By Phil Lanning
JONNY CLAYTON landed a Premier League £250,000 jackpot – just a year after delivering food parcels for families in need during lockdown.
The part-timer beat Jose de Sousa 11-5 to win the title on his debut at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes last night.
Clayton, 46, is a plasterer for Carmarthenshire Council but had to down tools to help the vulnerable who were isolating during the pandemic.
Nicknamed ‘The Ferret’ he dumped favourite Michael van Gerwen in the semis and admitted: “I’m still back in work on Monday but seriously this is massive. The people who believe in me, the fans here today, my family. It’s absolutely amazing.
“I love the game, I’m a lazy practicer but at the end of the day when I come up on this stage I try my very best.
“This means the world to me, Wales are on the map. I have many thank yous but most of all the NHS who all risked their health to save ours.
“The last 12 months have been kind to me. Now I’ve got to look at the future and concentrate on getting better.
“There’s been a lot of people who have not been able to leave their houses for over a year. At the council we were just a help, just doing my job.
“To see the smiles on people’s faces when delivering food parcels, that touched a spot. It’s hard to look at some people and think my life is great. But some people’s lives are not as good. I’m just one of the lucky ones and that’s the way I look at life.
“I don’t think I’m anyone special, it’s just my job and what I do. I have a job at the council and a job playing darts. I’m just Jonny.”
De Sousa added: “I work so hard to come this near, it’s difficult to play always under pressure. That’s the way it is.”
Clayton, with the sell-out noisy 1,000 crowd behind him, started the final in stronger fashion. He nailed a 121 finish to start a run of three successive leg wins to take early control at 3-1.
The Welshman just looked slightly sharper and more focused throughout and broke De Sousa’s throw to increase his lead at 6-3 to tighten his grip on the final.
Straight after the break Clayton delivered a hammer blow with 98 kill once again to break the Portuguese throw and lead 7-4.
Clayton then hit an ice cool double 10 to go 9-5 in front and wrapped it up in a flourish.
Images by Lawrence Lustig.