World number one Gerwyn Price has been ruled out of the 2021 Premier League Darts season after testing positive for Covid-19.
As with all players and officials, Price was tested on arrival at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on Sunday before heading to his hotel room to await the test result.
It was confirmed that the reigning World Champion had returned a positive test result and as such will now return home to enter a period of self-isolation in line with government guidelines.
Price has been replaced in the field for the 17-night major by reigning UK Open champion James Wade – who was on standby at the venue.
Wade was the next highest-ranked player from the PDC Order of Merit not previously selected for the 2021 Premier League and will now make his eleventh appearance in the competition.
Wade claimed the Premier League title in 2009 and was a beaten finalist in 2008 and 2010.
The Aldershot left-hander will now take on Gary Anderson on Night One on Easter Monday before facing Rob Cross on Tuesday evening.
All other players and officials tested on Sunday returned negative test results.
The entire tournament is to be staged behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena, with the first half held across two blocks – from April 5-9 and 19-22 – as players face each other once in the league phase, before the bottom two are eliminated following Judgement Night.
Nights 10-12 will be staged from May 5-7, with Nights 13-16 then being held from Monday May 24 to Thursday May 27.
The Play-Offs, which feature the top four players from the league table contesting the Semi-Finals and final, will then take place on Friday May 28.
James Wade clinched his third UK Open title in as many decades with an 11-5 victory over Luke Humphries in the final in Milton Keynes.
Having initially won the UK Open in Bolton in 2008 and 2011, Wade ended a ten-year wait for his hat-trick by denying 26-year-old Humphries his first major title.
A memorable weekend for ‘The Machine’ saw him average 99.7 for the tournament, including a 102.5 average in the final, sealing the £100,000 top prize.
Wade’s success sees him join Phil Taylor in winning televised PDC titles across three decades and means he becomes only the third player in PDC history to enter double figures of televised trophies.
His first major triumph since November 2018 was secured with a typically clinical display in the final against Humphries – who knocked out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen in the semis with a magnificent display but was unable to repeat the feat in the decider.
Experience won the day as Wade made the former World Youth Champion pay for 20 missed darts at doubles in a one-sided affair.
“To win TV titles across three decades is something I’m very proud of,” said Wade. “I’m enjoying it again, I think I’ve reinvented myself.
“I’m very happy to be in the world of darts, it’s a great place to be when you’re winning.
“I’m here to provide stability for my son and winning these allows me to do that.
“Luke is quality, he’s a gentleman and he showed his quality in the way he dismantled Michael [van Gerwen] in the semi-finals.
“I always knew I’d win more. The way they [the PDC] select things gave me the kick up the backside I needed to prove a point.”
In reaching the final, Wade was at his unflappable best in defeating world number one Gerwyn Price 11-6 in the Last Four, having produced a 10-8 comeback win over Simon Whitlock in the afternoon’s Quarter-Finals.
Wade’s route to the title began with a scare from Ryan Joyce in Round Four as he came through a last-leg decider, before defeating Rob Cross and Germany’s Gabriel Clemens on Saturday.
Despite coming up short in his first televised final, World Youth Champion Humphries enjoyed a landmark weekend and produced a sensational 107.4 average in his 11-5 Semi-Final scalp of Van Gerwen.
Humphries, who edged out Dave Chisnall 10-9 in the Quarter-Finals, pockets the £40,000 runners-up prize moves up eight places to 33rd on the PDC Order of Merit.
“It’s been an incredible weekend for me, an emotional weekend,” he reflected.
“To reach a TV final is the most unbelievable feeling. I think James is the best player in the world under pressure and he showed it in that game.
“I’m here to achieve big things in darts and this run puts me in good stead going forward.
“I want to be playing the best players week-in, week-out. I know I’ve got the game to do it. Tonight it wasn’t my night, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”
The UK Open reached its climax on Sunday after 151 players started out at the Marshall Arena on Friday.
South Africa’s Devon Petersen reached the Quarter-Finals for the first time since 2015, while Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski made it to the Last Eight for the first time before losing out to Van Gerwen.
Sunday March 7
Simon Whitlock 8-10 James Wade
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Devon Petersen
Dave Chisnall 9-10 Luke Humphries
Krzysztof Ratajski 7-10 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 11-6 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 11-5 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 11-5 Luke Humphries
James Wade secured his first ranking title of the season with victory at Players Championship 12, thrashing Rob Cross 8-2 in the final.
The world number nine opened his account for 2020 in the fourth PDC Summer Series event of the week in Milton Keynes and was rarely threatened on a day of dominance.
Cross had coasted into the final with a nine-darter in his Semi-Final win over Mensur Suljovic but was forced to settled for second prize as Wade reeled off six straight legs in the final.
“It’s been a really good day and I enjoyed it,” said Wade. “It’s been up and down for the last three days but I think in my last four games I played really well and my finishing has been good all day.
“It’s nice to get back into it and go to work. It’s been wonderful spending time with my family but I knew I had to come back to work and today is why we do it – it’s a lovely feeling.
“I know I can win and it’s not a new thing for me. There’s some tremendous players and I’m one of the fortunate ones to still be about after 20 years of playing.
“I’ve been doing it for a long time but I’m still keen, I can still win and make the other younger players work.
“If the right James Wade turns up, I win majors left, right and centre.”
Wade began the day strongly with a 102.5 average in a 6-0 whitewash of Mike van Duivenbode before overcoming Austria’s Harald Leitinger 6-3.
He then averaged 99.5 in a 6-3 triumph over Jeffrey de Zwaan before coming through a high quality Last 16 show-down 6-4 against Aspinall in which both players averaged 102.
Wade’s rampant run continued with a 6-0 Quarter-Final whitewash of Premier League star Michael Smith with a 98 average, before seeing off Ian White 7-4 in the Semis with high checkouts of 158 and 136.
The first four legs of the final were shared as Cross fired in finishes of 101 and 108 but Wade gained the crucial breakthrough with a 108 checkout of his own to lead 4-2.
A stunning 156 checkout saw the left-hander extend his lead to 6-2, before double ten guided him to the verge of victory – which he duly sealed in the following leg.
Cross had earlier landed the 16th PDC nine-darter of 2020 as he followed up successive 180s by taking out 141 with the unique combination of treble 19, treble 16 and double 18 to record his third perfect leg.
The 2018 World Champion went on to win the Semi-Final 7-2 with a 110 average, following up earlier ton-plus averages against Jitse van der Wal and Jamie Hughes.
He also battled past Danny Noppert and Callan Rydz in a deciding leg and overcame four-time Women’s World Champion Lisa Ashton during his run to a first final of the year.
Suljovic reached his first semi-final of 2020, opening the day with a 108.6 average to defeat Richard North and also battling past Premier League ace Daryl Gurney among five high-quality wins.
White had been aiming to follow up March’s Players Championship Eight win with a second success of 2020, and defeated Premier League leader Glen Durrant as well as Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski in his run to the last four.
Gurney followed up Friday’s Semi-Final with a run to the last eight on Saturday, where he was joined by Ratajski, Michael Smith and Jamie Hughes.
Michael van Gerwen’s bid to win a third event in four days was ended in round one with a shock 6-3 defeat to Joe Murnan, while world number three Gerwyn Price lost out to Rydz in the last 32 and World Champion Peter Wright was defeated by Smith in the Last 16.
The overall tournament average for Day Four was 93.8, which was a record since the DartConnect scoring system began being used on the PDC circuit, with 45 ton-plus averages being achieved in 127 games.
The race for Betfred World Matchplay qualification will conclude on Sunday following Day Five in Milton Keynes, with qualifying places via the ProTour Order of Merit still up for grabs.
The 16 seeded players to come from the PDC Order of Merit are now finalised, with world number 17 Stephen Bunting needing to reach at least the semi-finals on Sunday to stand a chance of forcing his way into the World Matchplay field.
Saturday July 11
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Derk Telnekes
Steve Brown 6-2 Adrian Gray
Ryan Searle 6-1 David Pallett
Callan Rydz 6-5 Matt Clark
Rob Cross 6-0 Jitse Van der Wal
Lisa Ashton 6-4 Adam Hunt
Danny Noppert 6-0 Geert Nentjes
Andrew Gilding 6-5 Vincent Van der Meer
Ryan Meikle 6-0 Joe Cullen
William O’Connor 6-3 Mike De Decker
Jamie Hughes 6-2 Graham Usher
Gary Blades 6-5 Gavin Carlin
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Ted Evetts
Max Hopp 6-4 Bradley Brooks
Gary Anderson 6-2 Scott Mitchell
Jason Lowe 6-3 Steve West
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Richard North
Andy Boulton 6-1 Nathan Rafferty
Luke Humphries 6-3 Steve Beaton
Martijn Kleermaker 6-4 Robert Collins
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Jonathan Worsley
Kai Fan Leung 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
Scott Baker 6-5 Jonny Clayton
William Borland 6-0 Barrie Bates
Joe Murnan 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Robert Thornton 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Simon Stevenson
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-2 Michael Barnard
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Mervyn King
Nathan Derry 6-4 Kirk Shepherd
Gabriel Clemens 6-1 James Hubbard
Devon Petersen 6-1 Harry Ward
Peter Wright 6-1 Martin Schindler
John Henderson 6-4 Ross Smith
Ricky Evans 6-5 Boris Krcmar
Steve Lennon 6-3 Arjan Konterman
Michael Smith 6-1 Ryan Murray
Niels Zonneveld 6-0 Ciaran Teehan
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Reece Robinson 6-3 Jan Dekker
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Alan Tabern
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Chris Dobey
Andy Hamilton (BYE) v Justin Pipe
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Matthew Edgar
James Wade 6-0 Mike van Duivenbode
Harald Leitinger 6-4 Josh Payne
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-4 Nick Kenny
Mickey Mansell 6-4 Luke Woodhouse
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Karel Sedlacek
Carl Wilkinson 6-3 Scott Waites
Keegan Brown 6-4 Darren Penhall
Mark McGeeney 6-2 Cameron Menzies
Jose De Sousa 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Madars Razma 6-3 Christian Bunse
Martin Atkins 6-4 Adrian Lewis
James Wilson 6-5 Aaron Beeney
Ian White 6-1 Ryan Hogarth
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Jamie Lewis
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Vincent van der Voort
Darren Webster 6-4 Conan Whitehead
Glen Durrant 6-4 Matthew Dennant
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Peter Jacques
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Jeff Smith
Wayne Jones 6-2 Krzysztof Kciuk
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Steve Brown
Callan Rydz 6-3 Ryan Searle
Rob Cross 6-2 Lisa Ashton
Danny Noppert 6-3 Andrew Gilding
Ryan Meikle 6-4 William O’Connor
Jamie Hughes 6-0 Gary Blades
Max Hopp 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Jason Lowe 6-3 Gary Anderson
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Andy Boulton
Martijn Kleermaker 6-5 Luke Humphries
Kai Fan Leung 6-1 Brendan Dolan
William Borland 6-4 Scott Baker
Robert Thornton 6-3 Joe Murnan
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Maik Kuivenhoven
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Nathan Derry
Devon Petersen 6-5 Gabriel Clemens
Peter Wright 6-0 John Henderson
Ricky Evans 6-4 Steve Lennon
Michael Smith 6-4 Niels Zonneveld
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Reece Robinson
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Benito van de Pas 6-4 Andy Hamilton
James Wade 6-3 Harald Leitinger
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Carl Wilkinson
Keegan Brown 6-2 Mark McGeeney
Jose De Sousa 6-5 Madars Razma
James Wilson 6-3 Martin Atkins
Ian White 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Darren Webster 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Glen Durrant 6-1 Stephen Bunting
Wayne Jones 6-2 Ryan Joyce
Callan Rydz 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Rob Cross 6-5 Danny Noppert
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Ryan Meikle
Jason Lowe 6-3 Max Hopp
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Martijn Kleermaker
Kai Fan Leung 6-2 William Borland
Robert Thornton 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Devon Petersen
Peter Wright 6-2 Ricky Evans
Michael Smith 6-4 Jermaine Wattimena
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Benito van de Pas
James Wade 6-3 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Keegan Brown
Jose De Sousa 6-4 James Wilson
Ian White 6-4 Darren Webster
Glen Durrant 6-1 Wayne Jones
Rob Cross 6-5 Callan Rydz
Jamie Hughes 6-1 Jason Lowe
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Kai Fan Leung
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Robert Thornton
Michael Smith 6-4 Peter Wright
James Wade 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Jose De Sousa
Ian White 6-4 Glen Durrant
Rob Cross 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Daryl Gurney
James Wade 6-0 Michael Smith
Ian White 6-1 Krzysztof Ratajski
Rob Cross 7-2 Mensur Suljovic *Cross hits nine-dart finish*
James Wade 7-4 Ian White
James Wade 8-2 Rob Cross
Multiple major champion James Wade has downed tools on the oche and headed to the garage in an effort to keep Britain’s key workers moving during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wade, a qualified mechanic, is now working in his Aldershot-based garage to help keep NHS staff and other key workers on the road during this difficult period.
The 37-year-old has worked as a mechanic from a young age and founded Precision Auto Services alongside his father Martin in 2012.
Wade is now offering a 20 per cent discount for NHS and emergency workers as a show of appreciation for their tireless efforts.
Wade, who recently competed in the PDC Home Tour, has reduced his practice regime in order to provide key repair work on vehicles of key workers in his local area.
Nicknamed ‘The Machine’, Wade has long spoken about his passion for cars and the back of his playing shirt features a custom number plate.
A patron of the Bipolar UK charity, Wade said: “To keep myself in the right frame of mind I work on cars, which are my passion.
“I can feel my happiest at the garage; there is no one there to judge me but myself.
“When people recognise me, they often ask if I am worried about hurting my hand – but I tell them, ‘If that happens, I won’t stop living. I’m doing this because I enjoy it.’
“It’s a nice feeling when you have done a hard day’s work in the garage – you can’t beat a manual job, having dinner, putting your feet up and getting moaned at by the wife!”
Wade joined the PDC in 2004 and has gone on to become one of the most successful players in the sport’s modern history, claiming nine major titles, including the World Matchplay, Premier League, European Championship and both the UK Open and World Grand Prix on two occasions.
The world number eight picked up five ranking titles in 2019, taking his overall tally of PDC titles to 35.