CAN PRICE REMAIN IN IMPERIOUS FORM – OR CAN ASPINALL STEP UP?

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2023 CAZOO PREMIER LEAGUE – NIGHT NINE PREVIEW

The 2023 Cazoo Premier League roadshow rolls into Berlin on Thursday, as Gerwyn Price bids to continue his blistering form by securing a third consecutive nightly victory.

Price has claimed back-to-back wins in Nottingham and Newcastle to reduce Michael van Gerwen’s lead at the summit to seven points, dispatching the Dutchman with a majestic display on Tyneside.

Price’s 114.96 average in last week’s final was the highest in the Premier League since 2017, and the Welshman continued his winning run to triumph at the European Darts Open on Sunday.

The 38-year-old posted averages of 109, 110 and 106 en route to glory, defeating his Premier League rivals Michael Smith and Van Gerwen in lifting his first ranking title of 2023 in Leverkusen.

Price currently boasts an eight-point lead over fifth-placed Chris Dobey ahead of Night Nine, as the 2021 World Champion targets Play-Off qualification for the first time in five appearances.

“Winning breeds confidence and I’m really looking forward to Berlin this week,” said Price, who will play Peter Wright in his quarter-final tie at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

“I’ve had a tough time in the Premier League over the last few years, but this year it’s been great and long may it continue. The crowd are supporting me, I’m winning and I’m enjoying it a lot more.

“I have finished fifth twice and never made the Play-Offs, so whether I finish top of the table I don’t mind, I just want to make the top four and give myself a chance of lifting that trophy.

“I’ve not qualified yet, so I’m on my game, I’m focused every single week and I want to keep picking up points.”

Wright, meanwhile, is languishing at the bottom of the table on just two points, although his solitary victory in this year’s campaign came against Price on Night Six in Liverpool.

In the last four, Price or Wright will take on the winner of Thursday’s third quarter-final between reigning champion Van Gerwen and last year’s table-topper Jonny Clayton.

Van Gerwen has featured in five of the eight nightly finals in 2023, winning all three of his meetings against 2021 champion Clayton in this year’s event.

The Dutch superstar is bidding to top the league phase for the ninth time in his Premier League career, while Clayton is aiming to get his campaign back on track following a run of three straight defeats.

Elsewhere, fresh from his memorable homecoming in Newcastle, Chris Dobey will take on Nathan Aspinall, who moved up to third following his dramatic quarter-final success against Dimitri Van den Bergh last week.

Aspinall – competing in his third Premier League campaign – has won six of his eight quarter-final ties so far, and the Stockport star is relishing his first appearance in the German capital.

“It’s amazing. This is what dreams are made of,” admitted Aspinall, who also finished third in the league phase back in 2020 and 2021.

“The crowds are massive. Newcastle last week was electric. We’ve had a few that have been absolutely spine-tingling and Berlin is one that I’ve really looked forward to.

“I’ve been out and had a look at the arena. Wow – it’s huge! I sometimes think: ‘Little old Nathan from Stockport, how am I here?’

“I’m really looking forward to playing Chris. I had a great game against him in Liverpool last time out. I’m sure it will be another fantastic game tomorrow night and hopefully I come out on top.

“I’m third at the moment without playing at my best, but I’ve had some time to recharge my batteries, so now I’m looking forward to a big end to the season.”

Meanwhile, in the evening’s opener, Van den Bergh will take on World Champion Smith in a repeat of Glasgow’s Night Three final.

Smith has slipped to fourth following back-to-back quarter-final defeats to Dobey, but a third consecutive victory over Van den Bergh will see him cement his place in the top four.

The Belgian is three points adrift of Smith in sixth position following last week’s defeat to Aspinall, despite boasting the third highest tournament average across the opening eight weeks.

The 2023 Cazoo Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN, Viaplay and VTM, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2023 Cazoo Premier League

Night Nine – Thursday March 30

Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin

Quarter-Finals

Dimitri Van den Bergh v Michael Smith

Nathan Aspinall v Chris Dobey

Jonny Clayton v Michael van Gerwen

Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price

Semi-Finals

Van den Bergh/Smith v Aspinall/Dobey

Clayton/Van Gerwen v Wright/Price

Final

     v

All matches best of 11 legs

Photo credit Taylor Lanning/PDC

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