Welsh Aces Set for Another Crunch Clash

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The latest chapter in the Jonny Clayton vs. Gerwyn Price rivalry will be written in the Grand Slam of Darts quarter-finals on Friday.

Jonny Clayton

It’s honours even between world No.1 Gerwyn Price and his friend and compatriot Jonny Clayton this year – but who will come out on top when they meet for a fifth time in 2021 at the Grand Slam? 

The seedings have worked out in the top half of the draw at the Grand Slam and that means another unmissable showdown between the two best players of this year, Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton.

It also means we’ve a guaranteed Anglo-Welsh semi-final to look forward to with the winner of the Price-Clayton quarter-final taking on either James Wade or Rob Cross in the last four.

Has Clayton Got the Measure of Gezzy?

Price and Clayton, fierce rivals but also best of pals and World Cup partners, have already met four times this year and are now bracing themselves for a fifth tussle in the quarter-finals in Wolverhampton.

It’s two apiece so far – Price beat Clayton in their one floor meeting and also at the Matchplay; Clayton avenged those two reverses in the Grand Prix final and also at the World Series.

There is virtually nothing to choose between world champ Price and a player in Clayton who has stormed up the rankings over an incredible 12 months during which he has won four TV titles.

But it’s the fact that Clayton has beaten Price twice in the last six weeks and has looked close to perfect in reaching the last eight of this tournament, which suggests he might just have the edge in this best-of-31 legs affair.

Clayton has played four, won four this week and is averaging around 102. Price lost one of his group games – surprisingly beaten 5-4 by Martin Schindler – and was given a scare by Bradley Brooks in his 10-8 victory in the opening knockout round.

He is averaging around 96. Averages only tell part of the story, but they underline just how well The Ferret is playing. The prices show both men at 20/23 to progress.

Cross Favourite to Deny Wade Double

The second quarter-final in the top half of the draw features Rob Cross and James Wade in a repeat of their Group C game on Monday.

Wade won that one 5-2, with a near-112 average to pip Voltage for top spot and both men looked in excellent form in their round-of-16 ties. Wade battered Rowby-John Rodriguez 10-2, while Cross hammered Ryan Joyce 10-4.

Wade, last year’s beaten finalist and a three-time runner-up, is the absolute master of finding big darts when he needs them most and having triumphed at the UK Open earlier this year, he clearly still possesses that big-match pedigree and is 11/10 to defeat Cross for a second time this week.

Cross, though, is playing as well as ever with victory at the Euros – where he saw off Jose de Sousa and Michael van Gerwen among others – but like the all-Welsh affair, this one looks too close to call.

Queen Fallon Not Finished Yet

In the bottom half of the draw Fallon Sherrock continues to impress having beaten Mike de Decker and Gabriel Clemens to qualify for the last 16.

A showdown with Mensur Suljovic, who she memorably beat at last year’s World Championship in Alexandra Palace, awaits on Thursday evening, with Sherrock 7/4 to nail another win.

There are a couple of monster last-16 match-ups with Peter Wright taking on De Sousa – The Special One can defy the odds and win that one – and old rivals Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson also going toe to toe. The Flying Scotsman is 12/5 to overcome MVG.

*All odd correct at time of writing.

Steve Davies is an occasional contributor to the MansionBet Blog. He holds a keen interest in many sports, with Darts taking the first position.

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