Welshman Jonny Clayton continued his remarkable rise with victory over Jose De Sousa to win the Premier League title on Friday night.
Clayton, who finished fourth in the table, picked up a cheque for £250,000, having earlier knocked out leader Michael Van Gerwen in the semi-finals at the Marshall Arena.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at The Ferret’s impressive progress.
Don’t give up the day job
Clayton, who also works as a plasterer for Carmarthenshire County Council, has long threatened a breakthrough campaign from the edges of the world’s top 16. In 2017, he made it through to a first televised final at the Players Championship, where he was swept aside 11-2 by Dutchman Van Gerwen. Clayton went on to win the 2018 Austrian Open, beating compatriot Gerwyn Price.
Top of the world
Clayton, a keen rugby player at fly-half from which he takes his nickname, paired up with Price at the 2020 PDC World Cup of Darts. The Welsh duo knocked out Russia, Scotland, Wales and Germany before claiming the title on the back of a 3-0 victory over England’s Rob Cross and Michael Smith.
In January, Clayton made a major statement by winning the Masters, which was held behind closed doors in Milton Keynes. The field was expanded from 16 to 24 players, which saw Clayton included in the main draw. Victory over De Sousa was followed by tense 10-9 wins against Van Gerwen and then James Wade before Clayton edged out defending champion Peter Wright in the semi-finals. Mervyn King was beaten 11-8 in the final as Clayton lifted the trophy to take £60,000 in prize money.
Premier League triumph
Victory in the Masters saw Clayton invited into the Premier League. He battled back from having slipped down to eighth to defeat Dimitri Van Den Bergh in his last group match to qualify for the finals night in Milton Keynes. Van Gerwen was defeated 10-8 in the semi-finals, a first loss for the Dutchman at that stage of the tournament, before De Sousa was dispatched 11-5 as Clayton secured the biggest title of his career.
Time to give up the day job?
Clayton, 46, became the first player to win the Premier League crown after finishing fourth in the group stage. Added to the pot from his Masters triumph, he has now collected more than £300,000 this year, which will push him further up the PDC Order of Merit – and might just be enough to consider hanging up his overalls for a while.