PDC World Championship 2021
Why this year’s world championship was the lockdown entertainment we all needed
When Gerwyn Price landed the world championship winning dart, it brought to an end the most unusual of darts tournaments. This year’s PDC World Championship has been far from normal. With changing coronavirus lockdown restrictions, only the first night of the tournament saw fans allowed into the Alexandra Palace. It meant that fans would only get to watch the tournament from home. If there was any concern that the tournament would have less drama when it is behind closed doors, it was quickly forgotten about.
The tournament saw 20 players make their debuts in the biggest tournament in darts, and each brought with them their own style and charisma. By the time the semi final stage arrived, three of the four remaining players had never appeared in the final before.
Arguably the shock result of the tournament was Dave Chisnall’s 5–0 demolition of world number one Michael Van Gerwyn, with the defeat of defending champion Peter Wright to German Gabriel Clemens by four sets to three in the third round. These results opened up the tournament, and would clear the path for Gerwyn Price to become the first ever Welshman to win the PDC World Darts Championship.
The Welshman made a lightning start to the final, winning five of the first six sets in a race to seven. His opponent, Gary Anderson, faltered at his finishing and every slip up was punished by Price. When the Scotsman grabbed the eighth and ninth set, Price looked a different player and all of a sudden momentum seemed to swing away from him.
At two legs a piece in the tenth set, Price needed to nail his finish or leave Anderson with three darts at double top to win a third straight set. It shouldn’t have been as tense, but it wouldn’t be darts if it wasn’t.
The line-up for the 2021 Premier League was confirmed minus one place. Price and Anderson will be joined by Peter Wright, Rob Cross, Glen Durrant, Nathan Aspinall, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Jose De Sousa as well as one more player who will be announced at a later date.
Looking at the tournament as a whole, it has been the perfect tonic for a winter which has been grim to say the least. Yes, the Palace may have been empty, but for fans across the world the tournament was a welcome relief and a reminder that this game is so highly addictive. With the standard on display this year, the final could have been played in a garden shed and the adrenaline would still have been pumping.
In a year where sport took a back seat to much of what was going on around the world, the PDC World Darts Championships have given sports fans a glimpse back into normality. With plenty more tournaments to come throughout the year, fans or no fans, there has never been a better time to become a fan. It may not be viewed as a ‘real sport’ by many, but there will be very few games where such drama and tension can be created between two players locking horns in an empty room in the way that darts does.