On a special occasion a long time ago, a report on a football match was encountered which began “Eventually, the cream floats to the top”. So it was in Leicester last night in the semi finals of the World Darts Grand Prix. Gerwyn Price and his fellow Welshman Jonny Clayton have been the form players on the oche in the recent past and in the end here that big of a gap they both have on the rest of the pack saw them both through to the Final everybody has predicted and wanted since the start of the week.
Stating the facts would tell only a thimble of the tale regarding last night’s fare, mind you. Danny Noppert had already exceeded anything he had achieved in darts to date by reaching the last four in the unique ‘Double In’ tournament. Including taking out his compatriot Michael Van Gerwen at the first hurdle.
However, last night against ‘The Ferret’ his lack of experience at the highest level told when the heat really came on. Noppert created plenty of chances for himself – particularly early on – but where he floundered, Clayton clocked up the big numbers, checking out with two tonne-plus finishes to leave the 4-1 margin every bit as comfortable as the scoreline might suggest.
The second semi final was like a script from the X Files that was too bizarre to air. That Price is currently the standard bearer within the sport is not in dispute. That said, last night a different side to him. At best, it proved that behind all the bravado and bull dung he does, in fact, have human frailties like the rest of us. Or at worst, the nonsense may have actually have seeped into his own head.
In fairness to him, mind, if it were the latter there’s no way he would have been able to re-gather himself and produce some of the top quality output he required to extricate himself from the mire. During which time he reeled off four consecutive sets (having initially trailed 0-2) but the 4-2 end scoreline would tell but a fraction of the story.