New format suits world champion Wright

Peter Wright

Peter Wright (10/3 – Premier League outright) was the winner in Cardiff on Thursday evening, beating Jonny Clayton (7/2) in the final of night one of the reformatted Premier League.

The PDC announced sweeping changes to the tournament last month in a bid to ensure every game has something riding upon it.

Replacing the old, round-robin league table system is a mini knockout tournament each night, with eight stars set to battle out for 17 weeks.

World champion Wright laid down a marker with some excellent performances in a frenzied Motorpoint Arena.

The fans had two home stars to cheer on in the form of reigning Premier League champion Jonny Clayton and world number one Gerwyn Price.

Clayton beat debutant Joe Cullen in the quarter-finals, though Price looked decidedly flat as James Wade defeated him 6-3.

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Wright triumphed over Michael Smith to reach the semi-finals while Michael van Gerwen, seeking to get back to the top of the sport after a below-par 2021, was beaten by Gary Anderson.

In the semis, Clayton got past Wade, while Wright just about prevailed over Anderson in a battle of the Scotsmen.

And, Wright disappointed the raucous support in the first-to-six-legs final, producing a terrific performance that saw him average a shade over 113 in a 6-1 win.

The 51-year-old picked up five points and a £10,000 bonus, while Clayton has three points for being runner up and Wade and Anderson collect tow as beaten semi-finalists.

Speaking afterwards, Wright said the fresh format allowed him to perform at his best.

“I’ve got a new feeling when I play now,” said Wright, seeking a first Premier League title.

“I used to wonder how Phil (Taylor) concentrated for each match, but now I’ve got that feeling. I believe I can go on and win every single tournament I play, but I also know I can play better.

“The new format gives you time to get used to the stage, that’s why I think I played so well in the final.”

The Premier League returns to Liverpool next Thursday, with Wright facing old sparring partner Van Gerwen (Match betting – Wright 8/11, Van Gerwen 11/10) in the quarter-finals.

Clayton is up against Smith (Match betting – Clayton 8/13, Smith 5/4) in a rematch of their classic last-16 World Championship encounter, while old foes Price and Anderson (Match betting – Price 4/9, Anderson 17/10) do battle on Merseyside.

Wade and Cullen (Match betting – Wade 11/10, Cullen 8/11) face off in the last quarter-final.

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Author: Paula Allen