Premier League Darts 2021: Jonny Clayton ‘cannot wait’ for debut – BBC Sport

Jonny Clayton
Jonny Clayton beat Mervyn King 11-8 in the final to win the Masters title in January 2021.

Jonny Clayton says he “cannot wait” to compete in the Premier League ahead of the competition’s opening night in Milton Keynes on 5 April.

“I had the contender spot last year, but to be a full member this year, I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.

Clayton, from Pontyberem, has taken the darts world by storm in 2021, winning three titles already this year.

‘The Ferret’, 46, won his first individual televised title at the Masters in January.

It was that success which earned the Weshman the final Premier League spot.

Since then council plasterer Clayton has reached four out of seven finals on the PDC ProTour, walking away with two Players Championship titles.

For Clayton, competing as one of the top 10 players in the world in the Premier League is a dream come true.

“We all as darts players dream of playing in the Premier League – it’s winning majors and playing in the Premier League,” he said.

“My form is good at the moment and I’m looking forward to competing in the Premier League with this form.”

The Premier League had been due to start in February and usually visits the big arenas in the UK as well as travelling to European cities during a 17-night tour across a four-month season.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the opening phase has been delayed until April and will be held behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

Clayton will face former world champion Peter Wright on the opening night.

“He’s going to want to teach me a lesson but hopefully this young Welshman can show him a lesson or two, so let’s see what happens,” Clayton said.

“I am quietly confident but it’s all on what happens on the day.

“If everything goes right on the day it’ll be a good day, if not it’s going to one hard task.”

Clayton is also going to be playing against world number one and world champion Gerwyn Price for the first time since their World Cup of Darts victory playing together for Wales.

“I do find it difficult when you’re playing against friends, one is waiting for the other to get going so sometimes the game can be a bit slow, but sometimes both of you can fly off and it’s a brilliant game,” he said.

After Clayton’s successes this year, there is talk in the darts world that he is the player to watch in the Premier League.

Clayton admits he is aware of the weight of expectation .

“It’s the way people talk, it’s always, ‘oh Jonny is the one on form’ or ‘Jonny is the one doing better out of the darts at the moment’,” he said.

“But you try not to overthink it and try to put that behind you, because yesterday’s game has gone and there’s nothing you can do about yesterday, it’s just today’s game that is important.

“Obviously it is at the back of my head because you feel good and if people are talking about you, saying that you are throwing some of the best darts of the year and being one of the best players, well obviously it feels good and it is going to put pressure on you.

“But whatever you do yesterday has gone and today is a different day and you just try and do it again.”

2021 Premier League Nights

  • Monday, 5 April – Friday, 9 April: Nights One to Five
  • Monday, 19 April – Thursday, 22 April: Nights Six to Judgement Night

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