Jonny Clayton in action. Pic: Getty Images.

Jonny Clayton Expects The Ally Pally To Be Rocking . . . As ‘The Ferret’ Takes On Josh Rock

By Paul Jones

‘The Ferret’ Jonny Clayton is expecting Alexandra Palace to be rocking on Thursday night when the he tackles young darting sensation Josh Rock for a spot in the quarter-finals of the World Darts Championship.

Rock showed why he is among the favourites to win the title after sensationally knocking out 10th seed Nathan Aspinall 4-3 in an epic encounter last time out.

The 21-year-old has said that he hopes to come of age at this tournament, and he punished Aspinall for a raft of missed doubles to set up a clash against Clayton, who eased through with a 4-1 victory over Rock’s compatriot Brendan Dolan.

“He’s my kind of player. He’s a rhythm player, a fantastic player,” said the Welsh ace, who lifted four televised titles in a trophy-laden 2021 campaign, including debut glory in the Premier League.

“He’s a good kid, everything about Josh is brilliant, so I look forward to playing against him. I think I played against him once on the floor, so know what he’s about. We all know what he’s about, so that’s my kind of game.”

World youth champion Rock, who has quickly established himself as one to watch in his first season on the PDC Tour, has seen his odds tumbling further after his latest victory over former two-time world championship semi-finalist Aspinall.

“The bookies say I’m fourth favourite to win it. I don’t care, I’m just trying my best to win it,” said Rock. “The bookies are only going by the last four or five months, what I have done towards the end of the year.

“That’s up to them what the numbers are. But Josh Rock is going to try and win this World Championship. Pray to God, we’ll see what happens.

“I’ve been dreaming about playing on this stage since I was 16 years old. I thought I would be 30 when I played here. I’m 21, that’s nine years off, I’m proud of what I’m doing now.”

Jose de Sousa set up a tasty tungsten tussle against world No 1 Gerwyn Price on Thursday evening after overturning a 3-0 deficit to defeat Ryan Searle 4-3 on Wednesday.

He faces an uphill task against ‘The Iceman’ who stormed through to the last 16 in quickfire fashion, dispatching five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld in straight sets.

“The World Championship is the biggest tournament we have. To be in the last 16 is a great thing to think about and to see. My whole year wasn’t so good and to make the last 16… it’s a great feeling,” said the Portuguese star, nicknamed ‘The Special One’.

“Against Gerwyn, it’s another game against him. He’s a great player and in good shape right now. I think it’s going to be another fight and I will try to play my best against him.

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