Clayton Catches Eye, can he Challenge?

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Jonny Clayton's second-round victory over Keane Barry at Ally Pally means he will be feared by his rivals in the World Championship.

Jonny Clayton

Jonny Clayton is 13/2 to win the World Championship after producing the highest average of the tournament so far in his second-round victory over Keane Barry.

Clayton was pushed all the way by the Irish youngster, who seemed to relish the Alexandra Palace stage on his third World Championship start, and the outsider went 2-1 up in the first-to-three-sets contest.

‘The Ferret’, as Clayton is known, had to draw on all the form and confidence he has built through the most successful year of his career. The Welshman nailed eight 180s on his way to a 103.7 average, bettering the 101.28 which his compatriot Gerwyn Price managed in his opening match.

Clayton has won the Premier League, the World Grand Prix, the Masters and the World Series of Darts Finals this year, entering the World Championship well-fancied for the first time. He has never got past the third round, but will expect to do so this time, having come through a tight tussle with teenage terror Barry.

Clayton started the deciding set with a 150 checkout and the quality of his darts will have got the rest of the title contenders worried. Price and Clayton will meet in the quarter-finals if they both get that far.

Meanwhile, Monday night sees the return of Raymond van Barneveld to the Alexandra Palace stage. The five-time world champion retired from darts after a shock defeat to Darin Young in the 2020 edition, but the 54-year-old Dutch legend is back on the PDC circuit and has been playing well.

Barneveld should make light work of Lourence Ilagen and punters may want to consider the 9/5 available on Barney winning 3-0. Ilagen, a 43-year-old Filipino who has never made it past the first round in five previous World Championship appearances, has rarely impressed outside of Asia.

Van Barneveld, who has won a Players Championship this year, should outclass his humble opponent.

There is an eight-match card for Tuesday, with the PDC cramming action in before the Christmas break, and Lewis Williams and Toyokazu Shibata get things started at 12.45pm.

Punters looking for a Tuesday treble are pointed towards Vincent van der Voort, Michael Smith and Dimitri van den Bergh.

Van der Voort is an experienced World Championship performer, who has reached the quarter-finals three times, and the quickfire Dutchman can make short work of Adam Hunt in their 7.15pm meeting. The 20/49 about Van der Voort can be added to the 4/17 Smith and the 20/67 Van den Bergh.

Smith, 2019 World Championship runner-up, made the semi-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts a month ago and Ron Meulenkamp seems unlikely to be able to live with ‘Bully Boy’ in their 8pm meeting.

Van den Bergh is a lively title contender and the super talented Belgian starts his World Championship campaign against Florian Hempel, who shocked his compatriot Martin Schindler in round one. The all-German clash was low on quality though – Hempel averaged 89.18 – and Van den Bergh will feel he has little to fear.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Steve has been a Racing Post columnist, golf tipster and punter and is one of the most well-known tipsters in the country. Steve’s columns featuring golf betting tips have been must-read material for years.
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