Dartoids World


Thursday, April 5, 2023
Column HR401 

Jonny “The Ferret” Clayton had a career night when the Premier League landed for week nine in Berlin.  In order, Clayton took out Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price for his first win during this year’s Premier League play.

The Old Dart Coach is shocked (“shocked” he typed!) that no Brit tabloid writer took the opportunity to use a cheesy headline or lead for this story, such as “Ferret comes out of Hibernation to slay three!” (Many would concur with the use of the term “hibernation” as Clayton had been pretty much MIA for the first eight weeks of the Premier League.  Only Peter Wright’s poor play was keeping Clayton from the cellar of the Premier League.

The ODC, always the final word on useless information, can categorially state that ferrets do not hibernate.  In the winter they do sleep up to 18 hours per day.  That leads to the conclusion that Jonny “Ferret” Clayton has only been taking a power nap – from which he awakened in a really bad mood.

Clayton’s wakeup call, possibly made by the always resplendent John McDonald, came before an SRO crowd of 10,000 fans at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Berlin.  One might question if the ODC s trying to “make a Dolly Parton figure from a stick figure”.  Is this actually a big deal in the history of the dart world?  Maybe, although consider that Clayton took out 3 of the top four in the Order of Merit in a single night.   

Jonny Clayton vs. Michael van Gerwen:  Clayton took the opening 2 legs in 20 and 17 darts as van Gerwen looked as uncomfortable as “a Christian in London” or a “cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”  MvG woke up, gaining a leg in 15 but then giving it back in 18. The scenario was repeated as MvG moved to 2-3 when he got put in his place in 11 giving Clayton a 4-2 lead. MvG lost the bemused look on his face when he fired legs of 15, 15 and 14 to take 3 for a 5-4 lead, a leg from victory.  The score well could have been reversed as Clayton missed 2 from 24. In 15 and 14 Clayton got the 6-5 win.

Peter Wright vs. Gerwyn Price: “Snake Bite” Wright actually showed some life coming from 0-1 against Gerwyn Price as he took 3 for a 3-1 lead.  Price, as he will, missed 3 from 24 giving Wright a jump start.  In 13, 13 and 14 Price regained the lead 4-3.  Legs 5 and 6 were won by Price with Wright never seeing a double.

Nathan Aspinall vs. Chris Dobey: On the other side of the draw with Nathan Aspinall and Chris Dobey level at 3 the pair shared breaks leaving a tie at 4.  Aspinall broke the tie reaching 5-4 as he first missed one at 24 leaving 12.  Dobey found a T, also leaving 12.  Aspinall found the win.  Aspinall would then fall to an “in form” Michael Smith – “in form” in that Smith averaged 104.19.  His finishing was a dismal 6 for 16 although his scoring held Aspinall to only 6 doubles – finding 4 with his 2 misses, losing the leg at 4-3.  The win put Smith into his 3rd final, being 1-1 to this point.

Jonny Clayton vs. Gerwyn Price:  Level at 1, Clayton broke in 13 as Price answered in 2 after Clayton had one at tops.  A 3-2 lead for Clayton was the result of a 15-darter that would have been 11 but for 3 misses.  In 17 it became 4-2 again with a pair of missed doubles.  Price snatched one back in 11 (3-4).  Trading legs, Clayton got to 5-4 when he needed 13 darts for the win but used 14.

 Jonny Clayton vs. Michael Smith: Chapter and verse have been written about the importance of scoring average in winning.  Those that discount it use the golf analogy: “Drive for show… putt for dough”.  In this final Michael Smith would average 97.74 to Jonny Clayton’s  91.79.  The difference was finishing as Clayton closed at 54.5%.

Scoring is seldom a problem for Smith as he started with a smooth 13-darter.  Attempting to score a break Smith missed 2 at a double giving Clayton a chance to take 40 with 2 to tie.  Behind, Clayton hit 4 t20’s and a t19 to move ahead 2-1 with an 86-check. Then it was 3-1 Clayton as he outscored Smith with 3 t20’s plus t19, checking from 80.

The 5th leg was there for Clayton when T80 left 56.  The16 fell, followed by 2 missed darts. That allowed Smith to close the gap (3-2) in 17.  Given life, Smith built the best leg of the match as he got even with a t30 out and then followed with 14 darters to lead 4-3.

The old Devil, Bugaboo Doubles, then attacked Smith as he missed 2 from 40 giving Clayton the opening to level at 4.  He grabbed it.  Smith missed 2 doubles presenting Clayton the opportunity to close with his third 80+ finish of the match, which he took.  Clayton clinched his first Premier League win in fashion with a flash – T20, T20, 20, d20.

Clayton is one of those players that are easy to root for.  He started the night 7th of 8, ending it 5th with a good chance to make the finals as he will meet all those in front of him.  This week:

Michael van Gerwen over Chris Dobey

Jonny Clayton continues winning and moves ahead of Nathan Aspinall

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs. Gerwyn Price (coming off a win at the Interwetten International Darts Open over MvG).        Price will take out Van den Bergh.

Peter Wright defeats vs. Michael Smith.


  Points Nights Won
Michael van Gerwen 25 3
Gerwyn Price 20 3
Michael Smith 15 1
Nathan Aspinall 15 0
Jonny Clayton 12 1
Chris Dobey 10 1
Dimitri Van den Bergh 9 0
Peter Wright 2 0

Stay thirsty my friends.



  • Howie Reed

    Astute, often controversial, and always humorous, the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed (a former rodeo cowboy and advertising executive), is heralded as the Dean of Darts Chroniclers - the most prolific and widely followed writer ever about our sport. He goes back decades with the legends and knows where the skeletons are buried (just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers!). Here are four well-known facts about the Old Dart Coach: 1) he is a Republican, 2) he loves the ladies, 3) he can drink most anybody under the table, and 4) he throws darts as bad as Dartoid.