The sound of one dragon roaring
By Paul Woodage 21/07/2021
World Champion Gerwyn Price sent an emphatic message out to the rest of the field that was as loud as his roar.
In what was billed as a ‘clash of the red dragons’, the Iceman produced an absolutely sublime performance to send his compatriot and reigning Premier League champion, Jonny Clayton out of the Betfred World Matchplay.
This isn’t a venue which has been much of a friend to Price, his best run coming on debut in 2015 when he reached the quarter-final stage. In the last four appearances at the Winter Gardens, he has astonishingly fell at the first hurdle.
But even with the crowd on his back, the World number one blasted to a comprehensive 11-3 win and book his place in the last eight.
Looking to become only the fourth player in Matchplay history to defend his title, Dimitri Van den Bergh defeated Dave Chisnall 11-8 to go one step closer.
The Belgian was in blistering scoring form but his doubles let him down - otherwise this game wouldn’t have been as close as the scoreline suggests.
As always, Van den Bergh treated the Winter Gardens to a celebratory few nifty moves up on the stage. Will he be dancing though on Thursday night after he faces off against a certain Gerwyn Price in the quarter-final?
Elsewhere, perhaps the shock of the tournament saw young Geordie Callan Rydz get the better of Rob Cross.
Voltage was defending the £150,000 he earned by winning the Matchplay two years ago so it was a huge blow for the former World Champion. With his form returning, many had tipped him for a deep run in this years event.
And from the early exchanges it looked like Cross was going to run away with the game. He had Rydz on the ropes at 5-2 with the youngster averaging in the low 80s.
However, the 23-year old began to find his form and fought his way bravely back into the contest. As the finish line approached, Rydz stood firm and completed the biggest win of his career, 11-8.
In the other match of the night, Krzysztof Ratajski moved into his second consecutive World Matchplay quarter-final at the expense of recent UK Open finalist, Luke Humphries.
For a number of years, when he first joined the PDC, the Pole struggled to reproduce his excellent floor form on the main stage. It looks like he may have finally cracked that nut and discovered the magic formula. If that is the case, he will be a very dangerous opponent - something Callan Rydz may find out when they meet.
Tuesday 20th July
Second Round (Best of 21 legs)
Rob Cross 8-11 Callan Rydz
Luke Humphries 5-11 Krzysztof Ratajski
Gerwyn Price 11-3 Jonny Clayton
Dimitri Van den Bergh 11-8 Dave Chisnall
Lead Image: L Lustig / PDC
Lead Image: L Lustig / PDC