Sunday, September 24, 2023

World Matchplay Darts: Nathan Aspinall crushes Jonny Clayton to win at Winter Gardens -Dlight News

Nathan Aspinall crushes Jonny Clayton to win the Matchplay World Title; we’re back for the World Grand Prix at the Morningside Arena in Leicester October 3-9 – live on Sky Sports

Nathan Aspinall produced darts from another planet as he crushed Jonny Clayton’s hopes of winning his maiden World Matchplay title at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Sunday night.

Aspinall put together an astonishing display of 11 straight legs on his way to completing an 18-6 run against Clayton in a remarkable night of arrows.

Home favorite Aspinall shared the first 10 stages with 48-year-old Welshman Clayton, who had made over nine-tonne finishes on his run to the final, responding to his opponent’s opening salvo of 110 by conjuring up a majestic 141 outing on stage seven, before firing in a 101 kill to restore parity.

Locked at 5-5 after the second mini-break, Aspinall, who lost to Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith in last year’s World Grand Prix and Grand Slam deciders, came alive, winning 13 of the last 14 legs to take the £200,000 top prize.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Aspinall, who becomes the 12th player to lift the coveted Phil Taylor Trophy.

“I did very well to keep it at 5-5. I was doing Jonny Clayton stuff! I was pulling off those three-dart combinations and that kept me in the game.

“I think the third session was the key. I don’t know what it was, but suddenly I found my score and finished the whole game brilliantly. I’m very happy.”

The Stockport bowler wobbled four straight legs on 11, 14, 13 and 12 darts to stretch his lead to 9-5, and Clayton was shocked when Aspinall’s searing barrage showed no sign of letting up.

The 32-year-old hit a mesmerizing pass of 170 to reach the six unanswered legs, and a combined 115 on leg 18 continued the procession, as his lead stretched to 13-5.

Aspinall’s staggering winning streak totaled 11 legs before Clayton finally stopped the rot to cut the arrears to 6-16, but he merely delayed the inevitable.

Normal service resumed for Aspinall on stage 23, as he landed a 16-dart hold at the top to take a stage away from glory and, despite some late double trouble, eventually landed double five to cap the biggest win of his career.

Casting that spell in the biggest game of your life is what dreams are made of. It was a devastating spell. He got to 180 in leg 11 and that changed everything.

Wayne Mardle on Nathan Aspinall’s 11-legged flurry

“These things don’t happen very often, so I want to enjoy this moment!” continued Aspinall, who also paid tribute to Clayton, who showed incredible character throughout the week in Blackpool.

“Sharing that final with Jonny was very special. He’s a lovely guy. He’s the best person on tour.

“I wish him and his family the best. He is a gentleman of the game, he is a credit to our sport, but I am happy to have beaten him!”

Clayton, who also entered his first World Matchplay Final, performed magnificently in his run to the final, which was fueled by his desire to succeed by his ailing father.

The Welshman only picked up a solitary win at Winter Gardens ahead of this year’s tournament, hailing a brilliant Aspinall.

“I came out of the blocks well, but then Nathan showed up,” admitted the 48-year-old, who walks away with the £100,000 prize.

“I can’t argue with the result. I was beaten by the best player, and what a fantastic guy he is.”

“To reach the World Matchplay final is an incredible achievement. I am a very proud man.

“I would like to thank my family and this phenomenal crowd. One day I will return to this stage in a final, and I hope that will be my night.”

We’re back for the World Grand Prix at the Morningside Arena in Leicester from October 3-9, live on Sky Sports. Stream all your favorite sports with NOW for £21 a month

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