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Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a ‘dream come true’ to win coveted title | Darts News


Clayton added Premier League Darts crown to his growing run at Milton Keynes

The ferret’s fairy tale. Before the Masters, Jonny Clayton wasn’t even in the Premier League discussion. Ironically, he wouldn’t have participated in the season opener if the PDC hadn’t expanded the tournament to 24 players. The rest, as they say, is history.

It has been a remarkable six months for the kind Welshman. His World Cup success alongside Gerwyn Price provided the platform, and he has grown steadily since, winning the subsequent Masters title which saw him selected for this year’s Premier League.

Clayton was arguably the man of form in the world darts ahead of the tournament, but after an upside down campaign conclusion he faced a clash with the winner against Dimitri Van den Bergh to seal his qualification for the play-offs.

Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a 'dream come true' to win coveted title | Darts News

Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a 'dream come true' to win coveted title | Darts News 5:39
An emotional Jonny Clayton was in heaven after winning his first Premier League title in his debut campaign

An emotional Jonny Clayton was in heaven after winning his first Premier League title in his debut campaign

The 46-year-old duly delivered to secure his place at Finals Night, before producing virtuoso performances to defeat five-time champion Michael van Gerwen and Grand Slam winner Jose De Sousa to take home the £ 250,000 top prize for his beginnings.

“Tonight everything worked out for me. The darts went well, my shots went well, so it’s a dream,” Clayton said in his post-game press conference.

“There’s a little ferret stuck on next year’s poster! It’s amazing; absolutely amazing. To be the first Welshman to lift this trophy – awesome.”

Clayton was the only player ranked outside of the top 16 to feature in this year’s Premier League, but his performances over the 17 nights at Milton Keynes confirmed his status as one of the best in the world.

“The Ferret” had a tournament average of over 99, posting averages of 103.25 and 100.18 against Van Gerwen and De Sousa respectively.

Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a 'dream come true' to win coveted title | Darts News

“Usually it’s Michael van Gerwen’s vocals, Gary Anderson’s vocals, Peter Wright. Hearing a Jonny Clayton vocals is absolutely awesome and I’ll keep it forever.”

Clayton on crowd support …

For the second season in a row, the Premier League Darts final was contested between two debutants, but Clayton became the first man to win the title after finishing the league campaign in fourth place.

“When Gerwyn and I won the World Cup, it was the biggest trophy I have ever won in darts. I think it only boosted my confidence. In my mind, I knew that I could play darts and it just continued from there. ”Clayton added.

“I watched TV. I watched the Premier League, I watched PDC darts. To be a name in the Premier League is fantastic, but to win such a huge title is just a dream come true.”

Clayton was one of many players to clinch his first major individual PDC title in a closed-door environment, and there was a lot of speculation as to whether the “new breed” would thrive in a more partisan atmosphere.

The Welshman answered this question categorically. Fans returned for the last five nights of Premier League action and there were 1,000 spectators in attendance at the Marshall Arena to cheer on Clayton for the victory.

“To get the fans back and hear them sing my name – usually it’s Michael van Gerwen’s vocals, Gary Anderson’s vocals, Peter Wright. Hearing a Jonny Clayton vocals is absolutely awesome and I’ll keep it forever.”

Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a 'dream come true' to win coveted title | Darts News

Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a 'dream come true' to win coveted title | Darts News 1:06
Jonny Clayton beat Jose de Sousa 11-5 to win the Premier League in his first season

Jonny Clayton beat Jose de Sousa 11-5 to win the Premier League in his first season

Clayton is the seventh man to claim Premier League glory, and the first to do so after finishing the league campaign in fourth place. However, despite his exploits, he will remain 17th on the Order of Merit of the PDC.

He is unquestionably in the wrong position. He raised £ 310,000 combined in his two televised triumphs in 2021, but he sits outside the top 16 in the world due to the fact that the two tournaments are unranked.

Still, he’s not discouraged by this reality and the prestige of winning one of the sport’s biggest prizes is reward enough. “I have to defend him every two years, so I’m going to keep him,” he joked.

However, few would stand against Clayton, adding to his loot over the next few months. Sky Sports’ Mark Webster praised his compatriot and paid tribute to his mentality.

“The emotion on Jonny’s face – I’ve never seen that of him. It just shows how much that means and how hard he worked. It’s an incredible achievement,” Webster told Sky Sports .

Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a 'dream come true' to win coveted title | Darts News

“Jonny shows exactly what you can achieve when you believe in yourself. After winning the World Cup you could see that this trophy meant a lot to him, just from a Wales perspective. it gave him another platform. “

Devon Petersen on Clayton …

“He told me at the start of the year – maybe this is his only chance. Well, Jonny, you’re the champion. You’re coming back next year now and you’ll have to do it all again.

“It never seemed like, ‘What am I going to accomplish here?’ He never realized he was going to be the Premier League champion. “

Clayton’s score throughout this year’s Premier League has been sensational. His relentless 140 strikes were integral to his success, but lavishness in the outside ring proved to be a stumbling block in the later stages of the Championship stage.

The Ferret rectified this at some point when it mattered, however. He converted 57% of his doubles attempts against Van den Bergh in their crucial meeting on Night 16 – before maintaining his clinical advantage on the night of the Finals.

The Pontyberem ace managed 21 of his 36 doubles attempts in the semi-finals and the final – an incredibly impressive 58% success rate.

Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a 'dream come true' to win coveted title | Darts News

Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton insists it is a 'dream come true' to win coveted title | Darts News 3:00 p.m.
Mark Webster and Devon Petersen review Premier League final at Milton Keynes

Mark Webster and Devon Petersen review Premier League final at Milton Keynes

Van Gerwen and De Sousa both recorded ton-plus averages against him, but Clayton was a possessed man – his intensity and focus was unwavering; it was not going to be denied.

“He kept overtaking Jose De Sousa and getting his back broken and I was like, could he be frustrated? He didn’t,” continued Webster.

“He believed in himself. He was comfortable all night; he looked comfortable last night after the swing on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“He’s been the best player the last few nights and that’s why he’s up there with the title. Thanks to him, it’s a huge accomplishment for Jonny Clayton.”

The darts are back on your Air sports screens in July, with nine days of coverage of the iconic Winter Gardens and World Matchplay – the action begins Saturday, July 17





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