World No. 3 beats with eight 100-plus finishes Stephen BuntingTwo-time champion Anderson too strong for Dave Chisnall
If the World Championships were awarded on the strength of conversation, it would not be a contest.
Wales against Scotland, a first-time finalist against a two-time winner, defiant force against world-weary ignorance, pits Sunday’s final between Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson. Though Anderson is a big-time player who speaks of himself as a run-of-the-mill pub thrower, Price is on the verge of finally cashing the checks that his mouth has been writing happily for years. When he wakes up on Sunday morning in his hotel bubble, Markham’s 35-year-old will realize that he’s one game away from winning it all.
The First World Tournament. In the world rankings, the No. 1 spot.
And, most importantly, the fulfillment of a vow to gamble his arm on the moving sideline of competitive arrows that has remained with him throughout his career in rugby union. “What a sucker”: Anderson after PDC Worlds cruise targets MardleRead moreBut standing in his path is a rival he underestimates at his risk. Anderson, who is 50 years old, may sometimes offer the impression of a player whose best days are behind him. In more than two years, he hasn’t won a major title. He said of his semifinal win here, a 6-3 fiasco against Dave Chisnall, “It felt horrible,” He was only shrugging as it was pointed out that he averaged 100 and touched 13 180s. And, despite the bleak, crystal-clear face of Anderson, here he is: in his fifth world final without ever achieving his best form. In the seedings, he may only be No. 13, but he performs strongly and regularly, has an even disposition and knows how to win the big matches: in part, by refusing to accept that they are big matches at all, one gets the feeling. That was where Chisnall struggled. Chisnall looked erratic and distracted, a man caught up in the situation, fresh from his 5-0 victory over world number one Michael van Gerwen in the quarterfinals. The scoring was usually high, the finishing always excellent: a 170 in the second set, a 124 in the fifth when Anderson sat on tops. In the meantime, Price recovered from 3-1 down in the first semi-final to defeat the indefatigable Steven Bunting 6-4: a match of the highest quality and thrilling swing shifts, with each leg feeling like a mini-epic in its own right. The quality of finishes bordered on the surreal: a record 13 100-plus finishes in all.
And though Bunting took the lead, in order to gradually regain back, Price relied on his bank doubles – tops, double 10 and double 12. It is Price who has always had the most dynamic relationship with the paying punters, of all the sparkling characters of the sport, and who has arguably benefited most from their absence. The prevailing doctrine for most of 2020 was that without the boos and animosity, without the feverish and frequently openly aggressive energy of the crowd pushing him, Price would be a milder and less dangerous player: just another man in a silk shirt throwing darts in an empty room. Dave Chisnall defeats Michael van Gerwen to advance to the PDC semifinals.
Instead, it seems to concentrate him ever more on the peace and equilibrium of the world. Not only is he distracted less quickly, but the stage is all his with no one in the arena. “I just find that little edge when I need it,” Price said. The better someone plays against me, the better I play. “The better someone plays against me, the better I play. ”
And while these days Price seems to be a calmer figure, as well as a minor favorite in terms of shape, this remains the great unknown: how he manages a world final’s fresh and special cauldron. For years he told us that this day will come: the day he forever redrew the darts globe. Finally, we’ll find out now if he’s as good as his word.