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Van den Bergh denies Price as Ratajski also reaches World Matchplay Semi-Finals

Price calls for “respect” from the crowd as he bids for World Matchplay glory

Jamie Shaw in World Matchplay 22 Jul 2021
Gerwyn Price looks on (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gerwyn Price has called for the crowd to show him more “respect” as he continues his pursuit of a maiden World Matchplay title.

The world number one finds himself in the Quarter-Finals of the Betfred World Matchplay for the first time since his debut appearance in 2015.

The Welsh ace has picked up four televised titles within the last 12 months, including the World Grand Prix and World Championship, and has looked in ominous form so far this week.

Price began his campaign with a 10-4 rout of Jermaine Wattimena before reeling off eight consecutive legs to seal an 11-3 demolition of his World Cup winning team-mate Jonny Clayton.

Price, who missed out on the Premier League due to a positive Covid test, has received a frosty reception from the Blackpool crowd in his first appearance back in a sell-out venue.

The reigning World Champion admits the boos are “pantomime”, but has called for the fans to show him the respect he feels his achievements warrant.

“They were pretty poor to start with but I sort of shut them up,” Price said after his win over Clayton.

“It obviously annoys me but it makes me player a little bit better. I’m not saying I want it week in, week out, but it makes me concentrate.

“It’s tough enough playing the best players in the world but to have the crowd on your back is extra pressure but I seem to be dealing with it alright.

“Some of the crowd today probably hadn’t even been to the darts they just join in anyway.

“It’s not too bad but maybe a bit of respect now and then wouldn’t hurt.

“I think they do respect what I’ve done, it’s a bit more pantomime and they’re just doing it for a litle bit of fun, but sometimes it’s not fun.”

Price now faces defending champion Dimitri van den Bergh in a mouth-watering Quarter-Final on Thursday and is confident he can end the Belgian’s unbeaten record in the competition.

He added: “I’ve put a message in my own head that I’m playing well, I’m back and I’m there to be feared now.

“I was here to win it from day one but I didn’t know which one of me would turn up but I know now that I’m back, they can all look out.

“I was rusty over the last eight tournaments but today [Wednesday] I was clinical and I’m more confident than ever.

“They need to play really well to beat me.

“This is probably the next best tournament other than the Worlds so I’m happy to be World Champion and to pick this one up as well would prove I am the best in the world.

“I’m not worried what people think as long as I believe in my own head. I know what the players think, so that’s all that matters.”

Price also responded strongly to Peter Wright’s claims that he WILL win both the World Matchplay and World Championship this year, laughing off the Scot’s chances.

“Peter’s playing rubbish, he’s “going to win the Worlds” he’s “going to win this” but he’s won nothing really,” offered Price. “He’s won a couple of ProTours.

“I’m not worried about Peter, I’m not worried about Michael [Van Gerwen], I’m only worried about myself.

“Talk is cheap, you’ve just got to do it on the board.”