Debutant Jonny Clayton climbed to the top of the Premier League Darts table after a 7-4 win over Gary Anderson…
Debutant Jonny Clayton climbed to the top of the Premier League Darts table after a 7-4 win over Gary Anderson on Night Five in Milton Keynes.
Clayton’s dream start to his maiden Premier League campaign continued as he brushed aside the two-time champion to go a point clear at the summit on seven points.
The Welshman averaged 99 and hit six 180s as he took advantage of ten missed double attempts from Anderson to end the first block of league action on a high.
“You dream of having a start like this for a first attempt in such a big tournament, I’m one happy Welshman,” said a delighted Clayton, who hit a nine-darter on Night Three.
“Gary has always been one of my favourite players, I love the way he plays, so to beat him on a stage like this is a dream come true.
“The game was played at some pace, by the time I’d had a sip of water it was already my turn to throw. It was maybe a little bit quick for me but it didn’t do me too much harm.”
Last year’s runner-up Nathan Aspinall produced a stellar 105.4 average in a 6-6 draw with Michael van Gerwen, but was left relieved at the end of the match after the Dutchman missed a match dart.
Five-time Premier League champion Van Gerwen was looking to bounce back from defeat to James Wade on Night Four, but was unable to break down a resurgent Aspinall.
Having landed checkouts of 148 and 100, Van Gerwen led 6-5 and earned himself one dart at double top for the match.
However, he dropped low with his attempt and Aspinall made no mistake on the same target with his last dart in hand to produce a 68 checkout for the match.
“I’m very happy to get a point,” said Aspinall. “For me he’s the best player in the world so to get any result against Michael is always a positive.
“I’ve had a great week, if I’d been offered six points from the first ten available I would’ve taken that.
“I’m getting better with every night, I’m feeling more and more confident and I’m looking forward to coming back refreshed.”
For the second successive evening, Jose de Sousa produced the performance of the night as he claimed his first Premier League victory over Dimitri Van den Bergh, prevailing 7-3.
Having landed a nine-darter on Night Four, De Sousa fired in six 180s but improved accuracy on the outer ring saw him hit 50 per cent of his checkout attempts to claim a valuable two points, inflicting a first defeat of the season on the Belgian.
Peter Wright extended his unbeaten run to three matches as he recovered from 5-3 down to claim a 7-5 win over Rob Cross, seeing the 2020 World Champion join Van den Bergh, Aspinall and Van Gerwen on six points.
A change of darts did not appear to be working for Wright in the early stages, but he found a way to win the final four legs without reply to leapfrog Cross in the league standings.
UK Open champion Wade backed up his defeat of Van Gerwen on Night Four with a comfortable 7-3 success over struggling Glen Durrant.
Wade was on target with 50 per cent of his checkout attempts – including a 152 finish – to deny a route into the contest for defending champion Durrant – who appears destined for an early elimination following five straight losses.
The tournament will resume from April 19-22, as league phase Nights Six-Nine take place, with the bottom two players eliminated on Judgement Night while the remaining eight are left to battle it out for Play-Off spots.
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Premier League Darts 2021 Results
Night Five – Friday April 9
Gary Anderson 4-7 Jonny Clayton
Peter Wright 7-5 Rob Cross
Michael van Gerwen 6-6 Nathan Aspinall
James Wade 7-3 Glen Durrant
Dimitri Van den Bergh 3-7 Jose de Sousa