Clayton the returning hero.

Red Dragon Darts

Jonny Clayton is set to receive a heroes’ welcome on the opening night of the 2022 Cazoo Premier League in Cardiff on Thursday, as a sold-out Motorpoint Arena welcomes the dawn of a new era in darts.

Popular Welshman Clayton will begin the defence of the title he sensationally claimed on debut in 2021 on Night One of a new-look Premier League which will see eight players contest 16 mini-events during the season.

The radical new format will see each event comprising quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final over the best of 11 legs, with ranking points awarded each night to form the league table from which the top four players will progress to the Play-Offs.

Clayton will make his homecoming in the Welsh capital against Premier League newcomer Joe Cullen in the quarter-finals, and the 47-year-old is determined to make it a night to remember.

“I can’t wait, I just want to get out on that stage and embrace the feeling,” said Clayton.

“Last year was an incredible year for me, winning four TV titles including the Premier League – which is regarded as one of the biggest tournaments in darts.

“My challenge now is to build on that, and I truly believe I am a better player now than when I won it last year.

“With the new format, it’s going to throw up all sorts of thrills and spills but I believe in my ability and the consistency that I’ve gained over the last couple of years.

“I just enjoy playing darts and take the attitude ‘if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.'”

Following 2020 and 2021 tournaments played predominantly behind closed doors, fans will return in 2022 to arenas across Europe and Clayton can’t wait to experience the unique atmosphere.

“Playing in Cardiff as reigning champion on the opening night, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Clayton continued.

“I played here as a Challenger a couple of years ago and even though I didn’t get the result I wanted, the crowd were amazing.

“I’m determined to put that right and give the Welsh fans something to cheer.”


Lead Image: PDC

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