World Darts Championship final preview and predictions: Price and Anderson lock horns
Following almost three weeks of high-quality darting action, proceedings all come down to an all-British final between two arch-rivals on the oche.
Five former victors arrived at Alexandra Palace, including reigning champion Peter Wright and world number one Michael van Gerwen, and one remains in two-time winner Gary Anderson.
Nevertheless, world number three Gerwyn Price will want to get his hands on the famous Sid Waddell Trophy for the first time in his already illustrious career.
Ahead of a mouth-watering showdown, Ben Hudd previews a final between two players at differing stages in their careers and provides his prediction.
GERWYN PRICE VS GARY ANDERSON
Despite a multitude of shocks and surprises, two multiple-time major champions remain in the reckoning in the biggest match of the season, with half-a-million pounds in prize money up for grabs.
A victory for two-time champion Anderson would rocket the Scotsman back into the world’s top four, while a Price triumph will make him the world number one and the first Welsh winner of the tournament.
Having already overcame compatriot Jamie Lewis, Brendan Dolan, Mervyn King and Daryl Gurney in deciding sets, an emotional Price denied former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting in the semi-finals.
Anderson, meanwhile, has booked his place in the final with relative ease, ousting Madars Razma, Mensur Suljovic, Devon Petersen and Dirk van Duijvenbode, before beating Dave Chisnall in the last four.
‘The Flying Scotsman’ has somewhat surprisingly reached a fifth world final, overcoming pre-tournament injury woes, while another deep run at the Palace was expected from his opponent Price.
Not only could the Markham man become the third Welsh world champion across both codes, the former rugby professional could also establish himself as the first Qualifying School graduate to achieve the feats of world champion and world number one.
Price and Anderson have clashed on biggest of the stages in the past, most notably in the ill-mannered Grand Slam of Darts final little over two years ago.
‘The Iceman’ came from behind in a controversial encounter in Wolverhampton to clinch his maiden major accolade, and has since defeated Anderson in four of their five subsequent televised meetings.
Despite the Welshman’s remarkable record against his Scottish counterpart since that Grand Slam final, Anderson has been in the sport’s biggest match before and secured the spoils on the Alexandra Palace stage on two occasions.
Experience could prove a telling factor on Sunday evening. Anderson, 50, made his maiden world final a decade ago, whilst world number three Price was playing professional rugby for Cross Keys in the WRU Premiership.
Another potentially match-deciding component is Price’s marginally superior efficiency in the doubling department, having landed 44 percent of his attempts on the outer ring compared to Anderson’s 39.
According to Darts Tracker, Price has also converted 20 ton-plus checkouts in the tournament – nine more than Anderson – and the 35-year-old pinned a game-changing eight in his semi-final win over Bunting.
Whoever reigns victorious, a story would come alongside their success, whether that be Price’s rise from Q School to world champion or the hat-trick for Scotland’s darting doyen.
Prediction: 7-4 Price
2021 WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Alexandra Palace, London
Sunday January 3
Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson
Best of 13 sets
(Featured Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)