Jonny Clayton played some impressive darts as he won on night 8 in Birmingham defeating James Wade in a 6-1 victory as “The Ferret” levelled with Michael van Gerwen at the top of the Premier League.
Clayton defeated the likes of Michael Smith in the quarter finals and held off a strong performance from world number one Peter Wright in the Semi-Finals to claim his second night win of the competition so far, with Michael van Gerwen the only other player to have won on two occasions. (Exeter and Brighton)
James Wade reached his second final and although he has not won a night in the league, “The Machine” is within two points of the Play Offs as Joe Cullen regained fourth spot with an appearance in the Semi Finals.
The opening match of the night saw Wade take on Michael van Gerwen, as the Dutchman came into Birmingham on the back of victory in Niederhausen on Sunday. Van Gerwen however fell short to Englishman Wade as he lost 6-2 with Wade averaging just short of a ton.
Van Gerwen will feel let down by his doubles, as he missed eleven in the Quarter Final but, Wade also outscored the world number three with three 180s and seven 140s in reaching the semi-final.
Joe Cullen fresh off his win in Rotterdam last week as he faced world number two Gerwyn Price in the second match with “The Rockstar” winning 6-3 to hold on to his spot in the Play Offs. Welshman Price was within one point of Cullen before the match, but never really got going in Birmingham failing to register a single maximum.
The world number eleven averaged 93.69 as he reached the semi-finals and included a 90 checkout in breaking the Price throw to take the second leg on the bullseye. The win earnt Cullen two points and extended his lead to two points from fifth placed James Wade.
World number one Peter Wright was within three points off Michael van Gerwen entering Birmingham and found some top form in defeating Gary Anderson 6-5 in the third Quarter Final. “Snakebite” was certainly looking for a crowd pleaser and found it in the seventh leg hitting a 156 checkout to make the score 4-3 in favour of Anderson.
The all-Scottish affair included some top tier finishing with Anderson himself taking out a 132 on double six to take the fifth leg and break the Wright throw. The game ended in favour of “Snakebite” when he took out 25 on double eight after “The Flying Scotsman” missed a match dart at tops in the eleventh and decisive leg of the match.
Jonny Clayton dismantled Michael Smith 6-1 in the final game of the night with, ten 140s and three 180s enough to see “The Ferret” reach his third Semi-Final as Smith’s defeat moves him down to seventh in current proceedings.
Loose darts from the world number four cost him in Birmingham as well as countless breaks of throw, completely down to the consistency on the outer ring by Clayton. The Englishman only had three darts at double in the entire match, with a strong scoring performance from the world number nine in the final match of the night.
James Wade reached his second Final of the league beating an off Joe Cullen in the first Semi-Final of the night winning 6-2 for the second game running in Birmingham. No 180s were hit in the entire match but an average of 94.78 allowed Wade to take at least three points and lift himself from the bottom of the league.
“The Rockstar” fell short in the match after winning his last four matches in the league but losses of throw in the sixth and final legs of the game allowed Wade to pull away in the game.
Jonny Clayton and Peter Wright certainly served up a classic in Birmingham with both in fine form in the second Semi-Final. The world number one lost despite averaging a staggering 107.71 in a 6-4 defeat as Clayton proving the difference was on the doubles in the match.
“Snakebite” missed ten darts at double, with Clayton missing just five and having three fewer darts at the outer ring than Wright. “The Ferret” also hit thirteen 140s and finished ruthlessly on 82 to close the match out hitting his one and only dart at double tops.
Clayton continued from where he left on in the Final beating James Wade 6-1 as he upped his average to 111.16 with five 180s in the final in comparison to his three in the Semi-Final with Wright.
Wade again failed to register a maximum in a match accumulating an 83.97 average despite hitting his one and only dart at double in the third leg hitting double 18 then double tops to complete a brilliant double combination outshot.
Clayton’s form on the outer ring was good once more in the final with a 46.15% checkout rate including an 86 finish with treble eighteen and double sixteen on his last dart to send the Welshman to his second victory in Birmingham.
The darting action continues as the Pro Tour returns to Barnsley once more for more Pro Tour action with Players Championship 9 and 10 taking place. Jonny Clayton will want more success after winning in Birmingham as well as the other 128 participants.
James Wade 6-2 Michael van Gerwen
Joe Cullen 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 6-5 Gary Anderson
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Michael Smith
James Wade 6-2 Joe Cullen
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Peter Wright
Jonny Clayton 6-1 James Wade
Words: Harry Masterson
Image: Kieran Cleeves/PDC
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