Premier League Darts: After defeating world champion Michael Smith in the night nine final in Berlin, Jonny Clayton earned his first-night victory of the Cazoo Premier League season and increased his chances of making the playoffs.
The league’s top player, Michael van Gerwen, was eliminated by Clayton after a decisive last leg. Clayton also defeated fellow countryman Gerwyn Price 6-4, spoiling the Ice Man’s hopes of winning three straight games, and beat Smith 6-4.
The Welshman broke with an 86 checkout and added an 80 finish to quickly take a 3-1 lead after Smith began the match with a 13-dart hold but wasted two break darts in the next.
Clayton missed two opportunities to win a fourth consecutive leg in the fifth game and fell behind after Smith held throw after a sensational 130 checkout on the bullseye and 12-dart break.
Clayton evened the score on tops, regained the lead with an 85 checkout, then sealed the victory with a spectacular 120 finish in the tenth leg, punishing Smith for more missed doubles.
“It was a very simple run, wasn’t it?!” Sky Sports was told by Clayton. “Maybe I rode my luck a few times, but in the end, I succeeded, and that’s what matters.”
“Thank God I had a win because it’s that winning double and winning that night. It feels good to be back on this stage because I’m used to leaving after the first game and not returning.”
“I’ve never been happier—fantastic! it’s like I’m grinning and have already achieved success.”
With the win, Clayton moves up to fifth place overall with 12 points, just three behind fourth-placed Nathan Aspinall (who was defeated by Smith in the semifinals), and Price has closed the gap on Van Gerwen since his semi-final showing.
Smith defeated Aspinall 6-4, came agonisingly close to a nine-dart leg against Dimitri Van den Bergh in the quarterfinals, and lost his chance for a second-night win of the year.
After losing on nearly nine occasions, Van Gerwen has 25 points remaining. Price has pulled within five points of the six-time Premier League champion after winning 6-3 in the quarterfinals by winning five of a row against Peter Wright, who is still at the bottom of the standings.
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