Gerwyn Price became the inaugural Hungarian Darts Trophy winner on the back of an impressive 8-2 win over Michael Smith on Sunday 5th September. He picked up his fourth PDC European Tour title at the final in Budapest.
The PDC's first landing in Hungary was pretty successful, with folks coming to witness the events in droves. The Papp Laszlo Arena, which hosted a crowd of 4,500 for Sunday's final, facilitated three days of darts action overall.
Gerwyn Price was playing a massive deal for the fans, who watched the Welsh sensation put in remarkable performances against Luke Humphries in the semi-finals and then against Smith in the final to earn the £25,000 title.
The 36-year-old, also known as "The Iceman," is the first player who hails from Wales to win the PDC World Darts Championship, having done so this year. A former professional rugby player, Price ranks at No.1 in the world following the aforementioned victory that saw him usurp Michael van Gerwen in the world rankings. Price found his way into the top 32 on the PDC Order of Merit back in 2016 and would win his first Pro Tour accolade shortly after.
He was the runner-up at the UK Open the following year, his first finals appearance at a major event. The Markham-born pro has been involved in the Premier League Darts Tournament three times, finishing 10th in 2018 and 5th in 2019 and 2020. His first major win came about pretty controversially at the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts tournament; he successfully defended the title the following year.
However, the weekend affair wasn't without its challenges, as he missed a double 12 for a nine-darter in his first game on Saturday. But he did manage to make it to the last four with competent displays against Damon Heta and Brendan Dolan.
Price averaged over 107 in that part of the tournament and served Humphries some bitter disappointment given the latter's hopes of making it to a European Tour final for the first time. Humphries suffered a 7-4 defeat built on a 134 checkout after three 11-darters which helped Price out to a 6-1 lead.
The Welshman took his form onto the final and would open with consecutive 12-darters, with the second highlighted by a 130 bull finish. Smith went level in the next two legs as Price missed doubles. However, the lead was recaptured via another 12-darter. It then paved the way for four straight 14-dart legs, which gave a 7-2 lead for Price.
The former rugby player kept things up in the next leg, albeit missing three match darts. Smith, though, failed to take advantage of the misses and would rue the forsaken opportunities as Price pinned double 10 to win the trophy and become its first-ever holder. It will be interesting to see what he does next, and a YouWager review would likely be lots of help should fans want to bet on his prospects in the upcoming World Cup of Darts.
"To pick up the trophy in the first time here is fantastic," Price said after a resounding victory which left him £25,000 richer. "Michael played fantastic in the whole tournament - I was scraping through and played my best stuff in the semi-final and final, so I'm thankful for that."
"It's good to have crowds back," he added. "I appreciate the support today, and everyone's been fantastic. Playing behind closed doors is not the same, without the same darts isn't darts, but thankfully [they're] all back."
Smith was hopeful of making it a fifth European Tour win, which would have been his first scoop since 2017. But he will be heading home with a cheque of £10,000 that softens the blow just a tad.
Up and coming star Keane Barry was the victim of a defeat against Smith in the third round on Sunday, and the Brit followed that up with wins over Peter Wright, the current World Matchplay champ, and Grand Slam Champion Jose de Sousa.
The exploits landed him in the final, but he could not produce a similar performance against Price, who he says was too difficult to play on the day.
"He was relentless - it's hard to break down when someone's not missing," he said. "He was fantastic against Luke and again in the final."
As mentioned above, Price played pro rugby before taking up darts. He was part of the squads in Welsh Premier League outfits Neath and Cross Keys, playing as a hooker. He was also involved in rugby league with the South Wales Scorpions. There was a brief stint with the Glasgow Warriors, a Pro12 side, as an injury cover for the team's starters before he closed the curtains on his métier so he could play darts full time.
Price began playing darts for local team Markham Welfare before moving on to the Super League to play for Aberbargoed. He was advised to enter Qualifying School to join the PDC by another Welsh pro, Barrie Bates, and things have worked out pretty well.