Gerwyn Price landed two nine-dart finishes to prevail on an extraordinary night of Premier League action in Belfast, defeating James Wade in a captivating showpiece to scoop the £10,000 bonus.
‘The Iceman’ became just the second player in darting history to achieve perfection twice in one evening in a televised event, after Phil Taylor famously hit two nine-darters in the 2010 Premier League final, ironically against Wade.
Price performed magnificently in his most recent outing at Players Championship 4, posting six consecutive ton-plus averages before succumbing in the semi-finals, and he maintained that blistering form to ignite his Premier League campaign.
The 36-year-old hit the first of his nine-darters in a gripping semi-final tie against Michael van Gerwen, before repeating the feat in a pulsating clash against Wade.
Wade ruined Price’s Cardiff homecoming on Night One, but the Welshman avenged that defeat in an epic, averaging 105.32, crashing in five maximums and converting two ton-plus finishes.
The pair traded 14-dart breaks in the opening two legs, before the 2021 world champion followed up successive 180s with a roof-raising 141 checkout – the third televised nine-darter of his career.
The world No 1 retained his cushion with an 11-darter in leg five, but Wade was completely unfazed, securing the initiative with 101 and 120 finishes in consecutive legs – the latter coming after Price squandered five darts at double for a 4-3 lead.
However, the ten-time major winner wired one dart at double four for a 5-3 advantage and was suitably punished. Having delivered an instant riposte via double 10, Price then moved to the brink of victory with a crucial 105 outshot, culminating on double 16.
Wade appeared poised to force a decider by leaving tops after 12 darts, but three uncharacteristic misses afforded Price a shot at 82, and the Markham arrowsmith needed no further invitation, pinning tops to cap off a breathless evening of darting drama.
‘The Iceman’ had opened proceedings with a 6-3 success against World Championship runner-up Michael Smith, averaging 108.54, converting 86% of his attempts at double and sealing the deal with a spectacular 170 checkout.
This set up a semi-final showdown against his old adversary Van Gerwen, who emerged victorious in a scrappy affair against Joe Cullen, to halt The Rockstar’s 14-match winning run.
Van Gerwen was beaten with a 106 average by Jonny Clayton in his Night Two semi-final, and history repeated itself in Belfast, as Price came through a pulsating last-leg decider to triumph with a 108.9 average, five 180s and 43% on the outer ring.
The world No 1 achieved perfection in leg five, following up visits of 177 and 180 with a majestic 144 finish, to send the capacity crowd at the SSE Arena into a frenzy. ‘The Green Machine’ was undeterred and fought back to force a last-leg shootout, only for Price to close out a classic with an 11-dart hold.
Wade was left to rue profligacy in the latter stages against Price, although ‘The Machine’ acquitted himself superbly on Night Three, delivering classy displays to dispatch Jonny Clayton and Peter Wright – winners on Nights Two and One respectively.
The world No 4 punished an erratic performance from ‘The Ferret’ to complete a convincing 6-3 win in the last eight, before upping the ante against the world champion in another compelling contest.
Wright – who overcame his compatriot Gary Anderson earlier in the evening – averaged 105.2 in a high-quality semi-final, but a clinical 122 checkout from Wade in leg seven shifted the pendulum, and the left-hander sealed the deal with his seventh match dart to deny ‘Snakebite’ his second success of the season.
Image Credit: Michael Cooper/PDC
2022 Cazoo Premier League
Night 3 – The SSE Arena, Belfast
Thursday February 17
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Joe Cullen
Peter Wright 6-4 Gary Anderson
James Wade 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Michael van Gerwen (Price hits nine-darter in leg five)
James Wade 6-4 Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price 6-4 James Wade (Price hits nine-darter in leg three)