Gerywn Price could become the first Welshman to win a major PDC title, after beating Alan Norris 11-9 to reach the UK Open final.
It was Norris who had the better of the early stages and he took advantage of some poor finishing from Price to lead 3-2 at the first interval. The Welshman came back into it, as the lead repeatedly changed hands.
The game continued to be a close affair and with the players locked at 9-9 the key moment came, Norris missed three darts for a 10-9 lead and never recovered, as he lost the leg courtesy of two double 20’s from Price and then, in the next leg, the match. Price missed match darts but Norris was too far back and the Welshman came back to seal the win on double 10.
The first two legs went with throw, as Price found double 10 and Norris double 20 to get themselves on the board. In the third leg, Price hit a 180 to leave 62 but missed two at double ten allowing Norris to take out a 150 check and break the Welshman’s throw.
In leg four the Iceman once again hit a 180, this time to cue up an 84 finish. But, it was the same result, as a missed shot at bull was jumped on by Norris who took out 68 in three darts, to lead 3-1. Price then had a slight case of double trouble in the fifth, missing four at double 10 before eventually taking out double five to make it 3-2 at the break.
Price’s fantastic set-up shots continued after the break but once more the attempted finish was poor. Price was perhaps lucky that Chuck couldn’t make anything of his 105, allowing him to level the game and break the Norris throw.
Price made it three on the spin with a 59 checkout but a slack scoring leg from the Welshman allowed Norris to hold and level the encounter at 4-4.
Price held to make it 5-4 and hit a 180 in the sixth leg, just as the duo’s scoring was starting to stagnate. Having hit treble twenty and treble eighteen, the Ice Man turned down a shot at bull to instead find single 10 and leave tops when he returned. However, he missed three at the double and Norris came from behind in the leg to take out 90, and send them in for the break at 5-5.
Norris broke Price after the break, as the Ice Man missed three darts at double to hold his throw. The Welshman then missed three more in the next leg but this time was left off the hook, returning to miss two more before finally finding his target to break. He then consolidated it with a hold, to move 7-6 in front. Both players then held, to give Price an 8-7 lead going into the third break.
Norris’ scoring power appeared to desert him when the player’s returned and Price converted a chance at double top under very little pressure to break his opponent and go within two legs of the final.
It seemed to be catching and it was Price’s turn to score poorly in the seventeenth leg, allowing Norris to break back, before holding his throw under heavy pressure from the Welshman in the next leg, to level the score at 9-9.
Norris missed three darts to go within a leg of the final but Price produced another moment of magic, checking out 100 with two double tops to go 10-9 in front. This was a hammer blow for Norris and he never recovered, failing to find the crucial trebles he needed in what proved to be the final leg.
Price had left 96 after just nine darts but the nerves kicked in and he failed to get a shot at double. It didn’t matter, Norris wasn’t on a finish and Price returned to take out double 10, sealing his place in the final.