Priced In Again

Red Dragon Darts

Gerwyn Price made it back-to-back ProTour titles in Hildesheim with a crushing 8-1 victory over Gian van Veen in Sunday’s Players Championship 18 decider.

The Welshman defeated Josh Rock to triumph in Saturday’s showpiece, and he defeated another of the game’s brightest young stars in Van Veen to cap off a perfect weekend at Halle 39. Price came through the 128-player field to claim his fifth title of 2023, saving his best performances for the latter stages to scoop the £12,000 top prize.

Van Veen missed darts at double for 130 and 120 combinations in the opening exchanges, and he was punished by a ruthless Price, who converted two-dart 84 and 88 checkouts to establish an early buffer.

The Dutchman then capitalised on errors from Price to open his account in leg four, although Price responded by winning the next five legs without reply to complete a comprehensive victory.

“Gian is a great player. He missed a couple of chances, and I didn’t let him off in that game,” admitted Price, the first player in 2023 to win back-to-back ProTour titles.

“My game wasn’t the best apart from a couple of games at the end. I was scoring well all day, missing loads of doubles but getting away with it.

“I would rather play really well, even if I lose sometimes. Scraping games doesn’t give you that much confidence, but winning is what matters.

“If I’m winning tournaments when I’m playing my C-game, when my A-game comes out, hopefully that’s good enough as well, because some people turn me over when I’m playing my best!

“When there are ranking points at stake, it means a little bit more, and luck was on my side this weekend.”

Price displayed his battling qualities in early wins over Jimmy Hendriks and Pascal Rupprecht, before recovering from 5-4 down to deny Ireland’s Keane Barry with a 99 average.

The 2021 World Champion then breezed through to the Event 18 decider in emphatic style, conceding just three legs in his next three matches.

After easing past James Wade in a scrappy last 16 tie, Price whitewashed a struggling Rob Cross in the quarter-finals, and continued his charge with a 7-2 demolition of Stephen Bunting in the last four.

Price won ten consecutive legs during this three-game spell; averaging almost 102 to dispatch Bunting and set up a showdown against World Youth finalist Van Veen.

The emerging Dutchman continued his rise to book a place in his second PDC ranking final, producing some scintillating performances in the closing stages of the afternoon.

The 21-year-old defied a ton-plus average from Saturday’s semi-finalist Ritchie Edhouse in a thrilling first round tie, which he followed with wins over Rowby-John Rodriguez and Gabriel Clemens.

Van Veen continued his charge to see off Ian White in the last 16, before averaging 106 and 105 to dump out Jeffrey de Zwaan and Joe Cullen in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

Sixth seed Cullen dumped out Australian icon Simon Whitlock and UK Open champion Andrew Gilding in his run to the semi-finals, which also featured a whitewash win against Darryl Pilgrim.

Meanwhile, Bunting won through deciding-leg ties against Robert Grundy and Daryl Gurney in reaching the last four, which he backed up with wins against Ryan Meikle and Richard Veenstra.

Veenstra was joined in the last eight by his compatriot De Zwaan, with Challenge Tour star Pilgrim and fifth seed Cross making up the quarter-final line-up in Hildesheim.

The 2023 PDC ProTour season continues next month, with Players Championships 19-21 set to take place at the Barnsley Metrodome from September 3-5.

Click here for match stats through DartConnect.

2023 Players Championship 18
Sunday August 27
Halle 39, Hildesheim

Last 16
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Ryan Meikle
Richard Veenstra 6-5 Tony Martinez
Gerwyn Price 6-1 James Wade
Rob Cross 6-1 Ricky Evans
Gian van Veen 6-2 Ian White
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-1 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Darryl Pilgrim 6-5 Cam Crabtree
Joe Cullen 6-4 Andrew Gilding

Stephen Bunting 6-3 Richard Veenstra
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Rob Cross
Gian van Veen 6-2 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Joe Cullen 6-0 Darryl Pilgrim

Gerwyn Price 7-2 Stephen Bunting
Gian van Veen 7-1 Joe Cullen

Gerwyn Price 8-1 Gian van Veen


Images: PDC


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