NEW father Nathan Aspinall celebrated this week’s birth of his daughter Milly with a memorable win over James Wade as the HappyBet European Darts Trophy began on Friday.
Stockport’s Aspinall had begun the week in hospital for Monday’s birth of daughter Milly Mai, returning to action in Wednesday’s Players Championship.
Having qualified for the year’s final European Tour event last month, Aspinall travelled to Gottingen to compete in the £135,000 tournament and claimed his first career win over Wade in the process.
The 6-1 victory ended Wade’s hopes of qualifying for the Unibet European Championship, where the left-hander was a semi-finalist last year, and sees Aspinall progress to a second round tie with Kim Huybrechts on Saturday.
Aspinall opened up the game with a 180 and claimed the first five legs without Wade having a dart at a double – hitting finishes of 118, 84 and 82 in the process – before Wade claimed leg six to keep his hopes alive.
The youngster regained his nerve with two 140s in the seventh leg – to add to four earlier 180s – before pinning double eight to complete a fine victory.
“It was a very tough first round game but James didn’t play like he can. I played my game and hit quite a few 180s at the right time, and I’m very happy with the win.
“My girlfriend gave birth to my little one on Monday so it’s been an emotional week, and this tops it off. I’m very happy – that win was for my girlfriend and my little girl.”
Zoran Lerchbacher set up a second round tie with number one seed Michael van Gerwen with a fine display to defeat Ricky Evans 6-3.
The Austrian qualifier averaged 100 and pulled clear from three-all to claim the win over Evans – despite the Englishman adopting a more measured throwing style.
German youngster Schindler will now play number two seed Peter Wright in a tasty second round, after he hit seven 180s and averaged 102.53 in a superb 6-3 win over John Bowles.
Schindler pulled clear from 1-1 with three successive legs before holding on to claim a fine victory in front of the German crowd.
Rene Eidams also delighted the Lokhalle crowd to become a second player into the last 32, edging out Jeffrey de Zwaan in a dramatic contest.
De Zwaan had taken out a key 110 as he came from 3-0 down to lead 4-3, but he was unable to close out the win as he missed a dart at tops in leg ten before double eight in the decider sealed Eidams’ win as he moves through to play Stephen Bunting.
There was disappointment for German debutant Manfred Bilderl, who was defeated 6-1 by Jonny Clayton as Wednesday’s Players Championship winner progressed to face fellow Welshman Gerwyn Price.
Chris Dobey also overcame German opposition with a 6-4 win over Robert Allenstein, who hit back from 5-2 down to reduce the gap to one leg before Dobey regained his composure to seal the win, setting up a tie with Jelle Klaasen.
Vincent van der Voort held off the challenge of German teenager Nico Blum to claim a 6-3 win, as the former Austrian Darts Open winner created a second round meeting with Ian White.
“I’m pleased because darts in Germany is getting better and better and we have to watch out,” said Van der Voort. “Martin Schindler had a 103 average this afternoon and Nico played well here.”
James Richardson hit six doubles from seven attempts – including a 170 checkout and tops on five occasions – as he came from 3-2 down against Belgium’s Dimitri Van den Bergh, setting up a tie with Alan Norris on Saturday.
Jermaine Wattimena traded 112 finishes with Mick Todd before he claimed a 6-3 win to set up a second round meeting with Michael Smith, who won May’s Gibraltar Darts Trophy title.
Former World Youth Champion sealed a 6-2 win over Jonathan Worsley with a fine 122 bull finish as he progressed to meet Dutch youngster Benito van de Pas.
Jamie Caven, a former European Tour finalist, was a 6-2 winner against Dutchman Yordi Meeuwisse as he moves through to face fast-emerging Rob Cross in the last 32.
Steve West dropped only one leg in a 6-1 win over Chris Quantock, who was punished for ten missed darts at doubles as the Essex man moves through to play Joe Cullen.
James Wilson came from 2-1 down against Latvian Madars Razma – who was making his European Tour debut – to move through and play Dave Chisnall on Saturday.
Polish star Krzysztof Ratajski’s fine year continued as he overcame former World Grand Prix winner Robert Thornton 6-4, averaging almost 99 in another impressive display as he set up a meeting with Simon Whitlock.
Andy Boulton snatched a dramatic 6-5 win over Kevin Painter in a thriller as the former Players Championship Finals winner hit back from 5-2 down only to miss three match darts in a tense finale.
Boulton saw a chance to claim victory go begging in leg ten as back-to-back 76 finishes from Painter forced a decider.
However, the former World Championship finalist missed the bull and two darts at double 11 in a dramatic final leg to allow Boulton back in to land a third-dart double one to move through to play Unibet World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney.
Jan Dekker produced a 99 average as he whitewashed Christian Kist 6-0, with the former Lakeside Champion clearly struggling with an arm injury as he battled in vain to keep alive his hopes at the Lokhalle.
Dekker now plays former European Tour event winner Mervyn King in their second round meeting on Saturday.
“You could see he had pain in his arm but he wanted to play the game,” admitted Dekker. “It was really hard for him and also for me because I had to play as well too.”
The HappyBet European Darts Trophy can be watched worldwide by PDCTV-HD Subscribers at www.pdc.tv, and is also available live through a series of bookmakers’ websites.
HappyBet European Darts Trophy
Friday October 13
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Mick Todd
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-3 Ricky Evans
Keegan Brown 6-2 Jonathan Worsley
James Wilson 6-4 Madars Razma
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Manfred Bilderl
Jamie Caven 6-2 Yordi Meeuwisse
Steve West 6-1 Chris Quantock
Martin Schindler 6-3 John Bowles
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Robert Thornton
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Nico Blum
James Richardson 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Rene Eidams 6-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 James Wade
Chris Dobey 6-4 Robert Allenstein
Andy Boulton 6-5 Kevin Painter
Jan Dekker 6-0 Christian Kist
Saturday October 14
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Benito van de Pas v Keegan Brown
Alan Norris v James Richardson
Gerwyn Price v Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith v Jermaine Wattimena
Dave Chisnall v James Wilson
Joe Cullen v Steve West
Ian White v Vincent van der Voort
Stephen Bunting v Rene Eidams
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Kim Huybrechts v Nathan Aspinall
Jelle Klaasen v Chris Dobey
Rob Cross v Jamie Caven
Peter Wright v Martin Schindler
Simon Whitlock v Krzysztof Ratajski
Michael van Gerwen v Zoran Lerchbacher
Mervyn King v Jan Dekker
Daryl Gurney v Andy Boulton
All games are best of 11 legs