Gerwyn Price insists his ‘confidence is back’ as he bids to round off his debut Down Under with victory in this weekend’s TAB New Zealand Darts Masters in Hamilton.
Price will take on DPNZ number one Ben Robb in an intriguing first round tussle at Hamilton’s Globox Arena on Friday night, as he eyes a first World Series tour title.
The Welshman has produced a string of impressive performances in August’s Oceanic treble-header, and he admits it’s been an experience worth waiting for.
“I’m over the moon to have had the chance to come to Australia and New Zealand,” Price told SENZ’s At The Oche.
“I was absolutely gutted when things were put on hold and we couldn’t come down [two years ago], but it’s a real privilege to be here and it’s great to have the family with me.
“The fans were fantastic for me in Wollongong and I’m hoping for the same in Hamilton.”
Ahead of this weekend’s action, Price was joined by his World Cup partner Jonny Clayton for a visit to Gallagher Chiefs’ Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Price enjoyed spells at Welsh Premier Division sides Neath and Cross Keys, while also featuring for Glasgow Warriors and South Wales Scorpions before calling time on his professional career in 2014.
“I always wanted to play rugby for Wales,” said Price, who guided Cross Keys to Challenge Cup glory in 2012.
“It is something I dreamed of from a young age. I never reached those heights, but to come down here and meet these players, it’s a dream of mine.
“It’s crazy that you’re halfway around the world and people still recognise you. Even over in England and Europe, I still find it a bit surreal.
“I feel like I’m just me, so to come to the other side of the world and still get recognised, I’m pinching myself, but it’s a nice feeling.”
The world number one enjoyed a return to form by reaching the World Matchplay final last month, and although he’s yet to claim a title Down Under, he’s maintained his upward trajectory.
Price defeated Australian trio Damon Heta, Simon Whitlock & Gordon Mathers to reach the final in Queensland a fortnight ago, before firing in his second highest televised average of 109.98 in Wollongong.
“My confidence is definitely back. I played really well last weekend,” said the 37-year-old, who whitewashed Koha Kokiri and Fallon Sherrock in reaching the semi-finals in New South Wales.
“I slipped up a little bit against James Wade, but if you give James any chances he will take them.
“He pings out a 140 finish in the first leg and then I’m under pressure from the word go.
“My confidence is there though. I’m in a much better place than I was two months ago, and I’m ready to go.”
The TAB New Zealand Darts Masters will be held on August 26-27 at the Globox Arena in Hamilton. Limited tickets are still available here.
TAB New Zealand Darts Masters
Schedule of Play
Friday August 26 (1900 local time, 0800 BST)
Jonny Clayton v Mal Cuming
Joe Cullen v Damon Heta
James Wade v Gordon Mathers
Fallon Sherrock v Kayden Milne
Michael Smith v Warren Parry
Michael van Gerwen v Bernie Smith
Gerwyn Price v Ben Robb
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Simon Whitlock
Best of 11 legs