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Premier League Darts: Preview

Welsh wizard of the oche Gerwyn Price has admitted he will have to “grin and bear” the new regulations set by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) after being banned from wearing ear defenders.

The Ice Man froze some fans and made headlines at the World Championship quarter-final last month when he came out wearing ear defenders in the fifth set.

It led to the PDC amending its rules to state, “Players are not permitted to wear earphones, headphones or headphone-type ear defenders during the throw at the bull prior to the match or during matchplay.”

But the use of in-ear earplugs is still permitted, with Mervyn King being a good example of those who use them.

On the eve of this year’s Premier League in Belfast, Price said, “I wore the ear defenders once and I won’t be wearing them again.

“It’s best left at that if I’m honest with you. I’m not a fan of in-ear plugs that Mervyn King wears.

“I’ve just got to grin and bear with whatever comes my way like I have the last couple of years, and just play darts.”

Former world champion Price added: “I want to do well in the Premier League right now. I’m here to win.

“Right here, right now, this is where I play well.”

Price is among the eight players in the Premier League this year, including world champion Michael Smith, reigning Premier League winner Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Price’s fellow Welshman Jonny Clayton, Nathan Aspinall, Dimitri Van den Bergh, and newly-crowned Masters champion Chris Dobey.

World Championship runner-up Van Gerwen is the hot tip, with Smith and Price not far behind the Dutchman.

Then comes Wright and Clayton, with The Ferret looking a decent outside wager.

When asked about his thoughts on the format, Price said, “The format is like any other tournament from the quarter-finals onwards.

“But it’s everything else that comes with it. I think it just takes a lot out of players knowing that you have to play Pro Tours, Europeans.

“It’s difficult to play in that format when you have got to travel every single week.”

Nor will Price be drawn on the topic of whether the best players have been selected for the tournament.

He added: “The PDC pick their players on their own reasons. As long as I’m in there I don’t really care what goes on around me to be honest with you.”

The SSE Arena in Belfast is the first of 17 host venues for the Premier League on Thursday – live on Sky Sports – with the Play-Offs returning to The O2 in London on Thursday May 25.

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