PRICE PREVENTS KLOSE FAIRYTALE WITH PC21 SUCCESS
The Iceman has claimed his sixth PDC title of 2023 with a hard-fought 8-6 victory over German newcomer Daniel Klose in Tuesday's Players Championship 21.
Price â€“ who won back-to-back titles in Hildesheim last weekend â€“ secured his third Players Championship crown in the space of five events to round off this week's ProTour treble-header in Barnsley.
The Welshman suffered early exits on Sunday and Monday, although he returned to winning ways in emphatic style at the Barnsley Metrodome.
â€œI played pretty well today,â€_x009d_ claimed Price, who produced a series of consistent displays to pocket the £12,000 top prize.
â€œIâ€™m playing well even though sometimes Iâ€™m losing, but I was beating myself up in that final. I missed loads of doubles, but thankfully they didnâ€™t cost me.
â€œI thought I didnâ€™t play particularly well in Germany [last weekend]. I just did enough to win, but today I played a lot better.
â€œIt is nice to be back in the winnerâ€™s circle and itâ€™s a boost of confidence ready for the big TV events.â€_x009d_
Price fired in a stunning 108 average to whitewash Cameron Menzies in Tuesdayâ€™s opener, before battling past Dutch veteran Vincent van der Voort in round two.
The 38-year-old then conjured up a sensational 161 checkout to edge out Gian van Veen in a last-leg decider, which was followed by a routine 6-3 success against Niels Zonneveld.
Price accounted for a fourth consecutive Dutchman in his quarter-final thumping of Danny Noppert, before reeling off five straight legs to deny Daryl Gurney in the last four.
This set up a showdown against surprise package Klose in Tuesdayâ€™s showpiece, although there was little to separate the pair in the opening exchanges, as they shared the first four legs.
Price followed up a timely break in leg five with a clinical 95 kill to establish a two-leg buffer at 4-2, but that cushion was soon wiped out by Klose, who responded with back-to-back legs to level at four apiece.
The 2021 World Champion regained the initiative by following up a 14-dart break with a crucial 80 finish in leg ten, although Klose remained in touch with a nerveless 71 outshot to halve the deficit.
Nevertheless, Price moved to the cusp of victory with a regulation hold in leg 12, and a 13-dart hold saw him celebrate his fifth individual title of the year.
Despite Priceâ€™s exploits, Klose was arguably the story of the day, as he became the fourth German player to reach a PDC ranking final.
The 43-year-old, who only secured his PDC Tour Card in January, defeated three TV title winners in his remarkable run, which featured a hat-trick of ton-plus averages.
Klose swept aside Devon Petersen and his fellow countryman Gabriel Clemens to reach round three, where he claimed the scalp of World Champion Michael Smith in a high-quality contest.
After knocking out Czech youngster Adam Gawlas to secure a spot in the last eight, Klose also won four consecutive legs to complete a superb comeback win against Masters winner Chris Dobey.
His reward was a semi-final tussle against Peter Wright, but Klose was up to the task, winning six of the last seven legs to thrash the two-time World Champion with an average of almost 101.
Wright had enjoyed a welcome return to form to reach the last four, defeating Stephen Bunting and Mondayâ€™s winner Luke Humphries on his way to claiming £4,000 in prize money.
Gurney was the dayâ€™s other semi-finalist, winning through an astonishing last 16 tie against Gary Anderson, after converting four ton-plus finishes to defy a 105 average from the Scot.
Mondayâ€™s winner Humphries featured in the last eight, bowing out in the quarter-finals alongside Noppert, Dobey and European Champion Ross Smith.
Michael van Gerwen was condemned to another shock opening round exit against Graham Hall, with Jonny Clayton, Dave Chisnall and Damon Heta also exiting at the same stage.
Elsewhere, Robert Owen landed the third nine-dart finish in as many days in Barnsley, achieving perfection in the penultimate leg of his third round defeat against Ritchie Edhouse.
Wednesday will see the Tour Card Holder Qualifier for Octoberâ€™s German Darts Championship (ET13) take place in Barnsley, followed by the qualifier for the 2023 Jackâ€™s World Series of Darts Finals.
The PDC ProTour season then continues later this month, as the Barnsley Metrodome plays host to Players Championships 22-24 from September 27-29.
Image Courtesy of PDC