Gerwyn Price made history Saturday as he became the first Welshman to reach the PDC World Darts Championship final after a grueling but highlight-filled match vs. the tournament’s scrappiest performer Englishman Stephen Bunting.
Price-Bunting the Match of the Tournament Thus Far
The best clash of the tournament thus far and perhaps the most memorable semi-final match of all-time, the game featured a World Darts Championship record number of 100+ checkouts with thirteen, decimating the record 11 Phil Taylor vs. Kevin Painter in 2004 final.
Price was responsible for eight of those finishes, which put him in rare company in a tie for the record with van Gerwen—which he set in 2014 in the quarter-finals vs. Mark Webster.
There wasn’t much Bunting could do. Price finished with a tournament-high average of 100.92 compared to Bunting’s 96.38. Bunting, in his first semi-final since the 2015 UK Open, found himself in the unfamiliar position of being ahead in the match. He was up 3-1 with a checkout percentage at almost 80%, but his play shrunk up to 52.94%.
No. 3 Price Can Stake his Claim to No. 1 with a Win Sunday
Price, 35, a former professional rugby union and rugby league footballer, came through Bunting’s early hot-streak and by the start of the ninth set and copping a record tie with Gerwen’s record and a grinding attitude that would have won a crowd, had there been a crowd behind the athletes.
“That’s the best I’ve played in this tournament, and I needed to,” Price said after the match. “I’m here to win this, and I’m in the final, so I’ve got every chance now. Stephen played really well, and he punished me whenever I slipped up. I’m full of confidence after this game. I definitely improved for this match, but there is a lot more in the tank. I always seem to find that bit of extra edge when I need to.”
World No. 3 Price will meet Gary Anderson, the three-time champion from Scotland, for the right to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy Sunday night.
Anderson Cruises Saturday, May Have Surprises in Store for Price in Final
Heavily favored Anderson posted a ton-plus average in his 6-3 win over Dave Chisnall Saturday to cruise into his fifth PDC final—only second with appearances behind darts legend Phil Taylor. The two-time world champion averaged just over 100 Saturday, hit 13 maximums, and took a pair of ton-plus checkouts to set up the showdown with Price.
Perhaps it was the outsized play of Price (-135 on Bovada) that pushed him as the favorite over Anderson (+105) for the final.
The sheer athleticism of the multi-sport pro athlete and Premier League Darts tournament standout (10th, 5th, and 5th finishes in 2018, 2019, and 2020 respectively) seems to mean Price is poised to take over as No. 1 in the world. Perhaps it will be the Ice Man’s day Sunday, or maybe the 50-year-old Flying Scotsman will have something to say one more time—to take home his third world title.
The match starts at 11:45 ET Sunday. It will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.