Smith comes through Clayton classic

By Editorial Staff 30/12/2021

Smith edged an Ally Pally classic to deny Clayton the chance to add the World Championship title to his four televised triumphs in the last 12 months.
The 2019 finalist remains in pursuit of his first major glory after winning a thrilling tussle with the in-form Welshman.
Clayton edged a thrilling first set in a deciding leg, before doubling his lead with a 3-1 success in set two.
Smith responded well, taking the third set by a two-leg margin before edging set four with a 13-darter to win the decider, and claiming the fifth set 3-1 to take the lead.
The duo then exchanged big finishes, with Smith’s 121 sandwiched between 161 and 105 checkouts from Clayton, who clinched set six on double 12.
Former World Youth Champion Smith moved to the brink of victory when he finished 112 to break in the third leg of the deciding set, only for Clayton to take out 120 to force a tie-break.
The Premier League, Masters and World Grand Prix champion then executed a 62 finish to place himself a leg from glory, but it was to be Smith’s day as checkouts of 72, 65 and 68 earned him a breath-taking win.
“That deserved to be the final, it was a great game,” said Smith, who landed 11 of the game’s 25 180s.
“Jonny is a class player but, going into the game, I just kept telling myself that I’ve got the game to beat anybody. I’ve always believed that.
“I won’t be getting carried away. It’s only one game and I had poor spells. Jonny played so well that he brought a better level out in me.
“In the past I’ve probably been guilty of wanting it too much so I’m not making that mistake this year. I will focus on my darts and see how far that attitude can take me.”
Gary Anderson claimed an incredible comeback victory to complete the last 16 line-up as Ian White let slip a three-set lead, allowing the two-time World Champion to advance.
White capitalised on a slow start from the Scotsman to open up a three-nil lead in sets when he took out 124 to win the third set’s deciding leg.
But Anderson reeled off six of the following seven legs to keep himself in contention, before punishing his opponent for a missed match-dart in set six, which last year’s runner-up won from two legs behind with his second 111 finish of the contest.
Anderson hit the front in the match for the first time by pinning double five in the third leg of the seventh set, going on to complete the great escape by landing double ten.
“I got away with it,” admitted Anderson, who will take on 2018 winner Rob Cross in the last 16 on Thursday evening.
“I wasn’t myself and I thought I was going home when I lost the first three sets but I didn’t think Ian played that well either.
“I always keep fighting and I always keep going to the end. Tonight, it paid off.
“Rob Cross hasn’t been great since winning the World Championship but in the last few months he’s been brilliant and I’ll have to up my game.”

Luke Humphries received a bye to the fourth round after Dave Chisnall withdrew following a positive Covid-19 test result.
The action continues on Thursday with the final day of darts in 2021, when the quarter-final line-up will be completed following the six remaining third-round ties.
Humphries takes on Dobey in the afternoon session, while the evening session includes a clash of World Champions between Anderson and Cross, and Peter Wright's meeting with Ryan Searle.
The tournament is being broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, through the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7, and on PDCTV (excluding UK and Netherlands-based subscribers).

2021/22 William Hill World Darts Championship
Wednesday December 29
Afternoon Session
3x Third Round
(R3) Alan Soutar 4-3 Jose De Sousa (2-3, 3-0, 3-1, 0-3, 2-3, 3-2, 3-1)
(R3) Luke Humphries bye Dave Chisnall
(R3) Callan Rydz 4-0 Nathan Aspinall (3-1, 3-1, 3-0, 3-2)

Evening Session
1x Third Round, 2x Fourth Round
(R3) Gary Anderson 4-3 Ian White (2-3, 0-3, 2-3, 3-1, 3-0, 3-2, 3-1)
(R4) Gerwyn Price 4-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode (1-3, 3-0, 3-0, 3-0, 3-0)
(R4) Michael Smith 4-3 Jonny Clayton (2-3, 1-3, 3-1, 3-2, 3-1, 1-3, 6-4)
Thursday December 30
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
3x Fourth Round
Raymond Smith v Mervyn King
Alan Soutar v Callan Rydz
Chris Dobey v Luke Humphries

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
3x Fourth Round
James Wade v Martijn Kleermaker
Gary Anderson v Rob Cross
Peter Wright v Ryan Searle
William Hill Tournament Outright Odds
Gerwyn Price 2/1, Michael Smith 7/2, Peter Wright 9/2, Rob Cross 8/1, Gary Anderson 14/1, Callan Rydz 14/1, James Wade 16/1, Ryan Searle 16/1, Chris Dobey 25/1, Luke Humphries 25/1
*Prices correct at time of send, subject to fluctuation. 18+.

Lead Image: PDC

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