Jonny Clayton claimed his first World Series title in Australia with victory at the PalmerBet New South Wales Darts Masters, dispatching James Wade in front of a record-breaking crowd in Wollongong.
There were 4,000 fans packed into the WIN Entertainment Centre to see Clayton capture his first title of 2022, courtesy of a comprehensive 8-1 win over Wade in Saturday’s showpiece.
The former World Series Finals winners were both vying to claim their first World Series tour titles, but Clayton stole an early march to establish a 3-0 cushion.
Wade followed up his first maximum with a trademark ton-plus finish to open his account, only for Clayton to restore his three-leg cushion with a 14-darter, which he followed with a 120 checkout to lead 5-1.
The Welshman refused to relent as he stretched his buffer to 7-1, before sealing the deal in spectacular style, taking out a brilliant 160 finish to scoop the £20,000 top prize.
“This means a lot to me,” said an emotional Clayton, who surrendered just six legs on Finals Day to secure his second World Series of Darts crown.
“I knew I needed to keep James under pressure because we all know what James can do, and luckily for me I kept him under pressure.
“Hopefully this can kick-start the rest of my year. Last week I didn’t turn up, but I lost to a much better player, and now I’m looking forward to next week.”
Earlier in the day, Clayton secured a place in the semi-finals with a battling 6-4 victory over third seed Michael Smith, taking out a brilliant 136 finish to seal his progression.
The Welshman then stormed through to Saturday’s finale with a crushing 7-1 victory over Joe Cullen, avenging his defeat against the Yorkshireman in June’s Cazoo Premier League semi-finals.
Wade was bidding to win his first PDC title since March 2021, and he produced some impressive displays in Saturday’s closing stages, whitewashing top seed Dimitri Van den Bergh in the last eight.
The ten-time TV title winner punished a profligate display from the Belgian, firing in four 180s and taking out 127 and 104 checkouts to book his place in the last four.
The left-hander then produced a ruthless display of combination finishing to dump out world number one Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals.
Wade kicked off proceedings with a sublime 140 outshot, before winning the final three legs to complete a convincing 7-3 success and seal his place in a first final Down Under since 2015.
“I just got smashed to pieces by Jonny,” reflected a candid Wade post-match.
“I am really disappointed with how I played in the final, but Jonny is one of the few players I don’t mind losing to.
“I didn’t play anywhere near Jonny’s level and he did what he needed to do. The only thing he did wrong was lose a leg!”
Elsewhere, Price posted his second highest televised average to dispatch Fallon Sherrock in the quarter-finals, averaging 109.98, hitting four 180s and converting six of his nine attempts at double.
Meanwhile, Cullen ended the hopes of Australia’s World Cup hero Simon Whitlock, defying a partisan atmosphere to close out a 6-2 win and make it back-to-back semi-finals Down Under.
The World Series of Darts roadshow will culminate with the TAB New Zealand Darts Masters at Hamilton’s Globox Arena from August 26-27, as Michael van Gerwen bids to defend his crown.