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Brendan Dolan shocks Gerwyn Price at Ally Pally

Gerwyn Price was dumped out of the World Darts Championship (John Walton/PA)
Gerwyn Price was dumped out of the World Darts Championship (John Walton/PA)

Fifth seed and former champion Gerwyn Price was dumped out of the PDC World Darts Championship after a 4-2 defeat to Enniskillen’s Brendan Dolan.

Dolan held his nerve to close out the match with his first shot at tops after Price had clawed his way back from two legs down to level in the sixth set.

It was a crushing defeat for Welshman Price, who had been intent on repeating his victory in the behind-closed-doors tournament in 2021.

Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2023/24 – Day Eleven – Alexandra Palace
Brendan Dolan knocked fifth seed Gerwyn Price out of the World Championship (John Walton/PA)

Dolan, who got through his second round match via a sudden death leg against his compatriot Mickey Mansell, had served an early warning when he took out the opening set with a 144 checkout.

His crisp finishing proved the difference as he nudged in front again at 2-1 on the bull, and 64 to repel Price’s advances to go 3-2 up and one set from victory.

Dolan looked set to be made to pay for missing a match-dart at bull at 2-0 in the sixth when Price hit back to break his throw, but the Northern Ireland 50-year-old saw it home in style.

Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2023/24 – Day Eleven – Alexandra Palace
Gerwyn Price went down fighting at Alexandra Palace (John Walton/PA)

Dolan told Sky Sports: “I was thinking we might go to a last leg but thank god it didn’t because I don’t know if I would have held myself together.”

Third seed Luke Humphries narrowly avoided following Price out of the tournament after recovering a 3-1 deficit to beat Germany’s Ricardo Pietreczko 4-3.

Humphries, who has won three major titles this year, was forced to play with a spare set of darts after breaking a tip in practice earlier on Thursday, and averaged a disappointing 91.

Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2023/24 – Day Eleven – Alexandra Palace
Luke Humphries edged to victory over Ricardo Pietreczko (John Walton/PA)

But he dragged himself back from the brink as Pietreczko faltered, winning the last six legs of the match to seal victory.

“Mentally and physically that’s the toughest game I’ve ever been a part of,” Humphries told Sky Sports.

“I had 99 per cent of the crowd against me and the broken point before the game played on my mind. I was down and out and playing absolute dross, but I came back and showed a little bit of grit and determination.”

Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2023/24 – Day Eleven – Alexandra Palace
Daryl Gurney dispatched a 164 checkout as he beat Ricky Evans (John Walton/PA)

Daryl Gurney rounded off a marathon evening by beating Ricky Evans 4-2, the turning point coming after he edged a 3-2 lead with a 164 checkout on the bull.

Chris Dobey overcame a scare from Ross Smith to win 4-2 in the highlight of the afternoon session.

A back-and-forth contest that saw 27 maximums posted throughout saw Dobey march into a 2-0 lead before being pegged back by Smith.

Another tight set saw Dobey edge ahead and he hit double 16 for the match to set up a meeting with reigning world champion Michael Smith in the last 16.

Stephen Bunting
Stephen Bunting will meet Michael van Gerwen in the last 16 (John Walton/PA)

Stephen Bunting set up a last 16 clash with Michael van Gerwen after a stunning 4-0 win over Florian Hempel.

Bunting, the former BDO champion, nudged the opener 3-2 and from there the momentum was firmly with him as he swept Hempel away with a whitewash, averaging 101.15 throughout.

Another close contest saw Joe Cullen reach the next round with a 4-2 win over Ryan Searle.