Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith crash out of World Matchplay



Tournament favourite Gerwyn Price and world number one Michael Smith both crashed out the Betfred World Matchplay on a dramatic evening in Blackpool.

Price missed a match dart in a thrilling 13-11 tie-break defeat to Joe Cullen before Smith blew a 3-0 lead in an 11-7 last-16 upset against Chris Dobey.

The exits of the high-profile pair leave the competition wide open after reigning champion Michael van Gerwen suffered a shock first-round loss at the Winter Gardens.

World number four Price needed only bullseye for a place in the quarter-finals, having fought back from 8-5 down to lead Cullen 10-9.

But the Welshman, who averaged 100 and threw 11 180s, was unable to capitalise and then punished by the fine finishing of Yorkshireman Cullen, who secured victory with his second 112 checkout.

“It was just a case of trying to keep concentration – I knew I was playing terrible,” Cullen told Sky Sports.

“I just didn’t feel comfortable more or less the whole way through the match, but then when it came down it that’s probably the most comfortable I’ve been, so that 112 was pretty sweet.

“It was just a really funny game. Even at 10-8 down, I felt I could still win because I knew Gezzy wasn’t playing like he normally does. The finishes definitely won me the game.”

Price’s surprise elimination was swiftly followed by Dobey winning 11 of the final 15 legs to knock out top seed Smith.

“I don’t think I was ever in the game early doors, but I clawed my way back into it and, once I got in front, I didn’t want to let him come back, so I’m delighted with that,” said Dobey, who is through to his first quarter-final at the tournament.

“I thought my finishing was pretty spectacular compared to what I’m used to.”

Two-time semi-finalist Daryl Gurney awaits Cullen after he showed signs of returning to his best in dismantling 2018 champion Gary Anderson.

The Northern Irishman averaged 104 and hit 73 per cent of his checkouts in a superb 11-4 win over the Scot, who himself averaged 102.

“You were nearly thinking I was back, like the old Daryl, the one that was number three in the world,” said Gurney.

“There’s not many people that are going to beat Gary Anderson like that. For me to go and do that, I’m over the moon.”

In Tuesday evening’s other match, Nathan Aspinall defeated Dutchman Danny Noppert.

The 32-year-old from Stockport triumphed 11-9 and awaits Dobey in the last eight.

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