By Siân PriceBBC Sport Wales
Welshman Gerwyn Price has won his first PDC World Championship with a superb 7-3 win over two-time champion Gary Anderson at Alexandra Palace.
Price missed 11 match darts before he secured the title at the 12th time of asking with a double five.
The former professional rugby player only started competing on the PDC tour in 2014 after winning a place in qualifying school.
“I’ve never ever felt pressure like that in my life,” the 35-year-old said.
“I think it’s going to take a couple of days to sink in. I’m walking on cloud now – it means the world.”
His beaten opponent said: “Tonight I just could not get the darts up to that treble twenty. My doubles were atrocious and that’s what happens when you do that – you get thumped.”
Price’s win also secures his place as world number one, ending Dutchman Michael van Gerwen’s seven-year reign.
The ‘Iceman’ becomes the first player from qualifying school to become world champion and world number one, as well as the first Welshman to win the PDC World title.
It was the first time the pair had met in a major final since arguably the most controversial final in darting history at the 2018 Grand Slam, when Price won his maiden televised title.
Anderson, 50, started off confidently but missed three darts to clinch the first set and Price capitalised on the Scotsman’s mistake, winning three legs on the trot to take it.
In the second set, Anderson in his fifth World Championship final, was back to his best, throwing a 180 followed by a brilliant 128 checkout in the second leg. He broke Price’s throw with a 78 checkout and took three legs on the spin to level at one set each.
A focused Price came out firing in set three and broke Anderson with a 12-darter. Even a stunning 170 finish from the ‘Flying Scotsman’ to hold throw could not knock Price off his stride as he took a 2-1 lead.
Price, who won eight PDC titles in 2020, hit eight out of eight for his favourite double top, and an incredible 77% doubles percentage helped him take set four and settle into a lead he never looked like surrendering.
He opened the fifth set with a break of throw, and hit double 20 for the 10th time in 10 attempts as he extended his lead to 4-1. Nor could his opponent find any reply in the sixth set as Price opened with an 11-darter, taking out double 20 yet again, followed by the bullseye to checkout on 161 and break Anderson.
Price narrowly missed double 12 for a nine-darter in the third leg, but nailed it on his 10th dart to take the sixth set with an astonishing 136.6 average, the highest in championship history.
An experienced Anderson kept his hopes alive in the seventh to reduce the arrears to 5-2 but Price threw his 14th double 20 finish in the decider of the eighth to restore his four-set lead.
A tense Price missed 10 match darts in the third leg of the ninth and Anderson took advantage of the mistakes to clinch the set and in the 10th the Welshman, now clearly rattled, was broken by Anderson before holding his nerve to force a decider.
Anderson, seeking his third crown in the seven years, missed a fantastic chance to make a 134 checkout to keep the match alive and Price wasted two more match darts only for Anderson to squander three more set darts himself.
Price took a long pause to collect himself and finally hit double five to become world champion and pick up the winners cheque of £500,000.
The smiling Welshman said afterwards: “When you get that chance to win and you get three darts in your hand to take it out and you think you are going to take it – I’ve never been in that situation to win the World Championship and that was tough.”
A gracious Anderson said: “You get beat in the final – yes it’s disappointing but to get to the final in the first place was a pat on the back for myself.
“What I’ve done the last few weeks has been a bonus for me so it’s good to get back on it.”
2021 Premier League of Darts
The list of players is:
- Michael van Gerwen
- Peter Wright
- Gerwyn Price
- Rob Cross
- Gary Anderson
- Glen Durrant
- Nathan Aspinall
- Dimitri van den Bergh
- Jose de Sousa
The last name will be confirmed after the Masters at the end of January. The league had been due to start in February, but will now not begin until Easter at the earliest.(BBC News).