Price issues warning to rivals ahead of World Matchplay opener

Price has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in Blackpool

Gerwyn Price has issued a warning to his darting rivals as he prepares to get his Betfred World Matchplay campaign underway on Monday night.

The world number two begins his Blackpool bid against German debutant Martin Schindler on Monday, as the first round draws to a close at the Winter Gardens.

The Welshman made a bright start to the season, claiming International Darts Open glory in February, before doubling his tally with Players Championship Seven success.

He also landed a brace of nine-darters on the third night of the revamped Cazoo Premier League in Belfast, defeating James Wade to register his first of two nightly wins in the sport’s biggest roadshow.

However, Price suffered a fractured hand in March, and although he's since displayed glimpses of his irrepressible best, he has struggled for consistency.

“I haven’t been playing too well over the last few months, but in the last three or four weeks, the form seems to be coming back,” said the 2021 World Champion.

“When you’re really desperate for results, sometimes that rub of the green doesn’t go your way, so as soon as I get my form back, everything will fall into place.

“I think towards the end of the year the form will come back, I’ll find my feet again and people can look out.”

Despite his indifferent form, Price could regain the world number one spot following this year’s World Matchplay, as he trails defending champion Peter Wright by just £14,000.

Price enjoyed a 12-month spell at the sport’s summit courtesy of his World Championship triumph, but with over £600,000 in prize money to defend for the remainder of the year, he is under no illusions about the task facing him.

“In my head I’m still the best player in the world," insisted the Welshman.

“It’s going to be a tough year trying to defend ranking points at the World Grand Prix and the World Championship, but there’s no reason why I can’t.

“I’d love to get back to world number one and try and keep hold of it, but a fresh start for me in January is the main thing.”

Blackpool hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for the 37-year-old, who has failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals in seven previous World Matchplay appearances.

He will be buoyed by his recent record against Schindler however, having fired in a sensational 117.88 average to whitewash the diminutive German 4-0 at last month’s World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt.

“I always seem to find my best game against Martin,” continued Price, who will take on Dave Chisnall or Kim Huybrechts if he defeats Schindler in round one.

"I played against Peter Wright in the Grand Slam final, and I think after 15 legs I was averaging 114, so there’s no reason why I can’t average those sorts of numbers over a longer distance.

“I want to win every major this year,” added the second seed, who is bidding to become the sixth player in PDC history to win both the World Championship and the World Matchplay.

“The World Matchplay is the second biggest ranking event of the whole calendar, so to win that one would be special.

“I need to play my A-game all the way through if I want to win it, because everybody is playing well, and anybody can beat anybody these days.

“I’m on the practice board, I’m playing well and I’m looking forward to Monday night.”

The tournament is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV (excluding UK, Germany, Austria & Switzerland based subscribers).

2022 Betfred World Matchplay
Schedule of Play
Monday July 18 (1900 BST)
4x First Round

Rob Cross v Chris Dobey
Jose de Sousa v Gabriel Clemens
Gerwyn Price v Martin Schindler
Dave Chisnall v Kim Huybrechts