Form Guide: Clinical Clayton back to his best

Jonny Clayton (Taylor Lanning/PDC)

PDC Stats Analyst Christopher Kempf assesses the top ten PDC stars - based on their last 200 legs played - ahead of the 2024 Betfred World Matchplay, which takes place from July 13-21 at Blackpool's Winter Gardens.

#1 Averages - Jonny Clayton
#1 OChE - Jonny Clayton
#1 Doubles - Jonny Clayton
#1 171-180 - Luke Littler
#1 99, 101+ Checkout - Ritchie Edhouse

PDC Form Guide

Jonny Clayton, the 2021 Premier League champion, endured a disappointing eight-month period, appearing in just one ProTour quarter-final which he lost with an average of just 81 against Ricardo Pietreczko.

The Welshman also barely maintained a 200-leg average high enough to keep him in the PDC's top 64, but he cast aside those troubles with a decisive victory in Players Championship 14 earlier this month.

His two highest averages of the year and comfortable wins (no match went to a deciding-leg) helped him rocket up the form leaderboard to number one.

In his first ten Players Championship appearances of 2024, Clayton won 56% of legs - a percentage far surpassed by his last two, in which he won nearly 70%.

This puts him on an OChE rating of 64.5 for his last 200 legs, and makes him the most formidable ProTour opponent in the month of July.

However, while Clayton looks to have returned to his brilliant best, several marquee first-round matchups of the World Matchplay appear headed for upsets on recent form.

The most heralded of these - the showdown between Luke Littler and Michael van Gerwen - has Littler a slight favourite on form, but with neither player recently performing at their highest levels, the tie could be a chaotic and nervy affair.

Littler is the favourite in averages (1.2 points higher than MvG) and in OChE (expected to win 2.35% legs against standard opponents) but Van Gerwen, with 41.9% accuracy, has been the more clinical finisher over the last 200 legs.

Michael Smith, in drawing Gary Anderson, faces a player who has shown his ability to reach dangerous heights of form at unexpected times; Anderson holds an advantage in averages of nearly 2.5 points.

Meanwhile, UK Open champion Dimitri Van den Bergh may be the ninth seed, but Martin Schindler, a 3-point favourite in OChE, looks poised to win his first match on the Winter Gardens stage.

Elsewhere, Wesley Plaisier does not hold a PDC Tour Card and thus does not appear in the Form Guide, but if he did, how would he rank among the world's best players?

Following back-to-back appearances in ProTour finals, the darts world has been eager to know.

From Plaisier's last 200 legs in which he has faced Tour Card Holders, he boasts a 95.25 average (20th highest) and an OChE rating of 55.64 (19th highest), putting him in the vicinity - on recent form - of players like Ross Smith and Ryan Searle.

With Plaisier currently ranked fifth on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, he could yet finish the year with an automatic Tour Card - if not, this dynamic Dutchman would certainly be a favourite at Qualifying School in 2025.

*OChE (Ordinal Checkout Efficiency) explained:
OChE is a metric designed to evaluate the efficiency at which players convert their averages into legs won.
The statistic is the % of legs a player would expect to win on the ProTour, calculated from a weighted average of 4,5, 6 & 7 visit checkout rates.

Follow Christopher on Twitter @ochepedia