Dubai: Gerwyn Price says darts has given him a second chance in sport after immaturity curtailed his rugby career.
The 32-year-old Welshman was a hooker for Welsh Premier Division sides Neath and Keys Cross before a brief spell with Pro 12 side Glasgow Warriors.
He also played rugby league for South Wales Scorpions but left the sport in 2014 to focus on darts.
“My biggest goal in life was to play for Wales against England at Twickenham but that never came along,” Price, who is playing in the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters at Dubai Tennis Stadium for the first time this week, told Gulf News.
“I missed the boat a few times probably through my own fault. I was young, immature and probably not professional enough growing up. I preferred a night out rather than staying in and concentrating on my career.
“But you live and learn and I’m a lot more professional now in this career, this is a second chance and I’ve just got to grasp it with both hands,” adds Price, who sports a scar on his forehead from a 2010 bar brawl.
It was fellow Welsh darts player Barrie Bates, who persuaded Price to try qualifying school for the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) Pro Tour after spotting him at local opens, and the rest is history.
“I got my Tour card in 2014 and still played rugby with Neath for another year until I decided to knock it on the head. I was getting paid to play darts and had to make a decision as darts was proving a better income, so I stuck with darts.
“I wasn’t getting any younger and that’s probably the main reason I turned to darts because I was getting on a little bit as well and probably only had a couple of years left in rugby. That’s probably what spurred me on more than anything to change over.”
Asked if there were any similarities between the two sports, he replied: “I find it easier playing darts because when you lose in rugby you’ve let your whole team down, but in darts the only person I upset is myself. It’s hard to describe whether anything has come into my darts from my rugby side though to be honest.”
Price is currently 17th in the darts world rankings after finishing runner-up to Peter Wright in the UK Open in March.
“I didn’t expect a lot at first, I just wanted to find my feet,” he says of his fledgling darts career. “But I realised I could live with the big boys and do it on the Pro Tour.
“I don’t have big expectations short term but hope to break the top 16 after the World Championships in January and push on from there. I’ve got plenty of years ahead of me in darts, so hopefully in the next 5-10 years I’ll be challenging in the top eight.”
On his first appearance in Dubai, he added: “It’s just a great experience being here even if I don’t win. I expect to win whoever I play because I’m confident I can beat anyone. But if I go out in the first round I’m not too bothered. I’d just like to have a good run and put my mark on the game.”