HomeSportsPremier League debutants Jonny Clayton, Jose de Sousa and Dimitri Van den Bergh ‘mixing with the massive boys’
Premier League debutants Jonny Clayton, Jose de Sousa and Dimitri Van den Bergh ‘mixing with the massive boys’
April 1, 2021
There’s a contemporary look to this yr’s Premier League, with Jonny Clayton, Jose de Sousa and Dimitri Van den Bergh all included for the primary time.
Three debutants in a single yr is uncommon, however not unprecedented. Because the roadshow event’s inception in 2005, there have been three events when there have been three or extra gamers showing for the primary time; 2007, 2013 and 2018.
Three years in the past was the primary time that there have been 4 debutants within the one yr, as Rob Cross, Daryl Gurney, Mensur Suljovic and Gerwyn Value all made their bows.
Debutants have endured blended fortunes within the Thursday night time extravaganza by means of the years. Three first-timers have gone on to win the competitors, however 5 gamers have additionally completed backside of the pile of their first campaigns.
A relentless schedule of top-class opponents will not be for the faint-hearted.
‘I began placing stress on myself and I unravelled’
“Do not get overwhelmed 8-1, 4 weeks on the trot!” is Mark Webster’s light-hearted recommendation to the trio making their debuts. The Welshman’s sole season within the competitors noticed him end all-time low in 2011.
“For me, that was after I realised I simply could not compete at that stage, week-in, week-out,” he mirrored, talking to Sky Sports activities.
“If I received to do it once more, it could be: ‘It isn’t a rating occasion, simply take pleasure in it. You have earned your spot.’
“I began placing stress on myself, and I unravelled actually.
“When the defeats come, and they’ll – no participant goes to win each sport – simply strive to not dwell on it. Regroup for the subsequent day and simply take pleasure in it. The issue is whenever you get a style, you wish to be in it on a regular basis. My obsession was getting again there, and it took my focus off different issues. So simply keep targeted. Do not let it have an effect on the opposite rating occasions. They’re all necessary darts occasions, in addition to the Premier League.”
When the defeats come, simply strive to not dwell on it.
Webster fell into some traps in 2011
However the high-calibre of these concerned means there’s a relentless schedule for any participant who’s struggling.
“Within the Premier League, you are all the time taking part in prime world class gamers. There isn’t any hiding house. Will probably be the identical this yr.
“It is the Premier League for a motive, and the debutants know they will need to carry out. However they proved it. They’re all there as a result of they’ve gained one thing. They will do it all through an occasion.”
So is the trick merely to hold in there?
“Do not get eradicated after which you can also make your surge,” Webster famous. “We noticed it with Daryl Gurney a number of years in the past. He was messing across the backside coming into Judgement Evening, after which he went on an amazing run and made the highest 4. So it will probably occur.”
‘My Premier League was completed after night time one!’
One other participant who was handled to a baptism of fireplace within the Premier League is Michael Smith. The ‘Bully Boy’ entered the fray in 2016, however was eradicated after selecting up only one win and one draw from 9 matches.
In reality, it was virtually over earlier than it began.
“I keep in mind I performed my first one in Leeds. Gary [Anderson] received sick, so I needed to play two on my first ever night time. I went out in opposition to Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis and misplaced each. My Premier League was completed after night time one,” he laughed.
He is aware of the nerves on the massive stage could be daunting at first.
“That is when you are going to [be nervous] whenever you rise up there, as a result of it is your first time,” Smith admitted.
“The noise coming down, it simply hit you want a prepare. ‘Jeez, how do I recover from this?’ It’s simple for those who do not give it some thought. That is the poor man’s excuse, however that is a poor man’s recommendation – ‘do not give it some thought’, ‘play the board as a substitute of the participant’.
“You are not going to play Gerwyn Value, and the subsequent week you solely need to play [an easy game]. You have received Gerwyn Value, then Michael van Gerwen, then Gary Anderson, then Nathan Aspinall.
“It is the Premier League. You have to take your alternative. However you have additionally received to arrange your self to do the appropriate issues on the proper occasions. You may go in there and win the leg to settle your self down. However you may lose the primary three, first 4. Even for those who get overwhelmed, you have nonetheless received one other 15 weeks probably. So it would not make a distinction. Eight wins might get you within the prime 4. That is one win, one loss each second week!”
Nevertheless, as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the roadshow aspect will likely be taken away. The followers is not going to be there of their 1000’s. Nor will there be a one-week hole between matches for gamers.
The motion will get underway on Monday with 5 consecutive nights of play.
Having featured within the second half of the 2020 Premier League behind closed doorways, Smith is aware of it’s a far cry from the normal format.
“After I did it final yr, I got here out, averaged 107 within the first sport after which received overwhelmed. It was day after day after day after day. That is not a Premier League.
“I really like travelling Wednesday, do the media, get able to play Thursday, journey to all of the completely different stadiums in entrance of 10,000 folks!”
Webster and Smith are two stars who struggled on debut. However that has not all the time been the case. Actually, three gamers have gained the competitors of their maiden yr, and 7 have reached the ultimate.
The gamers who hit the bottom working
Terry Jenkins: Runner-up 2007
Adrian Lewis and Dennis Priestley have been additionally new additions in 2007, however the ‘Bull’ was the standout performer of the three. It was a season through which Phil Taylor went by means of your complete marketing campaign unbeaten.
It was a blended run for nine-time main finalist Jenkins, who suffered 8-0 and 8-1 defeats by the hands of Colin Lloyd and Taylor alongside the best way. However he dug deep and scrapped his method to the Play-Offs, the place he defeated Raymond van Barneveld within the semi-final.
He fell brief within the decider, nevertheless, however could possibly be happy with a powerful exhibiting on his first look.
James Wade: Runner-up 2008
The Machine properly and really introduced himself on the prime desk in 2007, selecting up World Matchplay and Grand Prix titles.
These triumphs catapulted him into the Premier League, and he was greater than prepared for the problem. Throughout the 14-match marketing campaign, he misplaced simply thrice. He set the tone with an opening-night victory over Taylor, and backed it up with an 8-4 win over reigning world champion John Half three weeks later.
He edged Barney within the semi-final on Play-Offs night time, earlier than succumbing to a 16-8 defeat by the hands of the Energy, regardless of averaging over 100.
Mervyn King: Runner-up 2009
King’s begin to life as a Premier League participant couldn’t have gone a lot better, beating Wayne Mardle (8-1), James Wade (8-1), John Half (8-2) and Jelle Klaasen (8-4) throughout the primary 4 nights. He ultimately dropped factors for the primary time in a draw with Taylor in Newcastle.
His searing begin laid the foundations for a top-four end. He started to dream after ousting reigning champ Taylor within the semi-final, however ultimately turned unstuck in opposition to Wade within the closing.
Gary Anderson: Winner 2011
The Flying Scotsman had a giant fame within the BDO earlier than his swap to the PDC, however struggled to make an influence initially.
A run to the ultimate of the 2010 UK Open helped his case for Premier League inclusion the next yr, and boy did he justify it.
He completed comfortably contained in the Play-Off locations, accounting for Barney and Lewis to turn out to be the primary debutant to win the title.
Michael van Gerwen: Winner 2013
All the pieces appeared to click on into gear for the Inexperienced Machine in late 2012, with a Grand Prix title, and runs to the ultimate in each the Grand Slam and World Championship.
Such a meteoric rise ensured his Premier League inclusion, and he backed all of it up.
MVG turned simply the second participant after Taylor to prime the desk, within the event’s ninth season. The Energy did attain the ultimate, however the younger Dutchman secured one of the crucial well-known checkouts within the historical past of the game. With Taylor sitting on 40 to carry it again to 9-9 in a race to 10, MVG hit the bullseye for a 132 out-shot to assert the title and avenge his World Championship closing defeat 4 months earlier.
A real ‘altering of the guard’ second for the game.
Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant: Runner-up and winner 2020
Since MVG’s 2013 success, Rob Cross (2018) was the one debutant to make the Play-Offs.
Nevertheless, that each one modified in 2020 as the ultimate was contested by two new gamers for the primary time.
Duzza claimed the title, having topped the pile within the league part. He closing opponent was the Asp, who himself loved a stellar marketing campaign.
Those that suffered a baptism of fireplace
Jelle Klaasen – seventh (backside) 2009
With no ‘elimination’ within the early years of the Premier League, the previous Lakeside world champ stayed within the event for the period. Throughout 14 matches, he picked up simply two wins: a Evening Eight conquer Terry Jenkins, and a Evening 14 victory over Webster.
Mark Webster – eighth (backside) 2011
As ‘Webby’ admitted himself, 4 consecutive 8-1 losses will not be one of the simplest ways to go about your small business within the Premier League.
It began so properly, with a gap night time win over James Wade. From there, nevertheless, it shortly unravelled for the Welshman.
Wes Newton – ninth (second backside) 2013
A springtime to neglect for the ‘Warrior’, as his sole win got here in opposition to Adrian Lewis in a match the place each gamers’ averages have been within the mid-80s.
The one comfort was he prevented ending backside, as he edged Anderson on leg-difference.
Kim Huybrechts – tenth (backside) 2015
A Evening 5 win over Raymond van Barneveld was all of the Hurricane needed to present for his first Premier League marketing campaign, as he struggled to remain afloat.
Michael Smith – tenth (backside) 2016
As already talked about, Smith’s marketing campaign was virtually over earlier than it began. After the pair of losses on Evening One, he was all the time taking part in catch-up. He solely managed one win, however appeared to profit from the expertise in later years.
Gerwyn Value: tenth (backside) 2018
The Iceman’s rise by means of the ranks has been so spectacular that it might simply be forgotten that he struggled on the foot of the Premier League desk so not too long ago.
Certainly in his first marketing campaign, he performed 9 video games and not using a win. He completed with six straight defeats.
Value’s experiences are a chief instance of the way it typically takes time to regulate to the best stage.
Mensur Suljovic: ninth (second backside) 2018
The Austrian star completed above Value three years in the past, albeit he did not have a lot to shout about. Suljovic overcame the Welshman and in addition recorded a victory over Peter Wright, in an in any other case underwhelming marketing campaign.
So what could be anticipated from Clayton, Van den Bergh and De Sousa?
“These debutants are pondering ‘I do not wish to miss the reduce’,” Webster defined.
“I spoke to Jonny and he simply stated, ‘I wish to play the entire thing and see what occurs. I do not wish to get eradicated on Judgement Evening’.
“Simply break the Premier League up. Be sure to play the entire thing. Your first goal [is to avoid elimination]. If you can also make the highest 4, nice. And when you’re within the prime 4, finals night time, the trophy could possibly be anybody’s.”
Watch the 2021 Premier League stay on Sky Sports activities – the motion will get underway on Monday April 5 with 5 consecutive nights of motion from the Marshall Area, Milton Keynes.