World number one Gerwyn Price’s bizarre attempts to block out the raucous Alexandra Palace crowd by wearing ear defenders failed to have the desired effect as he crashed out of the PDC World Championships.
The 37-year-old Welshman was 3-1 down in his quarter-final to Gabriel Clemens when he donned the accessory in an apparent move to dampen the noise coming from off stage.
But it did not prevent him from losing the fifth set and when he returned to the stage wearing less-bulky ear plugs, which he had apparently spent some time practising in, the outcome was the same as Clemens sealed a 5-1 win to become the first German to reach the last four of the competition.
“I played my game, just focussed on my game,” Price told Sky Sports after his defeat when asked about the ear defenders.
Three-time World Championship runner-up Wayne Mardle said Price’s actions were those of a man showing vulnerability.
“The situation with Price is that he has had his ear defenders with him prior to this game and it was something he was thinking of doing,” he told Sky Sports.
“It shows there is a bit of frailty there. I get why he did it, he wanted to put on an elaborate show.”
It is not the first controversy Price has been involved in during the championships as Sky Sports had to apologise to viewers earlier this week after he made a gesture which could have been construed as offensive to disabled people during his victory over Jose de Sousa.
After his upset Price wrote on his Instagram story: “So frustrating you play all year round preparing for this one tournament. So gutted I wasn’t let play but good luck everyone left in.
“Not sure I will ever play in this event again.”
Michael van Gerwen’s bid for a fourth world title remains on track after he swept aside Chris Dobey 5-0 to set up a semi-final with Dimitri Van den Bergh, who was a 5-3 winner over Johnny Clayton earlier in the day to become the first Belgian to reach this stage.
Last year’s beaten finalist Michael Smith defeated Stephen Bunting by the same scoreline and will meet Clemens on Monday.