Jonny Clayton is the next Premier League challenger gunning for glory.

Following on from the contenders last year, no player making a cameo appearance has yet scored a victory. John Henderson fell short against Nathan Aspinall in Aberdeen, before Fallon Sherrock grabbed a draw against Glen Durrant last week. Clayton plays Michael Smith in Cardiff, and the Welsh star is just happy to have the opportunity.

“It’s brilliant. Obviously I wanted to be a part of the Premier League. I didn’t know if I’d get that chance, but I have, and I’m one happy chappy,” Clayton told Live Darts.

“Being Welsh, I thought I was in with a good chance. But then again, so was Jamie Lewis, for instance – we’ve all got that chance.”

“I want to be consistent

The Ferret will join World Cup team-mate Gerwyn Price on the Premier League stage in Cardiff. The Welsh number two wants to join his compatriot in being a player regularly seen at the back end of tournaments – victory over Michael van Gerwen at the Masters was an ideal start to the season for a player who suffered inconsistent form in 2019.

“I know I’ve got to step up to a very big challenge. I hope it’s going to kick off my 2020 season,” Clayton said.

“My head is in a different place this year. When I play, I can play. But then again, I’ve had some nightmares.

“I want to be consistent, and I want to get to the quarter-finals, the semis of basically everything.”

Tunnel vision

Clayton has won three PDC titles, including one in 2019, but admits that he could do more to improve. If he can continue to kick on, the Welsh ace could be back as a Premier League regular in 2021. But the world number 16 has learned after his recent travails to take each tournament as it comes.

“I started to look at where I was in the rankings rather than concentrating on darts.

“Now I’m going to get back to thinking nothing of the rankings – I still want to stay in the top 16 – but concentrate on the darts, not the rankings.”

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

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Author: Ed McCosh