January 26, 2021, 12:28

PDC Home Tour Play-Offs: Jonny Clayton claims last semi-final spot ahead of Scott Waites

PDC Home Tour Play-Offs: Jonny Clayton claims last semi-final spot ahead of Scott Waites

A look back at the story of the eighth night of the PDC Home Tour Play-Offs, which saw Jonny Clayton win all three of his games to progress

A rampant Jonny Clayton secured the last semi-final spot of the Home Tour on Tuesday as he fended off competition from Scott Waites in Group Eight of the playoffs.

The Ferret, the group’s highest-ranked player at world No 15, set the tone when he was made to work for his win over former two-time BDO world champion Waites. Clayton followed it up with victories over German No 1 Max Hopp and world No 89 Carl Wilkinson, who had been exceptional on his way to winning Night 13 earlier in the tournament.

Scotty 2 Hotty applied some pressure as he dropped just one leg across convincing wins over Wilkinson and Hopp, but there was no stopping 2020 Premier League challenger Clayton.

“I’m a happy man,” said Clayton. “To be honest, there’s eight good players and at the end of the day, we’re all going to battle it out for a spot on the last night.”

PDC Home Tour – Tuesday’s results (Group Eight)

Jonny Clayton 6-3 Scott Waites
Max Hopp 6-3 Carl Wilkinson
Scott Waites 6-0 Carl Wilkinson
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Max Hopp
Max Hopp 1-6 Scott Waites
Carl Wilkinson 2-6 Jonny Clayton

Group Eight – final standings

Pts Legs +/-
(1) Jonny Clayton 6 10
(2) Scott Waites 4 8
(3) Max Hopp 2 -5
(4) Carl Wilkinson 0 -13

Clayton, a semi-finalist at this year’s UK Open, overcame a strong Waites 6-3 in the opening game of the night after giving up an early two-leg lead before pulling away with the pair level at three apiece. Such was the quality on show that the pair produced six 180s between them as well as a 177 visit, while winner Clayton averaged an impressive 104.

It was Hopp that claimed game two with a 6-3 win over Wilkinson, the pair averaging in the 80s throughout a contest that teased some spectacular finishing at times. Having found himself 3-0 down, Wilkinson carved a way back into the match with consecutive legs before Hopp restored his three-leg advantage.

The German, playing with new darts and at a quicker tempo than usual, lost just one more leg before winning the race to six in a matchup that had seen him threaten a nine-darter and a host of ton-plus checkouts.

Wilkinson’s chances of progressing and his admirable Home Tour campaign were both over in game three when he suffered a 6-0 whitewash at the hands of fellow Yorkshireman Waites.

An outstanding Clayton averaged 102 as he went top of the group with a hard-fought 6-3 over Hopp, who fired six 180s in the match. The Welshman started in style as he responded to a Hopp maximum with a 177 visit to leave himself 32 for a 1-0 lead, with the two men trading the opening four legs.

Hopp produced a stylish 126 checkout for a game-high 12-dart leg to make it 3-3, but couldn’t contain Clayton as he made it 4-3 with visits of 180, 140 and 165 to leave himself 16. He then claimed two decisive legs, including an eighth that saw him pin double 10 after Hopp had bust.

Waites stayed within touching distance of top spot with a 6-1 win over Hopp in the penultimate game of the night, knowing qualification would be his were Wilkinson able to beat Clayton in the final match – by no means an easy feat.

Having beaten Wilkinson 6-0 earlier in the night, Waites made it 10 successive legs by building a 4-0 lead before sealing the points three legs later. It marked a Home Tour farewell to Hopp, who undoubtedly displayed his potential moving forward.

Despite going 1-0 down, Clayton eventually wrapped up the group against Wilkinson with a deciding 12-dart leg to win 6-2 and complete the clean sweep.

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PDC Home Tour Play Offs

Semi-Final Group One Semi-Final Group Two
Jelle Klaasen Rob Cross
Mike De Decker Joe Cullen
Gary Anderson Nathan Aspinall
Dave Chisnall Jonny Clayton
to be played Wednesday June 3 to be played Thursday June 4

Group One, scheduled for June 3, will see former two-time World Champion Gary Anderson take on 2019 Grand Prix finalist Dave Chisnall, former BDO World Champion Jelle Klaasen and 2020 European Q School winner Mike De Decker.

Former UK Open winner Nathan Aspinall will then come up against former World Championship and World Matchplay champion Rob Cross, 2019 Masters quarter-finalist Joe Cullen and Clayton in Group Two on Thursday, June 4.

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