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Darts World Cup in London: veteran Clayton sends Josh Rock home

Jonny Clayton is the second Welshman to reach the quarter-finals of the World Darts Championship. Clayton defeated Josh Rock, 26 years his junior, in seven sets. However, the future will belong to the young Northern Irishman, as the winner later prophesied.

He had already placed the second scalp. Josh Rock, shooting star of the professional darts circuit, was set to retire the second player in the top 10 of the world championship after Nathan Aspinall. The 21-year-old Northern Irishman led his Round of 16 against world ranked number seven 2-1 and 3-2, had several chances for a preliminary decision but had to learn the hard way in the decisive moments of the match and lost to number seven in the World Rankings Ending with 3:4.

Josh Rock in action. He lost 3:4

Photo: Steven Paston/dpa

‘Rocky’, already considered by many to be the future world champion, started his fourth match in fury, overtook Clayton with an average of nearly 110 points in the first set and followed that up with the fourth match in a row after the pause. His clearly experienced opponent huffed, but didn’t look impressed on the board. The 2021 Premier League winners took two sets 3-1 and scored 104 points to win the third round. “The pressure was so great. But I started pretty well, then had a little hitch in the middle and was there again at the end,” Clayton later summed up.

Rock used the weak phase to lead again. He initially missed three chances in the deciding game to make it 2:2, but after two errors from Clayton he was allowed to return to the oche and defended his engagement set to make it 2:2. The level remained high despite some missed opportunities. Clayton, who spectacularly checked 86 points via a double 18 and the fourth-round bullseye, averaged 97.17 points, while Rock averaged 96.76 points. He also went the full distance in the fifth set, and Clayton once again missed a chance to win his third set, this time on a double 16. Rock made it 3:2 and now shot to win the match. Clayton nodded in approval.

The atmosphere was great all day

The atmosphere was great all day

Photo: Steven Paston/dpa

Rock, who made an impressive World Cup debut at the end of his first season, initially stayed on course, checked to make it 1-0 and tried a bullseye break, but clearly missed. Instead, he then conceded the loss of service himself. Clayton cleared 122 points with nerves of steel and saved a leg later in the seventh set. Finally the decisive moment.

Rock worked on a chicken farm due to lack of money

Because the 48-year-old also fulfilled his duty at the start of the decisive round, passed his serve to make it 1-0 and then took advantage of his opponent’s five consecutive fouls. Clayton took the preliminary decision to make it 2-0 and then it all ended very quickly. The first words of the winner, however, were addressed to the adversary. “He’s a rising star. What a guy, what a player,” Clayton said with a raised eyebrow. Gratitude and amazement echoed in his words. In the quarter-finals on January 1, he meets one of two Belgians who remained in the tournament, Dimitri van den Bergh or Kim Huybrechts.The World Cup was also worth it for Rock, who was still working on a chicken farm in September due to financial problems.With a prize money of 35,000 £, he jumped eleven places in the world rankings to 36th place.

Darts rules: how a dart board is set up

With Gerwyn Price, the Welsh number one has gone around the last eight without fail. In the 4:1 victory against José de Sousa, however, “Iceman” had far fewer problems than his compatriot. At the start of the evening, Luke Humphries was the last player to qualify for the round of 16. The world number five won 4-3 against Vincent van der Voort of the Netherlands and plays Friday on Stephen Bunting, who prevailed in a tight duel with Dave Chisnall 4-2. In the afternoon, Rob Cross also qualified for the round of 16 with a clear 4:1 victory over Mervyn King. Dirk van Duijvenbode survived six darts matches in a marathon match against Ross Smith and won 6:5 in overtime of the seventh set. He now meets Michael van Gerwen.

World Darts Championship, 3rd Round Results, December 29, 2022

Schedule, December 30, 2022

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