'The Ferret' Fights To The Top
Jonny Clayton won a huge top of the table clash with Michael van Gerwen in the final of Night 11 in the Premier League Darts coming through a last leg decider to go top of the Premier League with just five weeks left to play of the league format. The Ferret averaged 103.40 in the Final and included four maximums on the oche.
Both players averaged in three figures across the whole match and the finishing from both in the Final was out of the ordinary. Van Gerwen included a 94 checkout, finishing on two double nineteens to take a 3-2 lead after setting the shot up with a score of 171. It was Clayton though who came through as he won his last three legs of the Final with 88 on double fourteen in two, then 84 on double twelve in what was two breaks of throw for the Ferret.
Clayton hit 82 on his last dart at double tops to close the match and lead his opponent in the league by a point going into next week in Dublin, with van Gerwen losing his lead at the top for the first time since Week 5 in Brighton.
The league’s top four players also had a night to remember, with all four players who occupied the Play Off positions before a dart was throw all winning their Quarter Final matches, further distancing themselves from the chasing pack.
Clayton opened the night against home favourite Gary Anderson and endured a constant amount of booing from the crowd, all behind their man especially with the situation he finds himself in the table. The Welshman did not fluster and came through a 6-2 winner in what was a scrappy game on the oche, with Clayton only averaging 93.53 in the match.
Last year’s winner broke Anderson early in the match, hitting double ten with his second dart to take a 2-0 lead before holding throw in the next leg on double four, after his opponent missed two darts at tops for a break and his first leg of the match. The Flying Scotsman won his first leg of the match in the fourth leg, checking out 78 on double tops to make the score 3-1 in Aberdeen.
Anderson missed two darts at tops to finish 97, allowing Clayton to punish on double twelve with his first dart to take a 4-1 lead. This will have annoyed Anderson, which showed in the next leg as he held throw on 41 to finish a 12-dart leg and go two legs behind The Ferret one more.
Clayton closed the match out in the eighth leg as he hit double ten with his second dart to close the match, after hitting 62 on double 16 with two darts showcasing his magnificent ability of taking treble double combination shots in the previous leg.
Joe Cullen was dealt a blow in his Play Off chasing chances as he lost a last leg decider to Peter Wright in the second match on night 11, with The Rockstar also having to deal with a hostile Scottish crowd all backing the World Number One and Reigning World Champion.
Snakebite changed his darts once more going into his match with Cullen, opting to use the Euro 11 element Gold PC20 darts created for him by Red Dragon. The change seemed to do the trick with Wright returning to winning ways after his defeat in Munich on Sunday to Scott Waites, as he averaged 103.22 in Aberdeen to book a spot in his eighth Semi Final.
Joe Cullen will be disappointed after losing in the Final last week to James Wade and included the 350th maximum of the competition so far in what was his 58th of his debut campaign so far. Wright finished a 101 checkout on double 16 to take a 2-1 lead on throw and showed his decision to change his darts was the right one, as a brilliant set up shot of 129 from 161 left the World Champion on double 16 which he hit on his return to the oche with his first dart in the deciding eleventh leg.
Michael Smith’s task of making the Play Offs became much more difficult after surrendering a 3-1 lead to lose 6-5 to already in the Play Offs James Wade in the third Quarter Final. Bully Boy broke in the first leg of the match on double ten with his second dart, before holding on 60 in the next leg hitting tops with his second dart to take a 2-0 lead.
Wade broke back on the same target in the sixth leg, hitting one of his favourite segments to level at 3-3, and held in the next leg to lead 4-3 on 75 with his last dart at double six after Smith missed a dart at tops for his second break of the match.
Back-to-back ton plus checkouts in the ninth and tenth leg from both players, as Wade hit tops to finish 117 and take a 5-4 lead before Smith hit the same target to checkout 100 in two darts to send the match into a deciding last leg. The Machine sealed a spot in yet another final, hitting tops again with his second dart as he averaged 89.74 in the tie.
Michael van Gerwen made it a perfect night for the league’s top four players as he beat Gerwyn Price 6-3 averaging 106.93 in the last Quarter Final. The Dutchman included an eleven-dart leg on tops to level at 3-3 after the first six legs went with throw in Aberdeen, after The Iceman hit the same target to finish 60 with his second dart.
The Dutchman from then on, stormed into the Semi Finals and finished 85 on double eight with his last dart to hold in the eight leg and take a 5-3 lead, before hitting double ten to break Price in the ninth and final leg to seal his spot against Wade in the Semi Final.
Jonny Clayton overcame the other Scotsman in the league, beating Peter Wright in a last leg decider in a match that saw eight 180s. The Ferret averaged three points less than his opponent, as well as missing more darts at double of the two on the oche, but still came through and reached yet another Final.
Snakebite included a 12-dart leg to break throw in the third leg, after hitting two maximums before a 96 checkout on double twelve with his last dart gave him a 2-1 lead in the match. The crowd gave Clayton a difficult time all night in Aberdeen, but he paid no attention to them finishing 76 on double eight in two darts to break his opponent back and level at 4-4, before sealing his win in the last leg of the match to deal Wright another Semi Final defeat.
Michael van Gerwen set up a top of the table clash Final in Scotland, averaging just shy of a ton in beating James Wade 6-3 in the second Semi Final. The Dutchman included a 68 checkout in the sixth leg on double four to take a 4-2 lead before a 12-dart leg on double eighteen in the eighth leg put him one away from victory, setting up the double with a score a 145. A 90 checkout on the bull sealed the ninth and final leg as van Gerwen reached another Final in the League format.
Wade will be happy with his night’s work in Aberdeen, with only the top two in the League earning more points than him on Night 11 as he further solidified his spot in the top four by two points from fifth placed Joe Cullen.
The Premier League returns next week in Dublin for Week 12 with Jonny Clayton up against Peter Wright, whilst Michael van Gerwen faces James Wade in the opening match.
By Harry Masterson
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright 6-5 Joe Cullen
James Wade 6-5 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 James Wade
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
- Jonny Clayton: 26pts
- Michael van Gerwen: 25 pts
- James Wade: 20pts
- Peter Wright: 20pts
- Joe Cullen: 15pts
- Gerwyn Price: 11pts
- Michael Smith: 8pts
- Gary Anderson: 7pts