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Clayton lights up the Premier League with nine-darter on Night Three

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Record-equalling De Sousa lands Premier League nine-darter on dramatic Night Four

Premier League Darts 2021 Night Four preview and order of play: Battle continues at both ends of the table

Jamie Shaw in Premier League Darts 08 Apr 2021
Anderson and Durrant collide in a repeat of last year’s Semi-Final (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The Premier League Darts table continues to take shape as a further five unmissable fixtures take centre stage in Milton Keynes on Thursday.

The opening three days of the sport’s most prestigious invitational have provided countless moments of drama and quality, none more so than a nine-dart finish from Jonny Clayton on Wednesday.

Clayton recorded the eleventh nine-darter in Premier League history on his way to a pulsating win over Jose De Sousa as he continued to take the tournament by storm in his debut campaign.

The Welshman is one of three players tied on five points at the top of the table after three games and will look to effectively secure his place in the second half of the competition with victory over Rob Cross.

Clayton boasts the highest tournament average of the field (103.14) so far, as well as a clinical checkout success rate of 50 percent.

Cross, meanwhile, has picked up three points from as many games and is already well on his way to reaching the five-point tally he managed after nine games last season.

The 2019 Premier League finalist was beaten 7-3 by a prolific Michael van Gerwen on Night Three and will look to bounce back and remain at the right end of the table heading into the final night of the first block of fixtures.

Van Gerwen has made an emphatic start to the season in his quest to atone for last year’s disappointment of missing out on the play-offs for the first time.

After being held to a draw by Dimitri van den Bergh on opening night, the five-time champion has recorded successive wins, thrashing Peter Wright 7-2 despite an average of just 92, before averaging 107.5 in his 7-3 rout of Cross.

He now faces 2009 champion James Wade – who he has not beaten in the Premier League since 2017 – but has won each of their last five meetings in all competitions.

Wade, who was drafted in as a late replacement for Gerwyn Price, started brightly with a 6-6 draw against Gary Anderson but has since slumped to back-to-back defeats with averages of just 88 and 92.

He finds himself second from bottom in the early league table and will be keen to avoid becoming embroiled in a battle for survival come Judgement Night.

Debutant Van den Bergh leads the way at the top of the table heading into Night Four and kicks off the night against his former housemate Peter Wright.

Wright invited Van den Bergh to stay at his home after the Belgium became stranded in England shortly at the beginning of the pandemic 12 months ago, and this will be the first competitive meeting between the pair since.

Van den Bergh attributed much of his success last year to practicing with Wright and taking on board the advice of the 2020 World Champion, and will now look to record his first televised success over Snakebite.

After averaging 103.7 in a 7-5 win over Nathan Aspinall on Night Two, Van den Bergh whitewashed a desolate Glen Durrant on Wednesday and already has his sights set on a top four push.

Wright bounced back from his disappointing defeat to rival MVG by overcoming former World Cup winning teammate Gary Anderson 7-4 with a 100 average.

The world number three has revealed he had been feeling under the weather this week but looks to have turned the corner and recaptured his form with the set of darts which guided him to glory at Ally Pally last January.

Two-time Premier League champion Anderson aims to pile more misery on an out of sorts Glen Durrant when the pair face off in the final match of the night.

Defending champion Durrant is rooted to the foot of the table following three straight defeats with consecutive sub-90 averages.

Duzza suffered only the 12th whitewash in Premier League history 24 hours ago and is in desperate need of a confidence-boosting result to kick-start his season.

Anderson will be out to avenge his 10-9 defeat to the Teessider in last year’s Semi-Finals, while also recovering from last night’s defeat to Scottish compatriot Wright.

The Flying Scotsman has three points to his name, and on current form, will envisage this as a perfect opportunity to pick up a further two and keep pace with the league leaders.

Grand Slam champion Jose De Sousa looks to ease his early elimination fears by overcoming last year’s runner-up Nathan Aspinall.

De Sousa was left to rue a costly miscount which proved the turning point in his eventual defeat to Clayton last night, leaving him with just one point to show for his efforts so far.

Aspinall is sitting pretty in fourth spot with four points to his name, having averaged 96.5 in a 7-4 win over a below-par Wade on Wednesday evening.

Only Anderson has hit more 180s than ‘The Asp’ in the Premier League so far (12), though De Sousa boasts the higher tournament average of the two at 99.07 to 97.48.

The action gets under way from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 12 legs. Two points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw.

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Premier League Darts 2021 Schedule

Night Four – Thursday April 8

7.15pm Dimitri Van den Bergh v Peter Wright
8.00pm Jonny Clayton v Rob Cross
8.45pm Jose de Sousa v Nathan Aspinall
9.30pm James Wade v Michael van Gerwen
10.15pm Gary Anderson v Glen Durrant