World Series Finals Diary: Day 3

It was still raining at day 3 of the 2022 World Series of Darts Finals, while Amsterdam was even more busy than usual because of a running contest! As busy as Amsterdam itself was though, as quiet were both the press room and the venue.

Even half an hour before the action started, the venue was not even half filled. Eventually though, it turned out people just wanted to sleep a little longer as when the first game got started, the Afas Live was a lot fuller.

That first game, was Joe Cullen against Gerwyn Price. For the second day in a row, it was a poor performance from Cullen who still managed to make it a close one! With Price averaging almost 30 points higher, Cullen was only 2-3 down! Eventually it was Price to win the contest 10-8, fair play to ‘The Rockstar’ though, averaging almost 10 points lower and only losing 8-10 is quite an achievement!

I then immediately went downstairs and entered the vip section for the Dirk van Duijvenbode walk-on. I find his walk-on ‘music’ absolutely horrible but in the venue itself it’s such an impressive walk-on! When I walked back to the press room, a door opened and John McDonald came out of it saying ‘hi buddy!’ We had a nice chat, and then it was time for the darts as ‘Aubergenius’ took on the underdog Ryan Joyce, and this turned out to be another close one.

Both players were good in holding their own legs, although Joyce missed quite a lot of darts at double to break the Van Duijvenbode throw. At 8-8 however, Joyce finally managed to break throw after the players missed a total of 23 darts at double, which is the second most doubled missed in one leg of PDC darts this year!! However, Van Duijvenbode then broke throw himself, and won the decider to the delight of the Dutch crowd who for a change weren’t behaving too badly this game!

QF number three was Michael Smith versus James Wade, a game which went pretty fast: Wade typically hit basically every checkout he aimed at, while Smith couldn’t buy a double and ‘The Machine’ had an easy 10-3 victory! The last game of the afternoon was Jonny Clayton against Dutch number one Michael van Gerwen.

Clayton started incredibly, but MVG managed to stay with him and only be 2-3 down in the first commercial break. However, Clayton then totally collapsed and in the second session only averaged 78, but somehow still managed to win a leg as it was a 6-4 lead for crowd favourite Michael van Gerwen! After a poor second part of the game, Clayton then went absolutely insane though and as a result of that, he won 5 legs on the spin to take a 9-6 lead. The Welshman eventually won this weird game 10-6, and the afternoon session was finished around 45 minutes earlier than expected.

After buying something to eat for dinner at the local supermarket, I then went to a sports shop nearby, only to find out the darts stuff they were selling was completely crap! Before the evening session started, I wanted to interview a fan who at least had some darts knowledge and found my twitter friend Wilco hiding for the rain next to the pizzeria.

It was a great interview (which you can watch with English translation on the twitter of Darts World), but unfortunately, there was more and more rain, so I rushed my way back inside.

Back in the press room, I sat next to Dan Dawson who recognized me from twitter. I then ate a yoghurt next to Dan Dawson, which was something I did not expect to happen in my entire life! As the venue was getting filled, it was time for finals night, starting with Price against Wade.

The Machine has a great record against The Iceman, and it looked like Wade would be winning again when he led the game 5-6. Price, however, won 5 legs on the spin for 10-6, and managed to win it 11-6 to reach the final and prevent Wade from reaching a Grand Slam spot!

The second semi-final is what the sold-out venue was waiting for though: Jonny Clayton, defending champion, took on Dirk van Duijvenbode, a crowd favourite! It was a tense semi-final all the way until 7-7, when Van Duijvenbode won 4 of the last 5 legs to win it 11-8! While waiting for the final, Dan Dawson and Chris Mason had an interesting conversation about the fact we don’t have a dominant force in darts anymore, which they also had been discussing in the press room earlier on Sunday.

A final between the World Number One and the crowd favourite, what else can you wish for? And what a final we got, it was incredibly close and every time DVD was threatening to break the Price throw, Price took out a massive check-out to break the heart of the booing crowd.

Eventually, it all went down to a deciding leg, which Van Duijvenbode was allowed to start. It was Gerwyn Price however who took out a 90 finish in two darts to pick up his second World Series Finals title!

The crowd was a bit disappointed, for the third time in 3 PDC events in The Netherlands a Dutchman had lost the final, and the Dutch media didn’t enjoy the result either, as eventually, it were just 2 people who wanted to interview the winner.

While waiting for Price we could hear a disappointed and frustrated Dirk van Duijvenbode talk to Viaplay in the room next to us, making me realize once more that it’s a bit stupid to interview players only minutes after they lost such an important game.

Interviewing Gerwyn Price who just won his 9th tv title was much more fun though, as he said it probably was his experience that got him through that final.

Even after winning a big event, the world number one can still see room for improvement though, as he said that averaging 95 minimum every single game in this event wasn’t too impressive for himself, and he wants to do even better!

It was a great victory in the final though, as the crowd made it difficult for him, even though he did not seem impressed at all.

After saying goodbye to the rest of the media guys, I walked outside and saw Gerwyn and his wife next to their car, with a group of Welsh fans who wanted to take pictures!

After the fans got what they wanted, the champion drove back to his beloved Wales, with just another title under his belt. Even the rain had stopped by now, what a great event that was!

—–ENDS——

Words: Wim Blokpoel

Images: Kelly Deckers / PDC

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