Mighty Mickey Mansell won his first ever PDC title despite a bizarre ‘Crunchgate’ drama with Gerwyn Price.
The Northern Irishman dropped only 11 legs in an incredible run to the Players Championship title in Barnsley, dumping stars Price, Kim Huybrechts, Alan Norris, Robert Thornton and Adrian Lewis in the final on Sunday night.
But former World Cup semi-finalist Mansell, 44, had to deal with an odd quarter-final with Price who refused to play on the oche because of a “crunching” sound where tape was covering wires.
Mansell revealed: “It was a strange situation. I had ear plugs in so I genuinely didn’t know what was going on.
“When Gerwyn complained to the ref I was confused. Obviously I didn’t hear any sound because of my ear plugs. But he was saying overtime I walked back from the board – when he was throwing – there was a crunching sound.
“I did say that I could avoid walking on it but Gerwyn was adamant at that stage he didn’t want to continue on that board.
“So we moved to a different board. I didn’t want it to get to 5-5 in the match and then win because of a noise, I wanted it to be fair, so I was happy to move. It was certainly a new thing for me, never had a crunch problem in a match!
“I will maybe become a quiz question in years to come as the only man to win an event by winning seven matches on eight boards.”
Mansell’s win is another sign of the rapid emergence of Ireland as a major force on the oche.
The County Tyrone ‘Cyclone’ beat Gary Anderson in the Players Championship at the end of last year but wants to be know as a top player, not just a giantkiller.
He added: “We’ve got some great players in Ireland now like Daryl Gurney, Brendan Dolan and Steve Lennon. The competition is tough at home and that’s why we are producing good players.
“I know I can play well but the problem is consistency. Everyone here can beat everyone else but it’s consistency that separates the top guys from the rest.
“For Adrian to make the final today after doing it yesterday is amazing and it shows what champions are made of.
“Believe it or not but I think the best game I played was the first one against Kim. It set me up for the rest of the day, I put him under pressure and thought that was the best I played all day.
“I’ve had some great results against the top players before so I’ve got the experience and I’ve got that mentality that I know I can beat them.
“I’ve been struggling, theres no point saying anything different, but it would have been great to say I made the final. To win it over all the amazing players is incredible.”
The second final defeat in the space of 24 hours denied Lewis his first PDC title of the year, but his run pushes him closer to a return to the world’s top 16.
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)