Inspired Aspinall demolishes Van Gerwen to move top of Premier League table

Nathan Aspinall moved top of the Premier League table with an emphatic 8-3 win over Michael van Gerwen on Night 13 in Milton Keynes, to leapfrog the Dutchman on a night which celebrated darts’ return of fans.

Following over five months since a live crowd were able to attend a major PDC tournament, almost 700 fans flocked to the Marshall Arena as the final week of the 2021 Premier League began – the first Premier League Darts night to feature a live audience since March 2020.

Van Gerwen began the night in top spot after registering three consecutive victories during the last batch of fixtures, but it was Aspinall who rose to the occasion in a partisan atmosphere, to claim a precious two points in his bid for a play-off spot.

The former UK Open champion opened up proceedings with a classy 120 checkout, and he repeated the feat in leg five, albeit via a different route, to establish a 4-1 cushion.

Aspinall – last year’s runner-up – then stretched his lead to 5-1 before Van Gerwen responded with back-to-back ton-plus finishes, but the three-time world champion was unable to make further inroads, losing the next three legs as ‘The Asp’ closed out a convincing 8-3 success, averaging 96.9 and converting 57% of his attempts at double.

“It’s a massive two points and it was a great buzz tonight,” reflected Aspinall. “I was really nervous coming into the game because we’ve missed the fans, and win or lose I wanted to enjoy it tonight.

“This is what darts is all about, and I loved every minute of it. I think we were both trying too hard to play well but the crowd were got me through.

“I finished really well and when I get a bit of a lead I felt more comfortable. It wasn’t my best performance, but the two 120 finishes won me the game and it’s a very good two points.”

Jose De Sousa moved up to third with a battling 8-6 win over Dimitri Van den Bergh, to complete the league double over the World Matchplay champion. The Belgian occupied top spot just a few nights ago but now finds himself outside the top four, with just three rounds of fixtures remaining.

‘The Special One’ registered a break of throw in leg four as he opened up a 4-1 lead, and landed a superb 11-darter as he secured at least a point at 7-4. Van den Bergh rallied with legs of 13 and 14 darts to force a decider in which he had the throw, but De Sousa landed a timely third 180 before pinning D10 to extend his unbeaten run to five matches.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said De Sousa. “I didn’t feel the pressure and it’s nice to see the crowd behind us again. The fans know the player and the person that I am and I got a lot of respect from them.

“I know this is a big win for me. Every game in the Premier League is very difficult and every point is important. It was a difficult game for both of us because Dimitri is a great player and I think he can maybe be World Champion in the next few years, so I’m very happy to get this win.”

Van den Bergh now trails fourth-placed Jonny Clayton by a solitary point heading into Night 14, after ‘The Ferret’ produced a clinical display to dispatch Gary Anderson 8-1 in the evening’s opener, despite ‘The Flying Scotsman’ averaging 104.48 in a high-quality tussle.

It was a contest decided by fine margins, with Anderson wiring the bullseye for a combination finish on four separate occasions, and he was punished by the Welshman in all of those legs, as the Masters champion closed out the comprehensive win with a 101.24 average, three 180s and 57% on the outer ring.

“It was absolutely brilliant,” said Clayton. “It’s a massive buzz because the crowd makes darts, so it was amazing to get them back and the atmosphere was fantastic.

“I had a few people cheering for me and there were a couple of Welsh flags, in, so it’s a proud moment. I was so nervous before I went on but I relaxed and my darts kept going. I took my chances and I’ve done my job – I’m chasing a dream and I’ll keep turning up over the next three days and working hard.”

Elsewhere, Peter Wright dealt a huge blow to James Wade’s play-off aspirations with a convincing 8-4 success over ‘The Machine’ in the evening’s finale. Wright’s top four hopes are also hanging by a thread, yet he produced an impressive performance to secure his first victory since Night Eight.

Wade stormed into an early 2-0 advantage, courtesy of an 11-dart hold in the opening leg. However, Wright reeled off two 11-darters of his own en route to establishing a 4-2 cushion, before converting a clinical 103 kill in leg ten en route to victory, with Wade poised on a two-darter to level at five apiece.

Both Wright and Wade sit five points adrift of the top four with just three league games remaining – but the former finalist was elated after being cheered to victory for the first time since December by a live audience.

“The crowd make such a difference, it was amazing,” admitted Wright. “They inspired me and I feel so alive – it was so nice being nervous backstage!

“All the crowd played their part because I’ve missed them. Last year I won my last four games to make the Play-Offs so if I’m playing well then everyone else has got to watch out.”

Image Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2021 Unibet Premier League
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Night 13, Monday May 24

Jonny Clayton 8-1 Gary Anderson
Jose de Sousa 8-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Nathan Aspinall 8-3 Michael van Gerwen
James Wade 4-8 Peter Wright

Night 14 – Tuesday May 25 (1900 BST)
James Wade v Nathan Aspinall
Jonny Clayton v Jose de Sousa
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Best of 14 legs

2017 PDC Qualifying School Entries!

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Three-time world champion John Part and former Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson will be among the field of nearly 450 players competing in the 2017 PDC Qualifying School which begins this Thursday, with 28 PDC Tour cards on offer across four days of action at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.

The PDC Qualifying School gives any aspiring darts player aged 16 or over the opportunity to win a Tour Card in order to compete as a professional on the PDC ProTour; four players will win Tour Cards on each of the four days of competition in Wigan.

Ranking points will be allocated to other players based on their finishing position; this sees a further 12 Tour Cards allocated from the Q School Order of Merit following the culmination of the Qualifying School on Sunday. Two of the high-profile stars in action include John Part and Paul Nicholson.

Part, who won his third world title back in 2008, has endured a disappointing run of form over the last couple of years which has seen him slip outside the world’s top 64. ‘Darth Maple’ is now an ever-present member of Sky Sports’ commentary and punditry team, but the Canadian still harbours ambitions of returning to the circuit full-time. Continue reading “2017 PDC Qualifying School Entries!”

PDPA World Championship Qualifier- Entries Confirmed!

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Former World Championship finalists Kevin Painter & Andy Hamilton head the list of entrants for Monday’s William Hill World Darts Championship PDPA qualifier, which takes place at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.

Painter has appeared in 15 consecutive World Championships since switching to the PDC from the BDO back in 2001, although ‘The Artist’ is in real danger of missing out on this year’s event after falling outside the world’s top 32.

Painter featured in the 2005 World Championship Final at the Circus Tavern when he was beaten 7-6 by Phil Taylor in a captivating tussle, but after slipping to 44th on the PDC Order of Merit, the former Players Championship Finals winner faces an uphill task to qualify for this year’s event.

Another high-profile name set to miss the cut is 2012 World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton. ‘The Hammer’ was beaten by his fellow Stoke star Adrian Lewis at the Alexandra Palace almost five years ago but has endured a miserable slump over the past two years, which has seen him plummet to 40th in the world. Continue reading “PDPA World Championship Qualifier- Entries Confirmed!”

2016 Grand Slam of Darts Draw confirmed!

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Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his Grand Slam of Darts title against legendary three-time Lakeside world champion Martin Adams, after the draw for this year’s event at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall was made on Monday afternoon.

Van Gerwen, who produced a staggering comeback to defeat Phil Taylor and win his maiden Grand Slam title twelve months ago, will face a stern test against the 60-year-old Adams, who thrived on his debut in Wolverhampton last year.

‘Wolfie’ won all three of his group games against Jelle Klaasen, Ian White & Steve Beaton respectively, before succumbing to Kim Huybrechts in a last-leg shootout in the last 16. MvG and Adams will also be joined in Group A by former World Grand Prix finalist Brendan Dolan, and World-Youth champion Max Hopp.

Six-time Grand Slam winner Phil Taylor has been handed a relatively kind draw. ‘The Power’ has been pitted with his fellow Stokie Ian White, Darren Webster and BDO veteran Darryl Fitton, who qualified for this year’s event by virtue of winning the 2016 World Trophy back in May. Continue reading “2016 Grand Slam of Darts Draw confirmed!”

Grand Slam of Darts: Current Qualifiers!

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Former champion Scott Waites, will make his Singha Beer Grand Slam of Darts return at Wolverhampton in November, as he heads the BDO’s list of eight representatives. BDO world number one Glen Durrant is also set to make his Wolverhampton debut, alongside World Championship runner-up Jeff Smith.

The Grand Slam of Darts is the most unique tournament on the darting calendar, as the cross-code format sees representatives from the PDC and BDO lock horns. The 24 PDC representatives will include major tournament finalists from the past 12 months and eight PDC Qualifiers, with a further eight players coming from the BDO system.

Two-time Lakeside champion Waites will make his return to the Grand Slam in 2016, hoping to replicate his memorable 2010 triumph, when he produced an astonishing comeback from 8-0 down to defeat eight-time major winner James Wade 16-12 in the final.

Waites will be joined by Canada’s Jeff Smith, who was runner up in January’s Lakeside world championship. The 2015 World Masters winner, Glen Durrant, will be making his bow at the Civic Hall, whilst 2008 quarter-finalist Darryl Fitton will return to Wolverhampton, having claimed victory in May’s BDO World Trophy.

Continue reading “Grand Slam of Darts: Current Qualifiers!”

Hopp and Aspinall to clash in World Youth Final!

Max Hopp
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Max Hopp will face Nathan Aspinall in the final of the PDC World Youth Championships at Minehead in November, with a place in the World Championships at stake for the victor.

Both men came through a high-quality 64 player field in Wigan to reach the final, which will take place on November 29th at Butlins, Minehead (live on ITV 4) during the Players Championship Finals.

Continue reading “Hopp and Aspinall to clash in World Youth Final!”

MvG continues European Tour Dominance in Venray!

MvG Venray
MvG’s remarkable run continued in his native Holland. (Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Michael van Gerwen continued his dominance on the European Tour in 2015, whitewashing Justin Pipe 6-0 to win the Dutch Darts Masters in Venray. Roared on by a boisterous home crowd, van Gerwen survived scares against both Mervyn King and Terry Jenkins to secure his fourth European Tour title of the year.

Continue reading “MvG continues European Tour Dominance in Venray!”

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