Well, what a few months since my sofa sojourn. We had a fabulous World Grand Prix, preceded by an abundance of tournaments including Gibraltar which saw a very in-form ‘Iceman’ whitewash Mensur Suljovic in the final. Was Price ready for the Grand Prix big time!
A very determined Fallon Sherrock booked her Grand Slam debut after her 3rd Women’s Series title. Although Lisa Ashton had also won three titles, the fact that Fallon had two runner-ups and Lisa one, sealed her place in the Grand Slam.
The World Grand Prix had its 1st time at the Morningside Arena, Leicester and what a smashing tournament it was, with some mouth-watering matches.
It was so good to have the crowds back again, making a fabulous atmosphere in the Arena. They were not disappointed either with the shocks and excitement of the 1st round that saw swift exits for MVG, WRIGHT, ANDERSON.
An all Welsh final dawned with reigning World Champ and World No.1 Gerwyn Price against his World Cup-winning pairs partner Jonny Clayton. Jonny walked away with an emphatic 5 sets to 1 win.
With the PDC calendar in full flow, it was off to Salzburg, Austria for the European Championships Finals. Another full crowd, who were lively and vocal, giving it that magic feel that we have been missing. A terrific weekend of darts again with another TV title on the line.
The final, CROSS v MVG was a belter. Cross winning 11-8, and his 1st PDC title in 2 years, capping an amazing day of darts.
Off to Amsterdam next, for the World Series Finals. The Dutch crowd were treated to, yet again to a weekend of top-quality competition. Johnny Clayton dominated the action, came from behind in the latest all-welsh battle with Gerwyn Price and went home with yet another TV title after an 11-6 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh.
The Grand Slam in Wolverhampton, a 3rd TV tournament in it seems as many weeks, but this is what we want and craver for. This Tournament is for sure, one of the most popular with the players and fans, and always creates some history and excitement. None more than the very talented Fallon Sherrock, making the knockout stages and that with a 170 shot out to win the match to beat Gabrielle Clemens. It really does make good TV. Finals day saw World Champion Gerwyn Price pick up his 3rd Grand Prix victory beating Snakebite 16-8.
Not stopping there, Players Championship Finals at Butlins, Minehead played on 2 stages over 3 days. Always a tough one to call, but this close to the World Championships, it gives an idea as to who is in form. After 2 and half days of play we were down to our finalists, Ryan Searle and Snakebite Peter Wright. What another final it was, ‘Snakebite’ beating ‘Heavy Metal’ Searle 11-10, unreal.
Our next stop is THE ALLY PALLY. I cannot wait, we have 17 days of darts over 3 weeks or so, with the very best in the world. 96 players battling it out for the greatest prize in the game. We have had a look at the tournaments leading up to the Worlds. Can you see who is in form? There will always be surprises and shocks, upsets and records.
Who is your favourite to take the title? Price, Clayton, MVG, Wright, Anderson or Wade? I could keep going and still could not pick the winner. It will definitely be an incredible 3 weeks, with a worthy winner come January 3rd, 2022.
All stay safe and well, have a lovely Christmas and New Year, hope to meet up with a lot of you at the Ally Pally. Until the next time, enjoy the greatest show on earth.
Russ Bray, PDC referee. In association with Unicorn and William Hill.
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