An astoundingly brilliant display, particularly on the doubles, gave Gerwyn Price his first world title and also took him to number 1 in the world for the first time
Right then, that’s the highpoint of the year done. Only 11 months to go till we go again. But in the meantime, we’ve seen one of the all-time great displays of magnificence. If you thought creation was good, you need to watch back set six. Night everyone!
Here’s Jonathan Liew’s report.
With the hope that fans will be allowed in. The 10 players are:
1. Van Gerwen
We’ll find out who’s been picked for the Premier League presently….
It’s funny, because Price had so many chances to win no one’s really said anything about the opening barrage that settled this. I keep saying it because it needs to keep being said: it was phenomenally, unprecedentedly brilliant. Price played so ludicrously he had time to choke badly, three times, and still win by miles.
He doesn’t care how many world titles he wins – we’ll see about that, eh? – and can’t wait to be called out by John McDonald as the champ. I’ll bet.
Back with Price, he notes hthe weight of the trophy, and hopes the “500 grand feels as heavy as this”. He thinks it’ll take a couple of days for it to sink in, but is “the most emotional person ever”. He goes back to talking about the chances he missed, but he hoped for another one and goes back to the pressure he felt – he can’t understand how “Michael and Peter make it look so easy”. He’s also dead chuffed to be world number 1, which takes two years of effort, and reckons he deserves it, which he does.
Anderson says he’s disappointed but pleased he got to the final. When you miss doubles like he did you get whacked, and he’s looking forward to getting back on it. He then mentions a D16 he missed – “absolutely pathetic” – noting that he started ok, but then found himself snatching at things.
Price says he’s never felt pressure like that in his life. He thought he’d won, then thought he was going to lose it and says how tough it was. He’s also never been as nervous as he was today, but we cut to Anderson….
Price puts his head again the trophy, kisses it, and holds it high! It’s an absolute monster of a creation – I always wondered about the muscles, now I know
That’s an absolutely spectacular performance from Gerwyn Price! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like the work that he did early on, and though he couldn’t maintain it, no one could’ve maintained it. To do that in your first world final is absolutely mind-boggling.
Price opens with a 177 – that is absolutely colossal. He gets himself down to 140 with Anderson on 134, but then on 80 he misses D20 and D10! That’s 11 match darts gone, but Anderson can’t capitalise! Price then hits D5, and after one of the all-time great performances, limps over the line!
With Price on 104, Anderson has 124 to see away, but can’t hit the bull for the set. But Price can’t finish either, and Anderson misses two darts at D16! Price smashes D10, and now has one leg, with the darts, to become champion of the world and world number 1!
Price is tutting, ranting and shaking. He knows he’ll probably win anyway, but he also knows that he’s moving closer to one of the great chokes in any sport. Still, he gets back at tops to get on the board in this set and celebrates by mocking himself, ironically posing, arms outstretched.
We knew it wasn’t possible for Price to keep hitting doubles like they belonged to him, but now he’s missing them as if paying a heavenly debt! Anderson misses D10 to cement the break, but stuck on 72 Price misses D12 and D6 and Anderson clears up! I’m starting to shake.
If Price had stayed hot for just a little less time, we’d be looking at an absolute battle. But even so he’ll be wondering, as Anderson steams through another leg and suddenly everything we thought we knew is just a little less certain.
Anderson rushes through a decent leg, but Price has now missed nine match darts! How will he respond? (We know the answer to that).
Price rattles through the decisive leg, only to miss tops with Anderson sat on 229. He then misses two D10, then hits fat 10; can Anderson take out 92? No he can’t, missing D8 … and Price misses D5 twice! He’s rubbish! Nonsense! Gary then pins D4, and off we go again!
Five perfect darts from Anderson set up the leg, but he knows what’s done is done. He can’t finish 88 … can Price finish it 170? No! He hits the first T20, misses the second … but when Gary misses three more doubles, Gerwyn leaves himself tops! Here we go … no, here we don’t go! He misses D20, misses D10, and Anderson finally hits D2.
We’re getting towards the end, so let’s extract every last scintilla of awe from one of the all-time great final displays, in any sport. I mentioned Trump earlier because his was for his first win too, but this is on a level with Milan 4-0 Barcelona too. Meantime, Gary misses three doubles and Gerwyn pins tops second go.
HAVE A LOOK! Anderson opens set nine with a 140, so Price batters in a 180! It’ll be the doubling that we remember this for, but his ability to put pressure on the Anderson throw has been crucial too – yerman just hasn’t been able to relax, under it every leg, and a 14-darter from Price takes him two holds away from the world championship!
Anderson needs five sets in a row and that is just not going to happen. At 5-3 he’d have had a decent chance, but Price knows that he’s got so much wriggle room he’s unstoppable. OK, he probably thought he was unstoppable before we started, which is a key reason he played as unstoppably as he did.
A monstrous 180 from Gerwyn takes him very close and he has six darts from 94, with Anderson on 214. He leaves himself tops, but a 174 from Gary takes him there too. What does Price have? You know darn well what Price has! One dart and down it goes; he’s nearly there, pumping, whooping and hollering while Anderson smiles wryly.
Oh dear. With Gerwyn on 72, Gary misses tops and tens … but Gerwyn can’t take advantage. He’s cooled, but he’s so far ahead surely it won’t matter? Gary pins D1, and here we go….
Here we go? Anderson opens a key leg with a 180 and when Gerwyn hits 57, Gary has a chance … but 59 is all he can muster. In commentary, they wonder if Price is thinking about it too much, but I don’t think it’s that at all, it’s just that no human can do what he did for longer than he did it; no human has ever done what he did for as long as he did it. Gary misses D11 for a break, and Gerwyn misses D20 … he’s getting tight … BUT HE PINS D10 and lets out a howl of pure relief (and testosterone). That miss from Anderson might just be the match.
Anderson’s best leg in some time, but he still misses tops. That won’t sit right, even though he hits two 10s next go.
Price is back to playing normally, but 131 versus 167 leaves Anderson hoping. He lays up 85, but Price simply pins D18 like it’s nothing, which it absolutely is not.
I keep saying it, but even so, let’s take a moment to reflect on the epochal glory of what we’ve seen so far. Price has lost two sets and is still 65% on doubles. You just can’t deal with that.
“Matt Dony is welcome to apply for Scottish citizenship anytime,” emails Simon McMahon. “He’d be very welcome. A lifetime of heartbreak and near misses guaranteed.”
But the greatest vernacular in the world.
It seemed inconceivable that Price could keep finishing so remorselessly and he’ll feel like he’s given this set away. But the reality is that it was an entirely normal one, he’d just changed what we understand by normal for a brief period. I don’t think Anderson is capable of playing well enough to win from here – well he is, just not now, after what’s just been done to him – but if he can take the next, Price will start to wonder.
Price misses five darts to win this set, and Anderson leaves himself 120 with Price stuck on 259. He hits T20 and 20 but misses tops again; can Price deal with 158? No he can’t, and Anderson pins tops second go. Do we got ourselves a ball-game?!
A little dip from Price, but does Anderson have anything left? He has a shy at 140 and a brilliant T18 gives him a go at tops … but it’s only accepting Price’s darts right now, sorry. No it isn’t! He misses for the firs time, Anderson nails D10 second go, and has the darts to pull a set back!
Tell you what, all the other pros will be thanking their good fortune they got knocked out and aren’t on the end of this barrage. But look! Price misses a double! Not 20, 12, then 6 … but Anderson is punch-drunk and can’t do anything about it at all. Price, though, finally cools and leaves him a shot at D2, which he hits second go.
I’ve seen hot finishing before, but this is revolting, an absolute disgrace. If you walked up to the board and put your arrows in you couldn’t finish better than this, and there goes D20 again!
Gary’s been doing this a long time, and he’ll know that there’s not much that can be done when someone plays like this. Gerwyn can score more heavily than this, but it’s not possible for anyone to finish better than this, and Price has tops for a break … AND THERE IT GOES! That’s 12/12 for him on tops, and I’m absolutely shaking with how unbelievably brilliant this is.
OH MY DAYS! Price hits two 180s, two T19 … and misses D12 for a nine-darter! But he takes it out next time for a set average of 136.64! That’s the highest in world darts final history, and the only comparator I have is what Judd Trump did to John Higgins in winning his first world snooker title. This is that good.
Price nails 160, finishing on the bull! He’s 75% on his doubles, and I’ve never seen anything like this in all my life! Drink it in!
Price begins set six with a 140, and even a 180 from Anderson can’t stem the flow. Price takes out 100, hitting tops with his first effort, and this is the most staggering display of finishing I’ve seen since he pummelled D10 last evening.
If Anderson can’t win this next set, it’ll be very hard to see a way back. The thing is, Price isn’t nicking these, he’s absolutely dominating them. He’s also 72% on doubles versus 36% for Anderson, but that’s the biggest difference not the only difference.
Please note: what we’re seeing here is absolutely rrrrrridiculous.
Every time Anderson thinks he’s away in a leg, Gezzy nobbles something big and makes it hard for him; he can’t relax. And he’s doing ok in this crucial leg, only for Price to yank back the initiative with two T19. And shonuff, with D20 gaping but only one dart in hand, one dart is all it takes. He’s finishing like Jari Litmanen!
Eesh! Gaz misses D20 then D10, and he did it because Price put him under pressure, leaving a two-dart combo for himself. But price can’t capitalise, and D5 gets Anderson on the board. Can he build on it?
A 180 and a 140 leave Anderson on 96 with Price on 97; this really needs to go. But he misses D18 and D9, then Price smashes D20 again! His first world final, and he’s playing the match of his life! I am in absolute awe of this finishing.
But there’s a stretch to go, and plenty of scope for fluctuation – though Anderson can’t afford to lose this set. A 180 puts him in position to secure the leg, but with him sat on 90, a 140 from Price leaves him on 83; Anderson can’t even get a shot at double … and Price nails D9! This is sliding, fast.
Goodness me, this is fantastic from Price. You watch him sometimes and wonder how he can stay calm enough to hit the big ones, but he plays off adrenalin and it works for him. I’ve seen better scoring in plenty of world finals, but I can’t remember the last time I saw such devastating finishing.
Price’s doubling has been so, so good so far. He might not sustain it over a long match, but if he can break the back of it while he’s still hot, it might not matter. And here we go again: with Price on 40, Anderson needs to take out 144. He can’t, and Price pins tops first go! He is absolutely steaming hot, and there’s nothing that can be done about it at all.
Another 180 just when he needed it sets up the leg for Price, who has at least six darts from 164. But he only manages 44, and a 130 from Anderson puts the pressure in … but it doesn’t matter! He hits tops again, giving him 7/7, and there are biceps everywhere when he celebrates.
A rare comfortable hold for Anderson – Price has been on him in almost every one – but he almost botches it, missing D8 by, as he would say, “a fortnight”. He misses D4 as well, then D2 … but hits it the second time. That was pressure and he faced it down well, but Price is relentless.
Just when the leg gets close, Price nails a maxi, and with Anderson sat on 101 needs to take out 84 … which he does! Anderson can only hang in there, because Price’s finishing is as hot as the brown stuff at the moment.
Gezzy has six darts to get rid of 125 with Gaz on 245, and a 45 from Gaz gives him an extra three. He hits tops with his second effort, and looks extremely confident out there.
Price is buzzing now, and and a 180 puts the pressure on. But Gaz retorts with a 136 that leaves 170 … only for another 180 to leave him on 84. SO GAZ TAKES OUT THE BIG FISH! T20 T20 BULL! The same finish turned the tide the last time Gaz won a world final, against Aidy Lewis in 2016, but there’s a lot more work for him to do here than there was then.
Price is doing really well at making sure to hit at least one treble every visit and he lays up 133 to 40; Gaz does likewise with 170 to 74. Again, Price nails tops, and he’s very close to another set against the throw.
That 128 finish Anderson took out to break was absolutely crucial, but Price is right back at him, a 174 giving him control of the leg. Anderson fights back with a 140 but he’s stuck on 181 when Price attacks 69. He misses T13 though, so after fat 12 has only one dart at tops … and one is all he needs1 That’s a monstrous leg from Gezzy, given the circumstances.
So far, Anderson has played the best and the worst darts. If Price doesn’t improve, I’d guess that’d be enough to win it, but there’s no way we settle in to that.
Already, this is a crucial leg. Anderson is throwing beautifully now, and will will back himself to finish from 223 in six darts. But it’s so easily lost, and a poor visit leaves him needing 138 with Price on 70. He can’t finish and sticks on 40, while Price has two goes at D8 … AND HE MISSES BAITH! Gary the misses his first go at tops … but pins the second, and we’re all-square! This is warm!
With Anderson in front, Price can only manage 60; can Anderson, on 301, punish him? He’d have wanted two trebles but 100 isn’t bad, and he winds up needing 71 for a break … yes he can! T17, and D10 second go!
A 140 from Price puts Anderson under pressure and he responds with a 57; but with Price on 162, he slings in a maxi that means he has 128 to go at. And there it is! T18, T18, D10! Man, he needed that.
I said at the start that it’d be the mid-ranking finishes that decided this and that’s what we’ve seen so far. Price holds here with a 59 finish that makes it four legs on the spin, but Anderson had him under no pressure because he couldn’t find T20 often enough.
“Huge pressure on Price,” says @Mysteron_Vice. “Best chance he’s going to get in a while to establish himself as number 1 by a distance, rather than scrap around in a top three that will chop and change on a regular basis.”
Yes, agreed, but I doubt he’s that arsed about the ranking – he’ll just be desperate to nab the Sid, and won’t be able to believe the start he’s made. Nor will Anderson.
Hello! Price begins the leg with a max, and suddenly a set that was over looks like being his! But Gaz responds well and a 58 from Gezzy hands back the initiative; Gaz leaves 112, and with Gezzy on 46, this is huge pressure already. But he misses the T19 that would’ve given him a shot at double and Price only needs one go at tops! What a steal that is, from 0-2 and against the darts! Ando had four goes at clinching it, and now look!
A slow leg, which Price eventually nicks. Here we go!
“I will support almost any Welsh person in almost any sport,” emails Matt Dony. “And yet. And yet. I just can’t get behind Price. I hope it’s a good, close competition, but I’m hoping for an Anderson victory.”
The first 180 of the night puts Gary in control of the leg and a 97 leaves him a 129 for the set. He misses D18 on his first go, hitting the fat variety, then misses D9 and D4 leaving Gezzy 84 … and he takes it out, emitting his first bellow of the night. Anderson will still have another bash at serving for the set, but Price is in the match now
Gerwyn leaves himself 100 but Gary ramps up the pressure by leaving 76. And it’s enough to make the difference – Gezzy doesn’t even get a shot at double, after which Gary pins tops.
A dodgy start from both men, who score ok but struggle to finish, Anderson missing 170 and 85 before finally resolving the situation.
It’s Gary to throw first … game on!
And here comes Gerwyn. I shudder to think what Suge Knight would’ve done to him.
I once asked Gary why he comes out to Jump Around. He didn’t know, and hadn’t heard of it till someone picked it for him. MC Mashup and DJ Redeye could not be contacted for their comments.
Here come the players!
Email! “Hoping Gary wins the Sid Waddell trophy tonight,” says Simon McMahon. “Might not be the greatest comeback since Lazarus, but a great story nonetheless. And one up for all us 50 year-old glasses-wearers!”
Relatedly, if there’s a heavier trophy in sport than the Sid, I’d love to see someone try and lift it.
“Probably one of the worst games in history … it’s been put in the bin,” says Gary of his win over Mensur Suljovic in round three. Mensur slowed things right down there and dragged Gary down but ended up rinsing himself; Gary won the final six legs straight and has been pretty handy since then.
Price tells Sky he’s won the most tournaments this year but has only been in second gear through this tournament. I’m not sure he can match Anderson when it comes to the power-scoring, but you can trust him to keep the heid … except he’s never played in a world final never mind won one, and you can never be sure what effect that might have. Anderson, on the other hand, has won two, and is one of the all-time greats whatever happens tonight.
So here’s a little piece on him from Joy of Six: champions .
In particular, I enjoyed this. Wayne Mardle is one of the best commentators in any sport.
I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy anything as much as I enjoyed this.
Get yourselves in the mood: why you should watch the world darts final, even if you think you shouldn’t.
Which isn’t to say Anderson winning wouldn’t be a great story. He looked to be finished at the top level because though his best is as good as anything ever seen, he couldn’t quite sustain it for as long as Van Gerwen, which is why he lost that classic 2017 final. He had a dart for 3-1, missed it, and when yerman stamped on the gas thereafter, he couldn’t respond. Since then, though, he’s got glasses – yes, he became a double world champ without being able to see the board properly – and struggled with back problems. Now they’re sorted, he’s looking better than for years.
Darts is in a kind of interregnum at the moment. Obviously we had the Phil Taylor aeon, and as we’d already learnt with Eric Bristow, dominant champions are great for driving interest. It looked for all the world like Michael van Gerwen had already inherited the mantle – he’s played about as well as it’s possible for anyone to play, and his efforts in the 2017 semi and final were especially unbelievable – but he loses when other brilliant players produce their best against him in a way the other two rarely did. Gary Anderson in 2015, Raymond van Barneveld in 2016, Rob Cross in 2018, Peter Wright in 2020 and Dave Chisnall in 2021 all saw MvG off, and he’s not quite as good now as he was in the first half of the period. Which is to say that darts could really do with Price winning tonight, partly because he can go on, partly because he might form one half of a rivalry, and partly because he behaviour necessarily attracts eyeballs. Anderson would be a more popular winner, but he’s already done everything he’s going to do for the game.
So what’s going to happen? Well, if Gaz plays as well as he did last night, then how well Gezzy played last night won’t be even close to good enough, and of the two, his best is the better. But it’s not as simple as that. Both men have improved through the rounds, and in a tight one it probably won’t be settled by 180s, 170s or 140s, but by mid-ranking combination finishes – your 76s, your 104s and your 120s of this world. And much as a peak Anderson has the edge here, I’d not be at all surprised to see Price edge that aspect. But now that you ask, my money is on Gaz.
The way the world is, there’s not much in it on which we can rely, but the world darts championship remains one such thing, an unstoppable meld of drama, tension, humanity and joy. If you don’t love this, you don’t love anything.
And what a final it’s delivered for us here, a clash of popularity, personality and philosophy. Gerwyn Price is a reformed rugby player and the coming man – if he wins, he supplants Michael van Gerwen as world number 1 – and also the favourite, but only in betting parlance. A throbbing ball of animus and abs, he could start a fight in an empty head, hurls every dart like the board cussed his mum and antagonises the crowd like he’s cussing theirs. He’s absolutely brilliant and we’re extremely lucky to have him.