Maiden TV final for wonderful Wright

Tearful Peter Wright ended his wait for a televised title with a brilliant triumph in the Coral UK Open, defeating Gerwyn Price 11-6 in last night’s final.

Wright had been defeated by Michael van Gerwen in the final at the Butlins Minehead Resort for the past two years, but finally lifted the trophy and took home a £70,000 first prize following a brilliant weekend.

The world number three produced some exceptional darts, not least his 110 average in a 10-8 quarter-final victory over Raymond van Barneveld.

Wright also produced a clinical 144 checkout in moving 4-1 up as he took command of his semi-final against Daryl Gurney, which he secured with an 11-5 victory before seeing off Price in the decider.

Finishes of 110 and 104 helped Wright into an early 3-0 lead, and he extended that to 7-2 before Wright claimed four of the next five to rally and reduce the gap to 8-6.

A key 86 checkout from Wright, however, proved crucial as he regained a three-leg cushion before he punished missed doubles from Price to lead 10-6, and an 85 finish on the bull finally saw him claim glory.

Wright – who averaged 100 in the final and 101 for the tournament – emotionally lifted the trophy in front of a capacity 4,000 crowd at the Butlins Minehead Resort, and said: “I feels great to win my first one.

“The fans have given me fantastic support, not just this year but also for the last two years.

“The game against Barney was one of the best games I’ve ever played against anybody. He kept coming back at me and it must have made great TV.

“Hats off to Gerwyn Price too because what he’s done in darts so far is brilliant. He’s a great guy and he’s going to go a lot further.

“I don’t want to put a downer on it, we had no Michael here and no Phil Taylor, but I still had the pressure of being favourite when you had Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis and all the other fantastic players in the tournament.

“It was a lot of pressure and I was happy just to get to the final, three years on the trot in one of the hardest tournaments. To win it is brilliant.”

Emerging Welsh star Price won through to the first televised final of his career in a memorable weekend in Somerset, and took home £35,000 as runner-up.

Wins over Justin Pipe, David Pallett and Rileys Amateur Qualifier Paul Hogan moved Price into Sunday’s final stages, where he snatched a dramatic quarter-final win over Ian White with a 160 finish in the deciding leg.

He then defeated Alan Norris 11-9 in a tight semi-final, with a 100 finish of two double tops proving a huge moment in leg 19 as he secured his spot in the final.

“It was my first TV final and it means a lot to me,” said Price. “I was a bit nervous up there, but Peter has played brilliantly all weekend and he was the deserved winner.

“It’s given me a lot of confidence and it’s good to have a good run. Sometimes on the stage I try too hard and try to put too much effort in and put too much pressure on myself.

“Against Justin I played really well and it stemmed from there. I think if I played half as well as I did against Justin and Paul Hogan in the final maybe I’d have had a better chance.

“There was one turning point where Peter took out 86 and I was on 83, and maybe at the break if I was 8-7 down it’s a different game, but at 9-6 in first to 11 it’s tough to claw back.”

Gurney had won five matches since starting in Friday afternoon’s second round as he reached his third PDC televised semi-final, with the others having come in 2015 at the Players Championship Finals and World Cup of Darts.

The Northern Irish ace had seen off Simon Whitlock with a superb comeback in the quarter-finals, but was unable to repeat the feat against world number three Wright in the last four.

“Fair play to Peter,” said Gurney. “What separates the men from the boys was his finishing, and week-in week-out playing on TV in the Premier League like he does showed there. That’s where I need to improve and that’s where the standard.

“It’s a good weekend and any semi-final in the PDC shows that you’re getting there. I’m glad to get to the semi-final, but you do want to get to the final and see how you get on.

“I know what I have to do to improve, and it’s a matter of doing it and making sure I do it week-in week-out and try to beat top 16 players at every chance I can.”

Norris was appearing in his first PDC televised semi-final, but was unable to follow up his brilliant 10-9 quarter-final win over Kim Huybrechts with another triumph as Price edged him out.

Bo’ness-based Norris reflected: “I won the first Players Championship last weekend and got to the semis here so it’s all looking good and it’s been a great start to the year

“You’ve got to work for your achievements, so I’ll keep working at it but I’m going in the right direction.”

Coral UK Open
Sunday March 5
Afternoon Session
Alan Norris 10-9 Kim Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Ian White
Daryl Gurney 10-9 Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright 10-8 Raymond van Barneveld

Evening Session
Gerwyn Price 11-9 Alan Norris
Peter Wright 11-5 Daryl Gurney

Peter Wright 11-6 Gerwyn Price

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