Brilliant Jonny Clayton stuns five-time champion Michael van Gerwen with a 10-8 semifinal victory; Portugal’s Jose De Sousa joins him in the final after a 10-9 win over Nathan Aspinall
By Paul Prenderville at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Last updated: 05/28/21 21:11 pm
Jonny Clayton ended Michael van Gerwen’s perfect Premier League semi-final record to set up a final showdown with fellow debutant Jose De Sousa who beat Nathan Aspinall.
Van Gerwen had secured a record-breaking eighth first place in the league stage on Thursday, but missed the last four in 2020 – the first time he had failed to reach Finals Night.
He returned to the final and with a 100% record in his previous seven semi-finals he had high hopes of a record-tying sixth title which would have brought him to the same level as Phil Taylor.
However, Clayton has been riding the crest of a wave since winning the World Cup of Darts with Gerwyn Price last year.
With his place in the semi-finals already securing him the biggest payday of his career, the Masters champion rallied 7-6 to win four of five rounds and secure at least £ 120,000 and a shot at 250,000 £ first. price.
Grand Slam darts champion De Sousa joined him with a 10-9 victory over last year’s runner-up Nathan Aspinall to ensure that for the second year in a row there would be two debutants. in the final, and another winner for the first time after the triumph of Glen Durrant. Last year.
Premier League Darts 2021: semi-final results
|Michael van Gerwen 8-10 Jonny Clayton|
|Jose De Sousa 10-9 Nathan Aspinall|
Fabulous Ferret completes Van Gerwen’s quest
Clayton continued his impressive record against Van Gerwen, beating the five-time Premier League champion for the second time this season to reach his second televised individual grand final.
A high quality contest saw the two men averaging north of 100 and sharing four 100+ finishes, with Van Gerwen being the first to strike.
After setting a new record for over 100 finishes in the tournament, MVG started with a class 108, giving him a 24th triple-digit pass in the competition, but Clayton hit straight back – pinning the target for a brilliant 127 .
The Welshman hit the first shot when he pulled out 88 for the first break only for Van Gerwen to hit back with a 12-dart at level 3-3.
Van Gerwen’s sensational 140 thanks to a pair of double tops, maintained a level competition but missed a dart to regain the lead. Clayton’s 14 darts put him ahead and he consolidated to take a 6-4 lead in the interval.
The Dutchman returned with his first back-to-back matches of the game to restore parity and, for good measure, added a third to gain control when he pinned the target for a 7-6 lead – but he didn’t. had to get that one more leg.
Clayton stopped the rot as the pair traded punches before Clayton landed the decisive blow. With the game all square at 8-8, the ferret produced a brilliant 11-dart leg against the throw to keep clear of the finish line.
There we don’t have the nerves of the Welshman, who shot a brilliant 121 finish to seal his place in the final and just inflict a third Finals Night loss on Van Gerwen who also becomes the first chef de table not to make the final. final.
Absolutely empty of losing that. It was a good game, I missed a few chances and Jonny took them. Credit to @ JonnyClay9 who played a phenomenal game and good luck to him in the final because he’s a great guy. Thanks for all the support this week 💚💚 pic.twitter.com/88QMhx14A4
– Michael Van Gerwen (@ MvG180) May 28, 2021
De Sousa borders Asp to keep his first dream alive
De Sousa kept his cool in a decisive final game to deny Aspinall the chance to do better than last year, edging Asp with a 10-9 victory.
Like Clayton, De Sousa is making an unforgettable Premier League debut, and there was little between him and Aspinall meeting for a second night in a row after The Special One won on Thursday.
Leading 2-1, De Sousa – who pulled out 106 in his first leg – misstated 37 to give Aspinall a chance to level what he didn’t pass up. The Stockport man continued to catch up, tying 3-3 when he only needed five 296 darts for a brilliant 11 dart leg.
Aspinall broke for a 5-4 lead as Portugal’s Man O’Scores got a bit lost to leave Wayne Mardle speechless for a second night.
There was little left between the two, a frantic 14th stage saw both men cut their luck before Asp held steady at 7-7.
Shooting from behind 8-7, Aspinall went through six darts to the perfect third stage of the competition, and although he was not up to par, a dart of 10 turned the game into a best of three. competition.
De Sousa kept his nose forward thanks to a brilliant 121 but Asp made sure the game held the distance where the Portuguese pitcher remained calm to claim his place in the final.
Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens in July, with nine days of coverage of the iconic Winter Gardens and World Matchplay – the action kicks off Saturday, July 17