Brendan Dolan bowed out of the PDC World Darts Championship to world number three Gerwyn Price, despite producing a performance that he described as the best he has played on the TV stage.

The Belcoo man pushed Price all the way, eventually succumbing 4-3 after a sudden death leg in which the favourite denied Dolan by taking out a double at his first attempt.

Despite the frustration of defeat, Dolan was pleased with the quality of his play in a high pressure environment.

“I don’t like losing at any time, but I have to take a look at the performance, and it was good,” he said.

“That is the best match I have played on the main TV stage. I know it could have been better, but it was better than I have done in the last three or four years.

“Behind closed doors I have played better, but I haven’t really brought my practice game to the main TV before.”

Price was favourite going into the contest, but Dolan came within millimetres of taking the first set only to miss two doubles in the final leg of the opener, and he reflected on that moment as being hugely significant in a match of narrow margins.

“I do believe the double eleven in the first set could have changed the whole complexion of the game,” he said.

“There was only a couple of breaks of throw apiece, but his 170 was a big moment as well, when I was sitting on a two darter.

“I was probably chasing the game all the time because he kept getting in front. I was never really in control.”

Dolan offset the loss of the first set with a 3-0 whitewash in set two to level at one all, and although Price hit back again Dolan restored parity after four sets with a 3-1 win.

Price took out a 170 to go back 3-2 up but Dolan checked out from 104 in the deciding leg of set six to take the match all the way.

The final set went with the darts, leaving Price throwing for the match in the final leg. With both players left with 72, it was Price that hit double top to deny Dolan a famous win.

Brendan is hopeful that he can carry his World Championship form through to next year, as he eyes up a return to the world’s elite.

“I have to think positively about things,” he admitted. “Obviously with Covid we are not sure what the calendar is going to be for next year but hopefully we have a decent amount of tournaments to play, and I would expect to get back up into the top 20 in the world.”