Tag Archives: Blackpool

World champ Price all business in Blackpool

Watch all nine days of the World Matchplay, from Blackpool’s iconic Winter Gardens, starting on Saturday, July 17 and reaching its dramatic conclusion on Sunday, July 25 when the Phil Taylor Trophy will be awarded to the winner

Last Updated: 15/07/21 10:57am

Gerwyn Price is looking to add the prestigious World Matchplay crown to his ever-growing CV (Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gerwyn Price is looking to add the prestigious World Matchplay crown to his ever-growing CV (Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gerwyn Price may not have watched, but he waited. He wouldn’t allow himself to watch, not as the Premier League campaign unfolded without the world champion there to try and add to his haul of accolades.

The world No 1 kept his distance both physically and mentally after being ruled out due to a positive test for COVID-19, instead using the unplanned recess to plot his assault on an opportunity-rich second half of the darting calendar.

“I consider myself a big watcher of darts but I just couldn’t put myself through that, it was so frustrating for me, I watched one or two of Jonny’s games but that was it,” he told Sky Sports. “I couldn’t put it on and I was keeping myself busy, it just wasn’t for me to watch. As you can imagine it was frustrating.”

Price’s setback was cushioned by perhaps two positives: the first being a fairy-tale winning debut for fellow World Cup victor and Welsh compatriot Jonny Clayton; the second a bonus surge of fire to bolster his already-rampant pursuit of silverware.

Live World Matchplay Darts

July 17, 2021, 7:00pm

Live on

His absence in Milton Keynes not only prolonged the wait to be introduced as the reigning world champion on stage, but dealt an untimely disruption to his momentum at the oche.

Price wants to win everything, he had become used to winning next to everything, and suddenly he was powerless.

“I like to keep playing week in week out and that’s when you can play your best and be on top of your game but stop start all the time and having three months off while the Premier League was going on has been frustrating,” he added. “When I’m away in the Premier League and away on the Pro Tours that’s my match practice.

“I’m probably scoring better than anybody at the moment, it’s just because I haven’t played and I’m a little bit rusty those doubles have deserted me a little bit.”

The Welshman has clinched six titles and reached three finals, seven semi-finals and six quarter-finals in his last 37 appearances at a televised event. He has meanwhile won 49 and lost just 15 of his 64 games since beating Gary Anderson in the final of the World Darts Championship.

His consistency over the past 12 months unrivalled, his upward trajectory unrelenting, and yet he enters the World Matchplay looking to buck an unwanted trend.

Price arrives in Blackpool on the back of four successive first-round exits, a second-round defeat in 2016 and a quarter-final loss on debut in 2015.

Price looked unstoppable towards the end of 2020 (Image: Lawrence Lustig)

Price looked unstoppable towards the end of 2020 (Image: Lawrence Lustig)

Gerwyn Price’s World Matchplay record

Year Round Result
2020 1st Lost 10-7 to Danny Noppert
2019 1st Lost 13-12 to Stephen Bunting
2018 1st Lost 10-3 to Joe Cullen
2017 1st Lost 10-5 to Phil Taylor
2016 2nd Lost 11-5 to Adrian Lewis
2015 Quarter-finals Lost 16-7 to Peter Wright

For where it falls in the school calendar the Winter Gardens showpiece has always presented itself as an ideal opportunity for Price to take his wife and young daughters along for the ride, but in 2021 it is strictly business.

“I was watching a documentary on the football the other day and I listened to Sven-Goran Eriksson and he says you should never mix your professional life with your family life and over the past two or three years I’ve always taken my family away to Blackpool and it’s going to be a bit different this year, I’m going to be up there to play darts and it’s work only, no leisure for me this year,” he added.

“The Matchplay is the only event where my two daughters, my wife and my dad and my family comes and it can take your mind away from the job you’ve got in hand and that’s why I’m doing things a bit different this year.

“The kids are off school from Friday so they could well come up there with me but I just need to focus on what I’m doing. Obviously last year it was the first TV event without a crowd and it was a bit hard to get into, but I think I approached it wrong the last couple of years. Like I said, I just need to stop mixing professional life with my leisure life.”

“On the playing side of it, even though I haven’t done very well there the last couple of years it’s probably one of my favourite events to go to.”

Price ready for Blackpool return

It’s not uncommon for players to claim they approach every tournament with the same mentality, whether it be in front of thousands on stage or tucked away on the Pro Tour. When Price says it, you believe it.

He issued a reminder of that across last week’s four Super Series events, averaging a day-best 102.15 before losing to Stephen Bunting in Monday’s final followed by 102.38 as he was defeated by Wednesday’s eventual winner Ross Smith.

“People are playing out of their skin to beat me as well,” said Price. “I lost two games where I played really bad which were against Stephen Bunting and Boris (Krcmar), but leading up to the Stephen Bunting game I don’t think I went under a 103 average.

“That’s the problem, it’s consistently I’m firing averages like that and then I’ll drop down to a 90 and I’ve got to iron that out over the next couple of weeks ready for the Grand Slam and Worlds. If you slip up once them boys are good enough to topple you over.

“I don’t mind how other people play, sometimes the better people play the better I play, it brings the best out of me. Sometimes when people play rubbish it can drive you down.”

Price admits he lacks the kind of match practice he would have ideally liked, the odd loose double here or there last week maybe reflective of that. But this is the stage of the year he relishes.

Dimitri Van den Bergh beat Gary Anderson to win his first major title at the Matchplay last year (Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Dimitri Van den Bergh beat Gary Anderson to win his first major title at the Matchplay last year (Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Awaiting him in round one is Jermaine Wattimena, who has stepped up as a late substitute following the withdrawal of Mensur Suljovic. Price’s reaction to a re-jig? Unsurprisingly, unfazed.

“The thing is if you start worrying about what other people are going to do that’s when you’re going to slip up,” he said. “I know 100 per cent in my own head I’m going to win, I tend to take every game exactly the same whether I play Jermaine Wattimena, Michael Van Gerwen, Peter Wright, I’m going in there to perform the best I can and I can’t control anything they do. I just need to concentrate on my own game.”

Price prefers watching rugby over football, but recently found himself struggling to enjoy the crowd-less British & Irish Lions action in South Africa, instead favouring the raucous atmosphere inside Wembley as England beat Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

He is relishing a similar vibrancy on stage on Blackpool, even if a tad apprehensive about a long-awaited return to darting normality as he previously knew it.

“It’s a little bit nerve-wracking because we haven’t had it in so long but the boys in the Premier League who got through to the latter stages have had the luxury of having a crowd there and they’re already warmed up to them,” said Price.

“I’m quite happy I’m playing on Saturday rather than Monday when they’re all back, just easing myself into it a bit!”

“It’s a totally different game no matter the sport when you’ve got the crowd, the atmosphere, even the boys that are playing the sport it brings that extra energy out of them.”

Price relishing the return of fans

Download & subscribe: The Darts Show podcast

We’ll be live with regular updates from the World Matchplay, plus a full preview on the way soon

After a somewhat frustrating start to the year, the World Matchplay will also evoke memories of Price’s Alexandra Palace triumph when John McDonald welcomes him out as the champion of the world.

“I feel like a world No 1 and a world champ but it is going to be a bit better now with the crowd and with John calling me out because I haven’t had that yet where he called me out in front of a crowd,” he said.

“This week is probably going to be a bit more emotional than usual and especially when the Premier League starts next year and I get to do it in front of a Cardiff crowd. As soon as I get the feeling of him calling me out in front of the crowd it will start to sink in a bit.”

But sentiment will soon turn into steel as Price locks his eyes on a prize that cannot evade him forever.

“I’m in everything to win it,” he said. “If I play anything like I did at the weekend and take my opportunities I don’t think I can be beaten.”

Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens this month, with nine days of coverage from the iconic Winter Gardens and the World Matchplay – the action gets under way on Saturday July 17.

Read more
This post originally posted here SkySports | News

Blackpool dreams come true for debutant duo

Watch all nine days of the World Matchplay, from Blackpool’s iconic Winter Gardens, which gets underway on Saturday July 17; Smith and Rydz feature in Sunday’s afternoon session, when they take on Cross and Durrant respectively

Last Updated: 15/07/21 2:02pm

Ross Smith sealed his maiden senior PDC title with victory over Brendan Dolan at the recent Super Series

Ross Smith sealed his maiden senior PDC title with victory over Brendan Dolan at the recent Super Series

The Winter Gardens – the theatre of darting dreams. The World Championship may be the pinnacle for any professional dart player, but the prestige and history attached to the Empress Ballroom makes for a unique summer spectacle.

The World Matchplay is the highlight of the calendar for many of the sport’s elite, and as the event returns to its spiritual seaside home in 2021, the anticipation is tangible, particularly among this year’s debutants.

There are seven players set to make their Blackpool bows at this year’s showpiece, one of whom is emerging star Callan Rydz, who claimed his first senior PDC title in February.

Live World Matchplay Darts

July 17, 2021, 7:00pm

Live on

Live World Matchplay Darts

July 18, 2021, 1:00pm

Live on

“I am very excited,” the 23-year-old told Sky Sports.

“It is an iconic place for the darts and my Grandad has always said ever since I started playing that he would love to see me up there and now he can, so it is two dreams come true really.”

Rydz bidding to run riot

Rydz is part of a thriving North-East contingent within the PDC and he will take on Teesside’s finest Glen Durrant in an intriguing opening-round clash.

‘The Riot’ first locked horns with the three-time BDO world champion in a local competition as a 14-year-old, which he claims was instrumental in his darting journey.

Rydz defeated Premier League champion Jonny Clayton to triumph at Players Championship 2 back in February

Rydz defeated Premier League champion Jonny Clayton to triumph at Players Championship 2 back in February

“The first time I ever met Glen was the Northumberland Open about nine years ago. That was my first ever competition and Glen beat us that day in the last eight,” Rydz added.

“I didn’t really watch darts that much back then. I knew of him but I didn’t know much. I went into some research and saw he was an England player at the time, he was a very solid BDO professional and I was like, ‘Wow’.

“I did push him that day as well and I was only 14. I think from there, that competition has just spurred me on.”

Durrant’s current woes have been well-documented. Since lifting the Premier League title last October, he has suffered an alarming slump and has registered just nine victories on the PDC circuit in 2021.

‘Everybody knows how good Glen is’

Durrant has endured a nightmare start to 2021, which saw him lose all nine of his Premier League Darts fixtures

Durrant has endured a nightmare start to 2021, which saw him lose all nine of his Premier League Darts fixtures

However, Rydz is still in the fledgling stages of his career, particularly on the TV stage, and he insists complacency will not be a factor as he bids to match his best performance on the big stage, having reached the last 16 in November’s Players Championship Finals.

“Everybody knows how good Glen is, and it is only a matter of time before he starts hitting those 105 averages constantly again,” he continued.

“It’s one of them where Glen is struggling, but you cannot think he is struggling. You have got to go out there and try and do a job on him early doors.

“I didn’t pick up my darts from the Worlds to that Super Series. I had two months off and I didn’t play at all, and it was probably the best two months that I’ve actually had.”

Rydz reflects on his flying start to 2021…

“I would definitely say I am still learning the ropes. I am not used to the big TV cameras just yet, but it comes with experience and the more experience you get, it becomes an easier environment to come out and play in front of crowds.”

Another debutant set to fulfil a darting dream in Blackpool this weekend is Ross Smith, who takes on 2019 champion Rob Cross in his opener, with the winner set to take on Rydz or Durrant for a place in the quarter-finals.

Smith – a PDC Tour Card holder since 2012, has made considerable strides over the last 18 months, and although he is relishing his first taste of Matchplay action, it will not be his first pilgrimage to the Winter Gardens.

Smudger set to fulfil Blackpool dream

“This has been something I’ve been wanting to do since I was a kid watching it, so to make my debut – it has taken a while, but I’m just happy to be there,” he told Sky Sports.

“I went once when I was a kid. I was there for a tournament called the Bobby Bourn memorial, and that was the weekend before they started the Matchplay.

Smith is set to make his Winter Gardens debut, 16 years after attending the tournament as a teenager

Smith is set to make his Winter Gardens debut, 16 years after attending the tournament as a teenager

“I remember being there with a mate of mine, Kirk Shepherd, up in the balcony. I was about 16 so to be playing there now, it is massive.”

The 32-year-old is no stranger to claiming major scalps on the big stage. He memorably defeated Michael van Gerwen at the 2019 European Championship, having beaten James Wade en route to reaching the UK Open quarter-finals earlier that year.

However, ‘Smudger’ heads to the Matchplay buoyed by his exploits at last week’s PDC Super Series, where he captured the first senior ranking title of his career.

“It means everything to me [winning his first title]. It means absolutely everything. It is something I have worked hard for.

“I probably took my darts for granted a bit as a youngster, but now I’ve grown up, I just wish I had done this a bit sooner.

‘I’m sick of making the numbers up’

Smith will take on 2019 champion Rob Cross for a place in the second round

Smith will take on 2019 champion Rob Cross for a place in the second round

“I feel really good, but I want to keep my feet on the ground and concentrate on this tournament. I am sick of turning up at TV events and seem to be making the numbers up.

“Winning that Players Championship has definitely given me the confidence to believe I can push on in this now and do some damage.”

This year’s World Matchplay has been touted as one of the most open in recent memory. World champion and world No 1 Gerwyn Price has a miserable record at the Winter Gardens, while Michael van Gerwen is extraordinarily still without a PDC title in 2021.

“I want to push on in my career. I don’t want to be somebody there to make the numbers up or win something once. I want to really kick on with my career.”

Smith aiming high ahead of Blackpool bow…

Dimitri Van den Bergh triumphed on debut in last year’s event, and Smith insists there is no reason why he cannot replicate the Belgian’s heroics.

“I remember watching Dimitri win it, and the likes of him and Jose De Sousa – seeing how they have come on leaps and bounds over the last few years.

“That is a big motivation for me. When I look at them, I think: ‘Why can’t I do that?’ It is making me practice harder, it is making me want it, and there is no reason why I can’t do it.”

Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens this month, with nine days of coverage from the iconic Winter Gardens and the World Matchplay – the action gets under way on Saturday July 17.

Read more
This post originally posted here SkySports | News

Inside Gogglebox siblings Sophie and Pete Sandiford’s sylish Blackpool home – photos

Gogglebox returned to Channel 4 at the end of February and brother-sister duo Sophie and Pete were back with their hilarious commentary of the week’s TV. Pete, 26, and Sophie, 24, film from their living room, leaving viewers guessing what the rest of their home looks like. But the fan favourites have given viewers a sneak peak inside their Blackpool home on social media.
In the living room, Sophie is usually seen relaxing in a bright yellow armchair whilst her brother lounges on a sofa filled with cushions and throws. Fans love to see which animated mugs the pair sip tea out of whilst critiquing the latest TV.

Photos show the living room has a dark wooden coffee table, shelves and a stone feature-wall. The room is also adorned with framed photos and candles to give it a homely feel. 

READ MORE:How much do the Gogglebox 2021 stars make from Instagram?

The kitchen is spacious and the duo seem to take a lot of photographs in there. In one hilarious social media picture, Sophie, Pete and a woman called Julie were dressed up as the Spice Girls.

Sophie was head-to-toe in leopard print embodying Scary Spice, Julie donned a tracksuit and slick ponytail like Sporty Spice and Pete opted for the iconic Union Jack dress made famous by Ginger Spice.

Sophie and Pete have had a starring role on Gogglebox since 2018. As a part of the show, the brother and sister have to commit to 12 hours of filming each week split across two six-hour shifts.

Aside from the show, they stil work regular day jobs with Sophie working as a shop window dresser and Pete works in the insurance industry. 

Sophie and Pete have two other siblings named Harry and Lucy Johnson who do not appear on Gogglebox.

You can watch Gogglebox Friday at 9pm.

Additional reporting by Dan Laurie.