Premier League Darts: Peter Wright wins opening night in Cardiff | Darts News

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Peter Wright delivered under pressure in the final (Credit: Steven Paston/PDC)

Peter Wright delivered under pressure in the final (Credit: Steven Paston/PDC)

Peter Wright won the opening night of the 2022 Cazoo Premier League after beating Jonny Clayton 6-1 in Thursday night’s final in Cardiff.

The World Champion showed excellent darts in the final, averaging over a ton and finished the job with a 121 checkout.

Wright is the first man to take home the £10,000 bonus for an event win and the evening marked the first night of the competition’s radically new format.

During the 2022 season, each stop on the Premier League calendar will consist of quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final.

Ranking points are awarded each night to form the league table from which the top four players advance to the play-offs in May. The competition now moves to Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena next Thursday.

2022 Cazoo Premier League – Results Night 1

quarter finals Johnny Clayton 6-2 Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price 3-6 James Wade
Peter Wright 6-3 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 4-6 Gary Anderson
semifinals Johnny Clayton 6-4 James Wade
Peter Wright 6-5 Gary Anderson
final Johnny Clayton 1-6 Peter Wright

Wright started the final with a 15-dart break, then solidified it with a productive hold to set the tone.

Despite a full house at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena urging Clayton to continue singing the Welsh national anthem, the World Champion marched on. He almost threw a nine-darter in the fourth leg, missing T19 after seven perfect darts.

While Wright went about his business efficiently, Clayton was unable to find the form he produced earlier in the night to beat James Wade and Joe Cullen en route to the finals.

Peter Wright won the first night of the Premier League and sacked Jonny Clayton with that 121 checkout

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Peter Wright won the first night of the Premier League and sacked Jonny Clayton with that 121 checkout

Peter Wright won the first night of the Premier League and sacked Jonny Clayton with that 121 checkout

Wright finished the rather straight-forward final with an average of 113.02 and a six from nine in doubles. Overall he was satisfied with his work.

“In the previous format, you played a game and you won or lost. That was it, so you couldn’t get used to the stage,” Wright said.

“It’s a bonus because you get used to the stage and the great atmosphere. It makes a difference.

“I have a new feeling – the Phil Taylor feeling. I used to think how focused this man is on every single game and I found it earlier this year after winning the World Cup.

“Obviously a slip at the Masters but I think I can keep going. I want to play every single tournament and win every tournament.”

Wayne Mardle reflects on the first night of the Premier League in Cardiff

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Wayne Mardle reflects on the first night of the Premier League in Cardiff

Wayne Mardle reflects on the first night of the Premier League in Cardiff

In the first semi-final, Clayton trailed 4-2 to take his place in the night’s decider by beating Wade 6-4.

The Welshman had darts for a comfortable 2-0 lead and missed, disrupting his flow. While trying to find it again, Wade created his own two-legged pillow.

However, Clayton remained calm and relegated himself to the semifinals. In the ninth leg, Wade missed a 64 finish to take a 5-4 lead and ‘The Ferret’ pulled out 52 under pressure.

With the home crowd behind him, Clayton once again punished a missed finish from Wade and secured his final place with his second match dart at D12.

Gary Anderson missed one last place but got that 91 finish

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Gary Anderson missed one last place but got that 91 finish

Gary Anderson missed one last spot but got that 91 finish

The other semi-final was an all-Scottish affair between Wright and Anderson and it went the distance before Wright triumphed 6-5.

The World Champion took the lead early, punishing Anderson’s poor finishing.

Although Wright gave up a three-legged and missed a match dart when the score was 5-4, Wright delivered when it counted in the deciding leg. Two tons and a 140 took control before sealing the deal with a 76 cash.

Jonny Clayton received a great reception from his home crowd

Jonny Clayton received a great reception from his home crowd

As the evening began, debutant Joe Cullen was the first to enter the swing arena and received a warm welcome, but the crowd put the roof over his opponent, the defending champion Clayton.

“The Ferret” beamed during his walk-on, kicking off his evening with two 180s in the opening leg.

Cullen immediately attempted to prove he was up to the challenge by nearly knocking out the Big Fish. However, his miss from the bull allowed Clayton to hold.

From there, the Welshman stormed to lead 3-0 and then 5-2. Despite missing his first two match darts, Clayton hit D10 shortly thereafter to comfortably secure his semifinal spot.

James Wade defeated Gerwyn Price in the second quarterfinal of the night

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James Wade defeated Gerwyn Price in the second quarterfinal of the night

James Wade defeated Gerwyn Price in the second quarterfinal of the night

Price was next, trying to emulate his compatriot’s path to the semifinals, but the world No. 1 lost to Wade 6-3.

The Welshman missed the 2021 Premier League season due to a positive Covid-19 test and had said he was “eager to make up for lost time” but had never settled.

Wade ignored the noise of the crowd and calmly went about his business. He averaged 88.78 and picked up 124 and 104 finishes in the latter stages to sack Price and Progress.

Take a look at some of the best box offices from night one of the Premier League

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Take a look at some of the best box offices from night one of the Premier League

Take a look at some of the best box offices from night one of the Premier League

The third quarter-final saw a repeat of the World Cup final, exactly a month to the day since Wright and Smith enjoyed that Alexandra Palace epic.

Smith broke Wright’s throw in the opening leg before the world champion put together a four-legged and felt comfortable with another set of new darts.

At 5-2, Smith took out 150 and shrugged in frustration. The finish was great, but it just delayed the inevitable.

Michael Smith's 150 checkout was outstanding, he struggled with his scoring against Peter Wright and didn't hit a 180 during the match

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Michael Smith’s 150 checkout was outstanding, he struggled with his scoring against Peter Wright and didn’t hit a 180 during the match

Michael Smith’s 150 checkout was outstanding, he struggled with his scoring against Peter Wright and didn’t hit a 180 during the match

Van Gerwen started his evening trying to win a sixth Premier League title against Anderson and the two produced a quarter-final match at the box office.

A trio of breaks came early in the contest and resulted in a 3-2 lead for Anderson, who will make the play-offs for the seventh time in nine years

Michael van Gerwen hit a spectacular 135 against Gary Anderson but lost his quarterfinal

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Michael van Gerwen hit a spectacular 135 against Gary Anderson but lost his quarterfinal

Michael van Gerwen hit a spectacular 135 against Gary Anderson but lost his quarterfinal

‘The Flying Scotsman’ was then pressured by Van Gerwen, who had chances to finish the sixth leg from 167 and 86 but held on to double his lead.

Van Gerwen responded immediately with a 135 finish on a 12-dart hold and that propelled him to continue and level the match.

However, he was broken again and Anderson kept his cool to end things and anger the Dutchman.

Check out the daily darts news skysports.com/dartsour mobile app and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts. We’re back for more Premier League action from M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool next Thursday from 7pm on Sky Sports Arena.



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