Michael van Gerwen holds nerve to edge out Gerwyn Price in Dublin thriller

Defending champion Michael van Gerwen edged out Gerwyn Price after a nailbiting last-leg decider to win Night Four of the Cazoo Premier League in Dublin and move top of the table.

‘Iceman’ Price – who won in front of a home crowd in Cardiff on Night Two – had impressively dispatched world champion Michael Smith 6-1 in the semi-finals with an average of over 102.

Van Gerwen, beaten by newcomer Chris Dobey on Night One in Belfast, held off a fightback from Jonny Clayton to close out a 6-3 win and reach a second final of this year’s tournament so far.

Price landed a tops-tops 100 checkout to level at 2-2, before making the Dutchman pay for some wayward darts as he won four straight legs and seemingly closed in on victory when 5-2 ahead.

Van Gerwen, though, was not done yet as he took the next against throw and then levelled at 5-5 after the Welshman had missed a chance to secure the match.

Neither man, though, could then clean up in the error-strewn deciding leg and after Price failed to land ‘Madhouse’ double one, it was left to Van Gerwen to finally take out eight.

“It was a long night for both of us,” three-time world champion Van Gerwen said on Sky Sports.

“Gerwyn was playing phenomenal in the first two rounds, and I was struggling all day, I had to keep fighting. It is not always easy.

“More importantly, though, I won tonight, that gives you confidence and relief, from then on there is more perspective.

“I know I can do a lot better, but to win and be top of the table with not quite your best performance is quite a good thing.”

The opening match of the evening at the 3Arena saw a repeat of the 2022 World Championship final, but with Smith coming back to defeat Peter Wright, who remains pointless so far in the tournament.

Wright, who claimed the world crown for a second time at Alexandra Palace, built on an early break to lead 4-2 only for ‘Bully Boy’ – who won last week’s event in Glasgow – to mount a recovery and clinch a last-leg decider.

Price beat Glasgow runner-up Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4, landing five maximums, while 2021 Premier League champion Clayton saw off Nathan Aspinall, who missed 23 darts at a double, by the same scoreline.

In the other quarter-final, Van Gerwen averaged 98.95 as he recorded a comfortable 6-3 victory over Dobey, who produced a 148 checkout.