JONNY CLAYTON claimed his maiden PDC title with victory in Players Championship 22 in Barnsley, defeating James Wilson 6-1 with a superb display of finishing in the final.
Following victory for Rob Cross in Tuesday’s opening event, the double-header at the Barnsley Metrodome saw a field of PDC Tour Card Holders and PDPA Associate Members competing in the year’s final Players Championship event.
Welsh ace Clayton battled through the field to reach his first PDC final, before seeing off Wilson with the aid of some classy finishing to pick up the £10,000 first prize and become the 15th different winner in 22 Players Championship events this year.
Clayton began his day with a 6-3 win over Canada’s John Norman Jnr before seeing off nine-time TV finalist Terry Jenkins, Tuesday’s Players Championship winner Rob Cross and Darren Webster to reach the quarter-finals.
There, he claimed a third successive 6-5 win as he edged past Antonio Alcinas, while he saw off Dutch prospect Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 in the semi-finals after the youngster hit back from 5-1 down.
The final, though, proved to be Clayton’s biggest win of the day as he raced past Wilson for the title.
The opening two legs were shared as Clayton’s opening double eight, following an earlier maximum, was cancelled out by an 84 finish for an 11-darter by Wilson as the pair traded 180s.
However, the Welshman claimed leg three on tops, broke with a 120 finish in leg four and then took out 102 for a 4-1 lead as Wilson missed three darts to break back.
He then fired in a 180 to leave 84 as a two-dart finish left him 5-1 up, before checking out 121 on the bull in leg seven – after the pair again traded maximums – to complete a superb performance.
“It’s fantastic,” said Clayton. “I had nerves but I don’t think I was as nervous in the final as I was in the semis because it was just one more step and you’ve got to try and relax in the final and let them go.
“Hopefully this is a step in the right direction. It’s all down to practice and we all aim for the same thing, to be with the best and to try and beat the best.
“The World Championship is around the corner and I wouldn’t mind winning that!”
Wilson was also seeking to claim his maiden PDC title and overcame Berry van Peer, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Andy Hamilton, Andy Jenkins, Ron Meulenkamp and Jamie Caven on the way to his second ProTour final.
Caven had needed to reach the semi-finals to force his way into the reckoning for a place in November’s Players Championship Finals and did just that with his best run on the circuit for almost 18 months.
De Zwaan, a winner on the PDC Unicorn Development Tour this year, enjoyed his best finish on the ProTour, whitewashing John Bowles and then seeing off Stephen Bunting, Joe Murnan, Michael Smith and Richard North to reach the semi-finals as he also claimed a Players Championship Finals spot.
Last week’s Unibet World Grand Prix semi-finalist John Henderson was joined in the last eight by Dutchman Ron Meulenkamp, emerging star Richard North and resurgent Spanish ace Antonio Alcinas, who reached a Players Championship semi-final recently.
Chris Dobey and Jan Dekker also secured Players Championship Finals spots on Wednesday as they reached the last 16 of the year’s final Players Championship event.
Hamilton had earlier knocked out top seed Peter Wright – the new world number two – in the second round as he continued to show signs of a return to form, while World Grand Prix finalist Simon Whitlock and Premier League aces Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts were first round victims.
Players Championship 22
Wednesday October 11, Barnsley Metrodome
James Wilson 6-2 Andy Jenkins
Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Diogo Portela
John Henderson 6-4 Chris Dobey
Jamie Caven 6-3 Adrian Lewis
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-5 Michael Smith
Richard North 6-2 Ian White
Antonio Alcinas 6-4 Jan Dekker
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Darren Webster
James Wilson 6-5 Ron Meulenkamp
Jamie Caven 6-5 John Henderson
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-1 Richard North
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Antonio Alcinas
James Wilson 6-3 Jamie Caven
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Jonny Clayton 6-1 James Wilson
Full results can be seen at https://www.pdc.tv/node/7267