By Dylan Williams
Gerwyn Price retained the International Darts Open in Riesa, Germany, with a gutsy response to beat Rob Cross, 8-6, in the final.
Having collected his first European Tour title at the Sachsenarena 12 months ago defeating Simon Whitlock, the Welshman known as ‘The Iceman’ repeated his exploits on Sunday evening, claiming the crown for the second time and the £25,000 prize.
Cross, who was looking for his maiden Euro Tour victory, settled into the final well with a 12-dart break in the third leg, only to be answered by an 87 bullseye finish from Price to level at 2-2.
‘Voltage’ then punished four missed darts at double from the Welshman to complete a 13-darter, followed by an imposing 148 checkout to go 4-2 up and halfway to victory.
The pair then shared the next two legs, which included a 121 checkout from Price, but Cross still held a 5-3 cushion.
The defending champion then showed he was in no mood to give up his title without a fight by rattling off three consecutive legs – only for the recent World Matchplay Champion to level the match with a 13-darter (6-6).
— PDC_Cymru (@PDC_Cymru) September 15, 2019
Markham’s Price then moved a leg away from retaining the title by producing a striking 177 set-up shot and taking out 88. He then managed to keep his cool in the 14th leg to retain the title in style with a 108 checkout.
“It’s the first time I’ve defended a title, so I’m over the moon,” said Price, the world No.7.
“Every game is like that [final] for me now and when I play people like Glen and the top players in the world like Rob, it’s never going to be easy. I’m happy to get over the winning line.
“I had three weeks off and after the break I wasn’t very confident – I changed my darts, had a new set of darts and it seemed to work for me.
“I usually start pretty well at the beginning of the year and then taper off, hopefully that’s a bit different this year. I’m a bit more confident now after winning this one.
“Maybe [I’ll have] a weekend off next week and then I can look forward to Gibraltar and the rest of the year.”
“I usually start pretty well at the beginning of the year and then taper off, hopefully that’s a bit different this year.”@Gezzyprice does the double in Riesa
— Live Darts (@livedarts) September 15, 2019
The Grand Slam of Darts Champion had averaged 106 in his opening victory over Kyle Anderson on Friday and followed that up by defeating Joe Murnan 6-4 in the Last 16.
He then defeated his arch-rival Nathan Aspinall 6-4 in the quarter-final before sealing his spot in the final with arguably his best display in the semi-final – a 7-3 defeat of Glen Durrant with a 101.3 average.
The 2019 European Tour will conclude with the Gibraltar Trophy from September 27-29, following which the top 32 players on the European Order of Merit will qualify for next month’s European Championship in Gottingen.