brilliant-iceman-the-man-to-beat-at-grand-prix

Brilliant Iceman the man to beat at Grand Prix


Mark Webster

Darts Expert & Columnist

Price defeated Dirk van Duijvenbode to claim Grand Prix glory 12 months ago; the world champion begins the defence of his title against Michael Smith when the tournament begins at the Morningside Arena, Leicester on October 3 – live on Sky Sports

Last Updated: 30/09/21 8:02am

    'The Iceman' defeated Dirk van Duijvenbode to capture his maiden World Grand Prix crown in 2020

    ‘The Iceman’ defeated Dirk van Duijvenbode to capture his maiden World Grand Prix crown in 2020

    Gerwyn Price warmed up for the defence of his World Grand Prix title with victory at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy last weekend, and his fellow Welshman Mark Webster insists ‘The Iceman’ is the man to beat ahead of the business end of the darting season.

    The world No 1 defeated Dirk van Duijvenbode to lift the double-start title for the first time in his career in 2020, and he’ll take on five-time major finalist Michael Smith in a pulsating opening round tie when the tournament gets underway in Leicester on Sunday.

    The 36-year-old enjoyed the perfect preparation in Gibraltar, defeating his old foe Michael van Gerwen en route to scooping his second consecutive European Tour title.

    Live World Grand Prix Darts

    October 3, 2021, 6:00pm

    Live on Sky Sports Arena

    Price averaged 103.61 to Van Gerwen’s 105.02 in a thrilling quarter-final tussle, with the world champion breaking throw in a dramatic decider to dump out ‘The Green Machine’.

    The Welshman defeated former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall in the semi-finals, before producing an imperious display to whitewash Mensur Suljovic 8-0 in Sunday’s showpiece, laying down a timely marker ahead of his Grand Prix defence.

    “He is the man to beat. He is the world No 1 and the world champion,” Webster told the Darts Show podcast.

    Price defied a 105 average from Van Gerwen to defeat the Dutchman in Gibraltar

    Price defied a 105 average from Van Gerwen to defeat the Dutchman in Gibraltar

    “It has always been Michael van Gerwen, but at the minute, they are all fighting to have a crack at Gerwyn Price.

    “He will be going into the Grand Prix defending the title. The pressure is on him, but we’ve seen him deal with it before. He defended the Grand Slam, so why can’t he defend the World Grand Prix?”

    Price’s deciding-leg victory over Van Gerwen was the highlight of the weekend’s action, and it maintained the Welshman’s impressive record in deciding-legs this season.

    Statistics from Darts Tracker illustrate that the world champion has won 14 of his 17 last-leg deciders in 2021, and he’s won 11 of 13 matches in which he and his opponent have posted ton-plus averages.

    “It just shows he doesn’t buckle, and you’re going to have to go some to beat him in a last-leg,” Webster added.

    “He’s a winner, isn’t he? He has come from that sporting background with rugby, where you just want to win at all costs.

    “He is prepared for the last-leg drama. He will probably come across it at the World Grand Prix.

    “We saw it at the World Championship. Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney took him to last-leg deciders, but he just had too much and that’s why he became the world champion.

    “I stand by it – I think Gerwyn Price is going to take some beating in the next few months, building up to the World Championship.”

    Webster: Price the man to beat

    “His game is in a great place at the minute and if he can produce that sort of stuff during the nerviest part of the game, you’re going to take some beating.”

    Price’s European Tour victories in Hungary and Gibraltar have extended his lead at the top of the PDC Order of Merit, and with £125,000 to defend at next month’s Grand Slam, Webster believes this eases the pressure as he looks to cement his world No 1 status.

    “It’s a dream scenario for him at the minute. He’s won back-to-back European tournaments. We talk about the pressure of defending money, he’s just trousered £50,000, so that helps his cause.

    “That is a pressure on a player, that eats away, but you feel like he doesn’t feel too much of the pressure and if he does lose, it’s down to his opponent beating him, he’s never going to gift you it.”

    “I stand by it – I think Gerwyn Price is going to take some beating in the next few months, building up to the World Championship.”

    Just a week before his success in Gibraltar, Price withdrew from the Nordic Darts Masters following a long-standing tennis elbow injury, which prompted concern ahead of a hectic schedule.

    Nevertheless, he had a cortisone injection before heading to Gibraltar, and he displayed little sign of discomfort en route to claiming the £25,000 top prize.

    Former world No 1 Colin Lloyd praised Price’s work ethic and believes a confident ‘Iceman’ will prove a tough proposition to stop at Leicester’s Morningside Arena.

    Relive Gerwyn Price's winning moment at the World Grand Prix as he beat Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-2 in the final

    Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

    Relive Gerwyn Price’s winning moment at the World Grand Prix as he beat Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-2 in the final

    Relive Gerwyn Price’s winning moment at the World Grand Prix as he beat Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-2 in the final

    “Gerwyn Price came home from Copenhagen, sorted the issue out, and then a week down the line he’s won a big event in Gibraltar, gearing himself ready for the defence of his World Grand Prix title.

    “There is no better confidence booster before you go into a big major.

    “I think with Gerwyn Price, when he says he’s practising hard, I think it’s where he’s got that work ethic from being on the rugby pitch.

    “He is putting in the hard work and he is reaping the rewards of that hard work. Others might be saying I’m practising, but maybe they’re not practising as hard as Gerwyn is.”

    Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens when the World Grand Prix gets underway – join us for coverage from the Morningside Arena, starting on Sunday, October 3. Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts