Tom’s Tungsten Column: Future of the PDC is in safe hands after maiden wins

DARTS
First title: Gerwyn Price won the Players Championship in Barnsley on Sunday PICTURE: LAWRENCE LUSTIG/PDC

Well, what a weekend it has been in the PDC for the future of the sport, with maiden wins for both Josh Payne and Gerwyn Price.

The success of Payne on Saturday is a magnificent story for the 22-year-old, as his best PDC run to date on the main tour was a quarter-final appearance three weeks previously in a Players Championship event in Barnsley.

Payne has virtually guaranteed a spot at the Players Championship Finals in Minehead at the end of the year, and is firmly in the race for a spot at the World Matchplay.

Qualifying for the Winter Gardens in July would be a huge achievement for the youngster, who also competes on the PDC Development Tour also, but seems now to be finding his form on the main tour.

The way he won Players Championship Six on Saturday was sublime, as he defeated James Wade 6-5 in a deciding leg, he hit a 180 to leave 116. And with Wade waiting on tops to win the title, Payne took out double 18 to win.

With obvious nerves of steel, I feel this is only the beginning for Payne. We will be seeing a lot more of him in the future for sure.

As for Price, he has enjoyed a monumental last 18 months on the PDC tour. After climbing the rankings with consistent quarter-finals and semi-final appearances on the floor beating big names on a regular basis, the Iceman then made his World Matchplay debut last year and reached the quarter-finals.

Price went one step further and won event seven of the Players Championship after beating Peter Wright in the final and he has the potential to be in the top 16 in the very near future.

The Welshman, like Payne has all-but guaranteed a Players Championship Finals spot, and is also certain to be back in the World Matchplay this summer.

The pair are currently in the top six of the Players Championship Finals Order of Merit, with Payne in sixth place and Price in fourth.

It was a great weekend for the future of the game, but already this year we’ve seen another young player in superb form. Benito van de Pas, who won event four of the Players Championship, just a day after losing to Michael van Gerwen in another floor final.

The 23-year-old is now up to 20th in the PDC rankings and is on the verge of the top 16 after being involved in the majority of the TV tournaments and playing well on the floor.

Payne won nine consecutive matches against some of the best players in the sport at the weekend, and the odds were against him in the final against Wade, and again he overcame the odds to win a sensational last leg decider.

Price replicated that form in his win on Sunday. The future is most definitely looking bright.

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