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PDC Darts Premier League returns to Aberdeen

Jonny Clayton claims his third Darts Premier League night win of the season in the Granite City - bringing you a wrap-up of the night live from P&J is Isti Miskolczy

by: Isti Miskolczy

After a year-long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cazoo Premier League Darts finally returned to Aberdeen. Upon overcoming both local Scottish players and then Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen in the final, Welshman "The Ferret" Jonny Clayton secured his third win in this season, which saw the format of the Premier League completely rethought.

Photo courtesy of Steve Welsh/PDC

Every night of this eighteenth edition of the tournament sees the same eight players playing off in quarter-finals, semi-finals, and a final with points awarded to the semi-finalists and the finalists. As further motivation, each night's winner gets to walk away with 10.000 pounds of prize money. Whoever finishes in the top four of the overall leaderboard by night 16 will face each other in the play-offs in Berlin on the 13th of June.

The world's - arguably - eight best darts players have arrived to Aberdeen with Michael van Gerwen topping the league table with 22 points followed by Jonny Clayton with 21 points in second and James Wade with 18 points in third. As for the Scottish players, Peter Wright came to the Granite City in fourth place with also 18 points while Gary Anderson started the night with being last in the standings and - unfortunately, could not improve on that.

First quarter-final: Jonny Clayton 6:2 Gary Anderson

Following a tribute to SkySport's darts commentator Nigel Pearson who passed away on Good Friday, Jonny Clayton was "greeted" with an extensive booing by the Scottish crowd as opposed to "The Flying Scotsman" Gary Anderson being warmly welcomed and even signing a flag for a fan in the front row. Despite the crowd overwhelmingly being on Anderson's side, Clayton quickly took a 3-0 lead. Later, even though Anderson climbed back to 4-2, "The Ferret" quickly wrapped up the game 6-2.

“I struggled to get going, I had a good leg with the 12-darter and started to get into the game, but it was a frustrating night" - told Anderson after the match.

180 thrown: Clayton: 3 / Anderson: 1

Average: Clayton: 93.53 / Anderson: 87.44

Second quarter-final: Joe Cullen 5:6 Peter Wright

The reigning World Champion and his Scotland-coloured outfit were welcomed with similar enthusiasm by local fans. Peter Wright even allowed himself a big "come on" shout just before commencing his iconic walk-on. Both he and "Rockstar" Joe Cullen are aspiring to win their first-ever Darts Premier League title, however, this particular match brought "Snakebite" closer to that. After a tight 2:2, despite the supporters loudly singing "Flower of Scotland" and their Peter Wright chant in the background, Joe Cullen was leading 4-2. Yet, Wright eventually climbed back 4:4 and then won the match.

180 thrown: Cullen: 3 / Wright: 4

Average: Cullen: 96.08 / Wright: 103.22

Third quarter-final: James Wade 6:5 Michael Smith

James "The Machine" Wade never placing lower than 11th in the world rankings since 2006 met with Michael Smith in the third quarter-final with "Bully Boy" being the only one in the line-up still chasing a night victory. Sadly, this was not Smith's day either. Despite grabbing the lead 0:2 and then 1:3, he eventually lost 6:5 after Wade had climbed back and took the match to a deciding leg. Smith's cause was not helped by two of his darts popping out either.

180 thrown: Wade: 0 / Smith: 1

Average: Wade: 89.74 / Smith: 91.04

Fourth quarter-final: Michael Van Gerwen 6:3 Gerwyn Price

With his new walk-on song of Katy Perry's "Roar" making its debut only a week ago in Manchester, "The Iceman" was hoping for a roaring win and a better position on the standings table but had to concede to Van Gerwen for the first time in this edition of the Premier League. (Night three in Belfast and night six in Nottingham both saw the Welshman winning.) Price really had and has to start winning consistenly if he wants to make it into the top four by night sixteen, however, today MVG proved to be better. Initially, it was a close match with 1:1 2:2, and 3:3. From then, Van Gerwen quickly wrapped up the game and defeated Price 6:3.

180 thrown: MVG: 3 / Price: 1

Average: MVG: 106.93 / Price: 92.10

First semi-final: Peter Wright 5:6 Jonny Clayton

Peter Wright had a really good start to the match and was leading 3:1 and then 4:2, however, despite the constant discouragement of Clayton by the Scottish crowd, "The Ferret" came back 4:4 and even took the lead 4:5. Next, each player won a leg meaning that Clayton reached the final out of the two. Remarkable points of the match were Wright's four 180s when the crowd witnessed several pints of beers being thrown up in the air.

Photo courtesy of Steve Welsh/PDC

180 thrown: Wright: 4 / Clayton: 4

Average: Wright: 99.60 / Clayton: 96.21

Second semi-final: Michael Van Gerwen 6:3 James Wade

The second semi-final saw MVG starting with a breaker throw but Wade eventually did break back before Michael caught a lead at 2:1 and then 3:1. Shortly after the score became 4:3 and then 5:3. Van Gerwen in the end won the game and set the final score of 6:3 by hitting a bullseye with the last dart of his checkout.

180 thrown: MVG: 3 / Wade: 1

Average: MVG: 99.84 / Wade: 88.25

Final: Jonny Clayton 6:5 Michael Van Gerwen

With the stake being the winner of this game also finishing night 11 at the top of the leaderboard, both players had to perform very well, which could be seen in their averages too. So far in this season of the Premier League, the Welshman and the Dutchman have met four times with both of them winning twice. This final was very tight until 2:2 when Van Gerwen took out a 94 with two D19s and with that escaped to 2:3 and then 2:4. Clayton, however, climbed back and despite MVG pulling off a breaker throw, he still won the final 6:5. Referee Russ Bray had to attempt to halt the crowd's unwelcoming reaction to Clayton's throws, however, that left MVG fuming in the end.

Speaking to The Gaudie after the final Jonny Clayton revealed that whenever his opponents were leading against him he was thinking "Jonny please stay straight and find triple twenty" and hoping that his opponents are missing.

180 thrown: Clayton: 4 / MVG: 3

Average: Clayton: 103.40 (highest average of the night) / MVG: 102.76

Photo courtesy of Steve Welsh/PDC

After night 11 the leaderboard is as follows: 1. Clayton (26 points), 2. Van Gerwen (25 points), 3. James Wade (20 points), 4. Peter Wright (20 points), 5. Joe Cullen (15 points), 6. Gerwyn Price (11 points), 7. Michael Smith (8 points), 8. Gary Anderson (7 points).

The Cazoo Premier League Darts will continue with night 12 next Tuesday in Dublin before hopping back to Scotland again for night 13 on the 5th of May when Glasgow will see the two Scotsman Gary Anderson and Peter Wright facing each other in the first quarter-final of the night.

Stay tuned for the coverage of The Gaudie from the SSE Hydro Arena as well.


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