Gerwyn Price silenced the Blackpool boo boys with an emphatic victory over his World Cup partner Jonny Clayton at the World Matchplay on Tuesday night, but the world No 1 believes he deserves more respect from the darting public.
‘The Iceman’ reeled off eight consecutive legs to complete a comprehensive 11-3 success against Premier League champion Clayton, averaging 101 and converting 63 per cent of his attempts at double to reach the last eight at the Winter Gardens for the first time since his debut in 2015.
Tuesday’s triumph also marked Price’ eighth consecutive victory against ‘The Ferret’, but he was left frustrated by the hostile reception he received from the 2,000 capacity crowd before, during and after his victory.
“That is what spurs me on. You can boo me all you want, but I just play better and better week in, week out,” Price told Sky Sports.
“I know sometimes it is pantomime boos, but still, it makes me play a little bit better. A little bit of respect now and again would be good.
“Jonny is a fantastic player, a great friend. It is really difficult to come up here and play against someone like Jonny, knowing how well he has been playing over the last couple of months.
“It is even tougher with the crowd on your back, but that is what has made me the player I am over the last two years, so I applaud them really,” he continued.
“I think they do respect what I have done, but it’s a bit more pantomime – they are doing it for a little bit of fun. Sometimes it is not funny,” he told reporters post-match.
The world champion received a mixed reception in his opener against Jermaine Wattimena on Sunday, although the boos were more vociferous against his fellow countryman, who was bidding to continue his assault for a third major title of 2021.
Nevertheless, Price was the epitome of composure throughout, and his victory sets up a mouth-watering last eight showdown against defending champion Dimitri Van den Bergh, who produced a record-breaking display to defeat Dave Chisnall.
The Belgian displayed fragility on the outer ring, yet his scoring was majestic – he crashed in 14 maximums in just 19 legs and posted a 103.68 average – the highest of this year’s event thus far.
Three-time world champion John Part declared post-match that Price was ‘the man to beat’ at the Empress Ballroom, and the Welshman had a clear message for his title rivals, insisting he has ‘a lot more in the tank’.
“Peter [Wright] is playing rubbish. He is going to win the Worlds; he’s going to win this. He has won nothing really, he’s won a couple of Pro Tours,” he continued.
“I’m not worried about Peter, I’m not worried about Michael [van Gerwen]. I am worried about myself. Talk is cheap; you have just got to do it on the board.”
Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC