Gerwyn Price enjoyed a dream homecoming on a sensational evening of Cazoo Premier League action, defeating Nathan Aspinall 6-3 to triumph on Night Two in Cardiff on Thursday.
Price, roared on by a sell-out crowd at the Cardiff International Arena, celebrated wins over Chris Dobey, Michael van Gerwen and Aspinall to cap off a fairy-tale return on home soil.
The 2021 World Champion – sporting his national colours – avenged his Night One defeat to Aspinall to claim the maximum five league points and scoop the £10,000 bonus prize in the Welsh capital.
Price punished a sluggish start from Aspinall to establish an early lead, converting a clinical 97 kill to move 2-0 ahead, although Aspinall replied with a two-dart 72 combination to halve the deficit.
The Welsh number one was undeterred however, restoring his two-leg buffer with a 12-darter, before posting back-to-back 13-dart holds to move to the brink of victory at 5-2.
The 37-year-old almost sealed the deal with a spectacular 157 finish, but after Aspinall sank double two to preserve his hopes, Price responded by pinning his favourite tops to clinch a memorable win.
“Honestly I loved every minute of it. I’m soaking it all up,” said an emotional Price, who is level on five points alongside Dobey, Van Gerwen and Aspinall.
“I’m lost for words. I don’t get this reception very often, so I appreciate every bit of support. It was fantastic.
“How did I win against Michael [van Gerwen]? Michael outplayed me, but I’ve lost games like that before.
“The crowd got me over the line tonight. I’m not in the best of form. I was playing well before I was ill at the Masters and then I started feeling sorry for myself.
“I’m still not 100%, but I felt better tonight, and hopefully over the next couple of weeks I will get my form back.”
Earlier in the night, Price opened his Premier League account with a battling last-leg win over Night One winner Dobey, in a contest bookended by 12-darters from the home favourite.
The Welshman then came through a scintillating semi-final tussle against Van Gerwen, surviving two match darts in a dramatic last-leg decider to progress with a 13-dart break.
Van Gerwen averaged 110.75 in defeat – almost 14 points more than Price – but the three-time Grand Slam Champion held his nerve in a thrilling finale.
Aspinall, meanwhile, kicked off his Cardiff campaign with a 6-3 success against Peter Wright, firing in seven 180s and sealing the deal with a sublime ten-darter, despite suffering a bounce-out midway through the leg.
The Stockport star then defeated Michael Smith in a thrilling last four showdown, defying 121, 137 and 148 finishes from the World Champion by wrapping up victory with a stunning 136 checkout of his own.
In Thursday’s other quarter-finals, Smith posted a ton-plus average to deny Jonny Clayton a fairy-tale homecoming, while Van Gerwen toppled Dimitri Van den Bergh in a repeat of their Night One semi-final.
The Cazoo Premier League roadshow rolls into Glasgow’s OVO Hydro for Night Three on Thursday February 16, as home hero Wright bids to ignite his campaign against Van den Bergh.
Elsewhere, Price takes on World Champion Smith, Aspinall and Van Gerwen collide in a repeat of October’s World Grand Prix final, while Clayton and Dobey also lock horns.
2023 Cazoo Premier League
Night Two – Thursday February 9
Cardiff International Arena
Michael Smith 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Michael Smith
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Night Three – Thursday February 16
OVO Hydro, Glasgow
Nathan Aspinall v Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith
Jonny Clayton v Chris Dobey
Aspinall/Van Gerwen v Wright/Van den Bergh
Price/Smith v Clayton/Dobey
All matches best of 11 legs