless, Cross used the break to his advantage, converting a 100 outshot on tops to restore his two-leg buffer at 9-7.
The pendulum swung once again, however. Having closed out a vital hold with a last-dart double ten, Price hammered in a fourth maximum and conjured up an effortless two-dart 74 kill to level up proceedings at nine apiece and with three legs to play, the world No 3 was back in command.
Price was distracted by a whistle from the socially distanced crowd in leg 19, but Cross missed the bull to break and the 35-year-old sank double five on his return to move to the cusp of victory, which he duly sealed with a 13-darter on tops, after ‘Voltage’ was unable to take out 110 to force a decider.
It’s been a terrific week for Price, who kicked off Sunday’s action with a dramatic victory over Nathan Aspinall, surviving one match dart to triumph in a pulsating decider. ‘The Asp’ led 7-4 at one stage, only for Price to reel off successive legs in 12, 14, 14 and 15 darts to move 8-7 ahead.
Aspinall capitalised on five missed darts from the Welshman to level at eight apiece, before the pair traded 11-darters to force a last-leg shootout. Aspinall landed his ninth maximum against the throw, but having missed one dart at D18 to triumph, Price prevailed with a 100.94 average.
‘The Iceman’ met world champion Peter Wright in the last four, after ‘Snakebite’ swept aside Daryl Gurney with a ton-plus average in the last eight. Nevertheless, despite averaging over 108 and crashing in nine maximums, the Scot succumbed 11-6 to Price in an extraordinary contest.
Wright’s winning legs came in 12, 12, 11, 12, 13 and 13 darts as he boasted an impressive 50% checkout success rate, but Price’ timing was majestic, as the back-to-back Grand Slam champion converted three ton-plus finishes en route to winning his first televised crown outside of Wolverhampton.
Cross’ weekend ended in frustration, but there were many positives to take for the world No 5, who was competing in his first televised event since suffering Premier League elimination in Milton Keynes in August.
Having whitewashed Steve Beaton in his opener on Saturday evening, Cross overcame his World Cup of Darts partner Michael Smith in an entertaining quarter-final clash, delivering the goods in the latter stages to triumph with an average of almost 99.
The pendulum swung at regular intervals, with Smith firing in legs of 13 and 11 darts to restore parity at eight apiece, but ‘Voltage’ upped the ante when it mattered, following up a sumptuous 11-darter with a 101 kill for a 12-dart clincher, to record his 16th win over ‘Bully Boy’ in 20 meetings.
The 2018 world champion faced nine-time major winner James Wade in the semi-finals, after ‘The Machine’ kept his cool to edge out Michael van Gerwen’s conqueror Glen Durrant earlier in the afternoon, but both players misfired in a scrappy semi-final affair.
Cross capitalised on a host of spurned opportunities from Wade early in the piece to lead 6-3 and despite a second 170 checkout in as many matches from the left-hander, the fifth seed closed out an 11-7 success with a modest 85 average, compared to Wade’s 87.
Image Credit: PDC
2020 bwin World Series of Darts Finals
Sunday September 20
Peter Wright 10-5 Daryl Gurney
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Nathan Aspinall
James Wade 10-9 Glen Durrant
Rob Cross 10-8 Michael Smith
Evening Session (2015 local time, 1915 BST)
Gerwyn Price 11-6 Peter Wright
Rob Cross 11-7 James Wade
Gerwyn Price 11-9 Rob Cross