Gerwyn Price produced an astonishing performance to dispatch Michael van Gerwen 6-1 and secure back-to-back Cazoo Premier League victories with a memorable Night Eight success in Newcastle on Thursday.
Price travelled to Tyneside having celebrated victory in Nottingham last week, and he continued his blistering form to reduce Van Gerwen’s lead at the Premier League summit to seven points.
The Welshman produced an astronomical 114.96 average – the highest of this year’s competition – to clinch his third nightly victory of the campaign, after he also claimed the spoils on Night Two in Cardiff.
Price came through an all-Welsh affair in his Night Eight opener against Jonny Clayton, punishing a below-par display from his World Cup partner to cruise to a 6-1 win.
The 38-year-old then ended the hopes of hometown hero Chris Dobey in the semi-finals, defying a late rally from the Bedlington thrower to triumph in a repeat of Nottingham’s Night Seven showpiece.
However, Price upped the ante with an extraordinary display in the final against the Dutchman, to deny the league leader a fourth nightly victory in the space of five weeks.
The 2021 World Champion capitalised on early errors from Van Gerwen to establish a 2-0 cushion, before reeling off three straight legs in 12, 13 and ten darts to move to the brink of victory.
Van Gerwen suffered the first whitewash defeat of his Premier League career against Dobey last week, and Price looked poised to repeat the feat, only to wire a match dart at tops in leg six.
The three-time World Champion pinned double ten to open his account, although Price responded magnificently, landing his second ten-darter of the tie to wrap up proceedings in style – achieving the Premier League’s highest match average since 2017 in the process.
“I’ve played really well over the last few weeks,” reflected Price, who is now eight points clear of fifth-placed Dobey.
“It’s nice when you can play like that, particularly against Michael, because you need those type of performances to win.
“I’m grateful it happened in the final. I slipped up once and Michael won the leg. I just wish I won 6-0!
“I’m in a good position, but every night is worth five points, so with this format, it’s not over yet.
“Every time you’re winning you are enjoying it. You get momentum, you get confidence and hopefully it continues, but there’s a long way to go yet.”
Van Gerwen was unable to extend his lead at the top of the table, but wins over Peter Wright and Nathan Aspinall saw him seal a spot in his fifth nightly final of the campaign.
The 33-year-old converted a spectacular 150 checkout to edge out Wright in Thursday’s opening quarter-final, before posting a ton-plus average in a whitewash win over Aspinall.
The evening’s other quarter-finals saw Dobey produce a terrific comeback to defeat world number one Michael Smith, much to the delight of the partisan home crowd at the Utilita Arena.
Dobey received an incredible reception as he made his entrance to Newcastle United anthem “Local Hero”, before raising the roof with a spectacular 137 checkout in the opening leg.
Smith recovered to lead 3-1, but Dobey wasn’t to be denied on home soil, winning five of the last six legs to record a 6-4 success over the World Champion for the second week in succession.
Meanwhile, Aspinall ended his darting hoodoo against Dimitri Van den Bergh, averaging 101 and landing seven 180s to prevail in a dramatic last-leg decider.
Van den Bergh missed a match dart at the bull in the closing stages and Aspinall capitalised to cement his position in the top four and register his first victory over the Belgian in 11 meetings.
The Cazoo Premier League roadshow continues on Thursday March 30 with Night Nine at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, as Price begins his bid for a third straight nightly win against Wright.
Elsewhere, Van Gerwen faces Clayton, Aspinall plays Dobey, while Van den Bergh and Smith collide in the evening’s opener.