Nathan Aspinall was crowned champion of the PDC’s first-ever home-staged event by winning the Low6 Home Tour Championship Group on Friday night.
As the innovative tournament reached its climax with the final night of action, Aspinall recorded a hat-trick of wins over Gary Anderson, Jonny Clayton and Jelle Klaasen to seal top spot.
The Premier League star, who would have been defending his US Darts Masters title in New York this weekend, kicked off the night in strong fashion with a 6-3 defeat of Dutchman Klaasen.
Gary Anderson also began with a win over Jonny Clayton, before the Scot was edged out 6-5 by Aspinall in one of the highest-quality games of the tournament, which proved crucial in the final standings.
Anderson bounced back with a win over Clayton, to ensure the fate of the title would remain unresolved heading into the last game of a series which began on April 17.
However, Aspinall was not to be denied, as the former UK Open champion held his nerve to defeat Clayton 6-4 and clinch the title.
“I hope all the fans have enjoyed it in these tough times for everyone,” said Aspinall.
“Thank you to the PDC and Low6 for putting on a brilliant tournament.
“I think a lot of us were sceptical at the start but we’ve all loved it. I’ve fully enjoyed taking part and I’ve also won it, so happy days!
“With the announcement today that the World Matchplay will go ahead on its originally scheduled dates I can’t wait to be back on the stage and on TV.”
Spanning across 43 nights, the Home Tour began with a 32-group first phase, with live darts broadcast from the homes of 101 PDC Tour Card Holders, with Luke Woodhouse’s nine-darter the memorable highlight.
Ten nights of Play-Offs action followed, before Friday’s Championship Group ended with glory for Aspinall.
Low6 Home Tour Play-Offs Championship Group Friday June 5 Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Jelle Klaasen Gary Anderson 6-2 Jonny Clayton Jonny Clayton 6-2 Jelle Klaasen Gary Anderson 6-5 Nathan Aspinall Gary Anderson 6-3 Jelle Klaasen Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Jonny Clayton
NATHAN ASPINALL made history by becoming the first-ever PDC title winner is his own kitchen…and then jumped in his hot tub to celebrate.
The World No.7 added to his UK Open and World Series titles by taking Home Tour glory in a nail-biting finish on Friday night. The Asp won a crucial fourth game over Gary Anderson in a deciding leg 6-5 and then overcame Jonny Clayton in a similar fashion with double eight to take the title.
He also beat Jelle Klaasen on the way to the title and then held up a makeshift dinner plate he turned into a trophy after his 12th successful game win. He said: “I’m really pleased to win this.
It actually means a lot. “I found Gary’s anger side. I wasn’t that focused at the start. It’s hard on your own, I’m just in my kitchen.”
“I tried to focus so hard at the end of the day he’s one of the best players to ever throw a dart.
Any win over Gary whether it’s at home or on the World Championship stage”.
“I wanted to be crowned the winner of this, it was a fantastic game.
I’m sure the punters loved that. “I’m now going to jump into my hot tub to celebrate! ”
Aspinall has now won three events this year despite the lockdown and now has his sights set on glory at the Matchplay from July 18.He said: “I’ve hardly been practising during lockdown to be honest, it’s been horrendous. I’ve been trying to play in a few online comps and getting beat first round and second round. I’ve been rubbish to be fair.“In the Home Tour the first few weeks I was pretty poor but I’ve started putting the work in because the rumours were that the Matchplay was going ahead. It takes a couple of weeks to get back to your best.“
“I’m not sure about the Pro Tours, I have a feeling they might put a couple on which I hope they do.“I am up there with the best on the world, I was playing really well before the break. Obviously no one can help what happened, it’s been a tough time for everyone.
“I’ve had two months off with the family, it’s been lovely. Enough’s enough now, I’ve got a job to do, I want to get back to being on the tour.”
Gary Anderson maintained his unbeaten run in his own home to reach the semi-finals of the Low6 Home Tour Play-Offs, winning Group Three on Thursday evening.
Two-time World Champion Anderson came into the night on the back of three wins on his way to topping Group 30 of the competition’s first phase and the Scot picked up where he left off with another hat-trick of victories.
Anderson, who improved his internet connection especially to take part in the home-stage event, began the evening with a 6-2 defeat of Welshman Nick Kenny before averaging over 110.1 in a thumping 6-1 win over Luke Humphries.
Heading into his final game of the night against Jamie Lewis, Anderson needed to win just one leg to top the group, which he achieved in the opening leg of the contest to extinguish Humphries’ lingering hopes of progressing.
Anderson went on to wrap up a 6-3 win over Lewis, joining Jelle Klaasen and Mike De Decker in the tournament’s last eight line-up.
The Low6 Home Tour Play-Offs continues on Friday night with Group Four, which will feature multiple TV finalist Dave Chisnall, two-time World Championship quarter-finalist Darren Webster, Dutchman Geert Nentjes and Australia’s Damon Heta.
Low6 Home Tour Play-Offs Group Three – Thursday May 28 Gary Anderson 6-2 Nick Kenny Luke Humphries 6-2 Jamie Lewis Jamie Lewis 6-4 Nick Kenny Gary Anderson 6-1 Luke Humphries Luke Humphries 6-1 Nick Kenny Gary Anderson 6-3 Jamie Lewis
GARY ANDERSON believes that this year will be “written off” with doubts that the World Matchplay will go ahead. The two-times World Champion goes into the last 32 of the PDC Home Tour online streaming event tonight (Thurs) against Luke Humphries, Nick Kenny, and Jamie Lewis.
But Ando, 49, has revealed he does not feel the Matchplay can happen in July and is happy to just wait for the all-clear from experts.
He said: “I don’t know if it can run at all to be honest. They are telling you, you have to stay away from people. “If we are up in Blackpool, we are up staying in hotels. You have air con which is flying through other rooms. “I will wait until we get all the all-clear and it will be back to normal. They have got to take in hotels into consideration.
“Where are you going to stay? It’s the same when you sit on an aeroplane. If somebody has a cold, by the time it comes through on the air con, everyone ends up with it. “I think it will be the same in hotels and venues. I don’t have a clue. I will wait until I get the green flag to say it’s safe to come out.
“If we are seven or eight weeks behind on the ProTour then we could have a week in Barnsley. Play for the seven or eight days that we need to catch up. That’s not a problem. But the same again – staying in hotels. Can the boys abroad travel? Can they get flights across?
I think this year will be written off, to be honest.”
However, when darts does make it back on the big stage for TV cameras, players and officials could be wearing Anderson branded masks – all proceeds going to the NHS.
He added: “Hopefully they all sell. Dee Smith at Burghley Sports came up with the idea. So, hopefully, load of folk will buy them, make loads of money and we can pass that on to the NHS. “They have been brilliant. You hear about it on the news every day. It’s not just the nurses and doctors, you have the admin staff, the cleaners in hospital, anyone who has something to do with the emergency services. They are right in the line of fire. Hats off to them and thank you very much.
“It would be a bit strange if fans wear them. Even stranger standing on stage, playing with them on! But you never know. Listen get fingers out of your pockets, get a couple bought, and it will go to a good cause. Hopefully we will see loads of them.
”Anderson also admits that he feels for fellow countryman Peter Wright who has had his World Champion year ‘stolen’ from him.
He added: “I haven’t thought about that but it could be. But if this Worlds were to go then he would score an extra year doesn’t he? There will be downs and pluses. “So, it’s a a shame, you play all your life to lift that title and then get it taken away, well the tournaments don’t happen, and you aren’t mentioned as the World Champion.”
Now Anderson faces a tricky Home Tour group including Humphries who became the first Premier League Challenger to win a match against him in March. Ando admits that playing online is a very different experience, adding: “It was strange. I struggled with Dan talking in between each leg. I was pacing up and down. You have got someone you can see when you throw the last darts. So, you know when to walk. I was standing there listening for the thuds on the dartboard. It was hard, you know. But it was fun also.
“I have had a few throws since Barnsley. I have been a home teacher. It takes up all my time. The school have been great and sent Tai plenty of stuff through. It’s coming through the internet. So we have been struggling to print a lot off. He’s up and running now.
“Rachel deals with a lot of it, more than I do. I have got patience that lasts about five minutes. Two young kids test your patience. They do test it. It’s hard for them as well as they cannot see their friends or go to the nursery. They are stuck as well.
“Fortunately they have a decent-sized garden and get chucked out of there for a couple of hours every day.
“There are ducks, chickens in the morning. I am up usually at 5.30am, letting them out. Tai gets up at 7am, 7.30am. I am the one who gets up and does his job. He needs to learn.”
Gary Anderson was talking to Darts World’s Phil Lanning
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