Iceman Gerwyn Price kept his cool to defy the boo boys and win his first-ever Unibet Premier League clash.
The Welshman produced an outstanding display of courage to reel off five successive legs and dump Daryl Gurney in Newcastle last night.
Price, fined a record £21,500 following his oche spat with Gary Anderson in the Grand Slam last November, was jeered throughout but still won despite all the odds.
He said: “I felt I played ok but I still missed chances and was 2-0 down and chasing the game. I’m not missing anything in practice.
“I’m against the crowd as well and sometimes that can work against you. But sometimes it can be a good thing and it was tonight.
“Everything got on top of me last year but I now sort of know what to expect this year now and I just needed to get a win under my belt early on and I’ll be fine.
“Playing on stage in front of thousands of fans, who wouldn’t enjoy that? I absolutely love it. But it’s just the week-in, week-out Premier League to Pro Tour then Europeans, home for a day. Two or three months on the road is hard work.
“It sort of hit me in the face last year and I didn’t like it but this year I know what’s coming and I think I know how to deal with it.”
Peter Wright admitted he was “annoyed” after getting soaked with a pint before grabbing a Unibet Premier League point.
The World No.3 was hit by lager on his walk-on during the opening round but came from 2-0 down to snatch a 6-6 result with 2018 World Champion Rob Cross despite his early fury.
He said: “I wasn’t happy, I didn’t settle at all in the first half of the match.
“I was annoyed getting stuff thrown over me on the walk-on, my back was soaked. At least they didn’t get my hair!
“It unsettled me a bit and it took me longer to get going. I had to get on with it and got the draw so happy days.”
James Wade admitted he needed a “kick up the backside” to KO Raymond van Barneveld 7-4 in a cracking opening clash.
The Machine admitted: “It’s massive to win early. It’s important to get points on the board and evolve from there into a big snowball.
“It’s also a big relief just to get some points on the board. I’m happy and I’m looking forward to the rest of the Premier League.
“I felt I responded well to Raymond breaking my throw. It was the kick up the backside that I needed really.
“The crowd were brilliant and so was the atmosphere. But it’s just quite flat in the practice room. The characters have gone and that’s strange. I miss the likes of Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson.
“All the players now have got their headphones in, focused and there’s no banter. It was boring and flat in the practice room.
“The only person I can wind up and have some banter with was Michael van Gerwen. For me it was one of the saddest days of darts.
“Anyway I’m happy to win and go to Glasgow week on a high. I love coming up to Scotland, there’s no hiding place so it’ll be great.”
It was some start as Wade kicked off the new season with a 180 in the opening three darts. In a high class opening leg, The Machine hits two maximums and RVB one. But Wade took it with tops for first blood.
These old sloggers didn’t miss a beat for the opening six legs before the Dutchman finally broke throw to move 4-3 in front.
But RVB missed a big chance to increase the lead and Wade nipped in to steal it and break back for 4-4.
Then it was all Wadey with a performance of huge class, taking the victory with a 99 average and a winning checkout of 124 with bullseye.
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)