UK Open 2022: Gerwyn Price the one to beat in FA Cup of darts

Darts pundits Mark Webster and Colin Lloyd both backing Gerwyn Price to retain world number one spot by winning the UK Open in Minehead.

Everything is on the line for world number one Gerwyn Price as he heads to the UK Open in Minehead with his position on top of the rankings under threat from Peter Wright.

The world champion could have pinched top spot from the Iceman at the weekend as they faced off in the International Open final, but the Welshman held his nerve to win that title and stay top of the pile.

It's anyone's game at Butlins Resort in Minehead as 158 players from the world of darts, including 16 amateur qualifiers, take their chance in a tournament known as 'the FA Cup of darts'.

Multiple boards will be in operation at the same time, and once the big guns enter the fray at the fourth-round stage then it's an open draw meaning some huge ties can come out early on.

It's a format that thrills former darts world number one Colin Lloyd.

The FA Cup of darts

"The new draw every round is what makes the tournament so great, it's where the shocks happen, it's the FA Cup of darts and it's absolutely brilliant," Lloyd said on The Darts Show podcast.

"And the atmosphere when you start doing the draw, even just the last 64, all of a sudden you could have Jonny Clayton versus Peter Wright and the fans just erupt.

"So big guns can go out pretty early and that's what keeps the players on edge. That's what keeps it fresh and makes it so tough to win. Everyone loves the UK Open."

Despite the draw meaning big names can be eliminated pretty early, it's usually one of the big guns that takes home the trophy, and this year world number one Price is favoured to do just that.

Price won the recent International Open and hit two nine-darters in his Premier League win in Belfast so is in top form, and former Lakeside world champion Mark Webster can't see anyone living with Price's current form.

"Generally, when you get to the quarter-final stages and longer format I expect the usual suspects at the end. I don't think we'll get a surprise winner, some surprise results along the way definitely but for me not a surprise winner," Webster added.

"I can't see Gerwyn Price not winning it, whatever draw is chucked at him I expect him to win. He does get a hard time in Minehead, he gets a hard time everywhere really but especially in Minehead.

"You can't not take notice of the form of Gerwyn Price. This isn't a purple patch, he's starting to find those levels of consistency that people just can't live with. I think he'll hold on to his number one spot this weekend."

Wade going under the radar

Lloyd agrees, but thinks defending champion James Wade is once again being overlooked. Wade showed he can still win the big events having lifted the UK Open last year for the third time, in a third different decade.

"He's (Price) the man to beat," said Lloyd. "But I've just got a little fancy for James Wade. He's won it three times so he's proven he can do it.

"Wadey always goes under the radar but he'll just go about his business and it won't worry him if he's on the main board or outside board. He won't be fazed by it, but people will get fazed by him because they know he's good enough.

"But the man to beat is Gezzy Price. His confidence will be through the roof and he'll fancy it. He knows his game is exactly where he wants it to be and that makes him so hard to beat."

READ MORE: 'They don't know me' - Wade unhappy with lack of promotion

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