By Dylan Williams
Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney had to be parted by security on the oche after a passionate 7-7 draw in their critical Unibet Premier League clash in Sheffield on Thursday.
The pair have a history of confrontation on stage but the stakes and emotions were particularly high as the race to reach the play-offs in the O2 hit boiling point on Thursday night.
Northern Irishman Gurney let his feelings be known as the players shook hands before an exchange of words and some argy-bargy prompted security staff to swarm the stage to prevent any further disagreement.
“To be honest I don’t understand what happened, why it happened,” said Price. “He reckons that I’m talking, if I want to gee myself up, I gee myself up, I wouldn’t do it when he’s throwing.
“But each to their own, I’m accused of a lot of things. They know that I’m on, sort of, curfew and I’ve got a month or two left. I don’t know if they’re trying to get me banned or whatever, but it ain’t going to work.
“I shook his hand and I didn’t think there was anything in it.
“To be honest with you I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t win, but if I lost that game I was out and I drew so I’m still in and I’ve got a fighting chance next week so that’s all I’m happy about.”
Given that James Wade had beaten Michael Smith earlier in the night the Welshman knew that defeat would end his hopes of reaching the top four.
First blood went to Gurney, but Price hit back to lead 3-1. Tensions started to mount in the 5th leg as ‘Superchin’ took out 45 and instantly turned round to eyeball ‘The Iceman’.
The duo shared the next two legs, before Price took a stranglehold of the match and broke the Northern Irishman’s throw to lead 6-3.
However, the Markham Marksman let the lead slip as Gurney drew level at 6-6.
Price then held his nerve and secured a draw in the 13th leg taking out a spectacular double-double finish (D18 & D20) followed by his trademark roar which echoed around the FlyDSA Arena to keep his play-off dreams alive.
In the final leg Price missed double 13 for a match winning 146 checkout before Gurney took out 64 to claim the draw.
That’s when the duo exchanged words forcing the security staff to step in.
Price, the Grand Slam of Darts Champion, has the worry of a three month suspended ban hanging over his head, and if found to be in breach of any DRA (Darts Regulation Authority) rules before the 11 July 2019 the ban will be enforced.
The Unibet Premier League’s regular season will conclude next Thursday 16 May at the First Direct Arena in Leeds with all four matches having a bearing on the play-off race.
Price plays Peter Wright – the Welshman will need to hope Rob Cross, Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith do him a favour by defeating James Wade, Mensur Suljovic and Daryl Gurney respectively.