Photos from the Cardiff Premier League event at the Cardiff International Arena on Thursday 9th February 2023. Photo: Kieran Cleeves/PDC

‘Every dart I threw the crowd was right behind me’: Gerwyn Price’s hometown glory

‘The Iceman’ thanked the Cardiff crowd for helping him to an historic achievement

GERWYN Price held his nerve in front of a ferocious hometown support to become the first Welshman to win a PDC event in Wales.

Price beat Nathan Aspinall 6-3 in the final of the Premier League Darts event at a sold-out Cardiff International Arena to claim home glory and maximum league points.

The buoyant crowd roared on Price as he dispatched Chris Dobey, Michael van Gerwen and Nathan Aspinall over two nights.

It’s a total reversal for The Iceman who made headlines in January for wearing headphones at The World Championship to block out crowd abuse.

“Every dart I threw the crowd was right behind me,” he said.

“Every double that the opponent had they were against them. But that’s what I get every week, it’s only once a year I get that level of support so I really appreciate it. If they are out having a beer tonight, I will buy them all one.”

He opened his night against week one winner Chris Dobey, clinching a nail-biting match 6-5 to advance to a semi-final against former Premier League winner Michael van Gerwen.

Gerwyn Price beat Michael van Gerwen in the semi-final. Photo: Kieran Cleeves/PDC

An instant classic followed. Van Gerwen hit an average of 110 against Price’s 96 but kept missing doubles to pull away. He looked certain to break Welsh hearts in the deciding leg, missing a crucial match dart at double-10 with Price far back with no opportunity to finish. However, Price rallied to clinch the match and set up a final against Nathan Aspinall.

“I wish I played a little bit better and hit a couple of nine darters to give something back to the fans,” said Price.

“Michael played well better than I did but the crowd kept me in the game. I’ve heard arenas louder than that but always against me. It’s nice to have them in my favour.”

Nathan Aspinall stormed to the final, hitting 105 averages against Peter Wright and World Champion Michael Smith. With a partisan crowd against him, he dropped to a 93 average in the final with Price winning 6-3.

Gerwyn Price with the darts board from the final. Photo: Kieran Cleeves/PDC
The moment Gerwyn Price sealed victory in Cardiff. Photo: Kieran Cleeves/PDC

“Nathan said to me after the game ‘I don’t know how you deal with that every week’ [the crowd noise]. I just played my game and knew that if I brought my A-game then I can beat anyone,” said Price.

Elsewhere, the other Welsh hopeful Jonny Clayton lost the night’s opener against Michael Smith 6-3. Clayton missed a crucial chance with the score at 4-3 to level proceedings and that proved the difference.

Jonny Clayton missed out on the latter stages of the night. Photo: Kieran Cleeves/PDC

After the game, Clayton told journalists that he “threw his darts in the bin but still missed that”.

In the other quarter-final, Michael van Gerwen overcame Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 before losing to Price in the semi-final.

The event was the 16th time that Premier League Darts has been held in Cardiff and, according to PDC statistics, is the fastest of any venue to sell out each year. It remains the only major darts event held in Wales. The only other venue in Wales that fits PDC standards for the Premier League is the Swansea Arena.

Gerwyn Price speaking after his victory. Photo: Sam Feierabend

“Even if we had one major or a couple of pro-tours [in Wales] that would be something,” said Price. Without the fans today I would not have won.” I’ve helped to set up an academy a couple of years back which is thriving.”

A record six Welshmen took part in the 2023 Darts World Championship. With Price and Clayton competing at the top of their game, in years to come they may be seen as the catalysts for an even greater Welsh boom in darts.