Dimitri Van Den Bergh and Jonny Clayton set for winner-takes-all showdown

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·3-min read
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Dimitri Van Den Bergh produced an explosive display of finishing to set up a winner-takes-all shoot-out with Jonny Clayton for a place in the Premier League play-offs in Milton Keynes.

The 26-year-old Belgian hit four century-plus checkouts, three of them in the last five legs, to snatch a 7-7 draw with James Wade.

Wade looked to be in the driving seat at 5-2, but needed a 121 finish to nudge back ahead at 7-6, only to see Van Den Bergh better him with a 130 checkout on the bull to claim a point and set up his showdown with fellow debutant Clayton on Thursday evening.

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He told Sky Sports: “This point today means so much. I love Jonny to bits, he’s one of the greatest guys that I know in darts. That man is brilliant. I love Jonny Clayton to bits.

“But tomorrow, we’re enemies. We’ve got to do the job. I want to come off as a winner – 7-7 is not even going to be good enough.”

Van Den Bergh’s draw ended Peter Wright’s hopes of a top-four finish despite the Scot earlier mounting a remarkable fightback to beat Clayton.

The 2020 world champion, who started the night in sixth place, trailed 5-2 at the Marshall Arena and might have been worse off had his opponent not missed doubles in both the eight and ninth legs.

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Wright took full advantage, reeling off six successive legs, the fourth of them by taking out 161, to claim an 8-5 win and two points, in the process ensuring Nathan Aspinall and Jose De Sousa of their places in the semi-finals along with Michael Van Gerwen.

Aspinall needed to hold his nerve to avoid defeat by Gary Anderson as a topsy-turvy encounter ended 7-7.

The Englishman led 3-1 and, after the Scot had won three legs on the trot, 6-4, but a 112-finish saw Anderson go 7-6 ahead, only to be pegged back following a missed bull for a 129 checkout as Aspinall kept alive his chances of topping the table.

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Leader Van Gerwen, however, remains in pole position after a hard-fought 8-6 win over De Sousa.

The Portuguese registered six maximums in a contest which went with the darts for the opening eight legs, but found himself up against it after the Dutchman established a 7-4 lead.

De Sousa took it to the 14th with an 11-darter and then missed double top with two darts to snatch a point, and Van Gerwen needed no second invitation.