Exclusive. Aspinall: Hopp Defeat Broke Me!

Things could hardly be better for Nathan Aspinall right now. But, the down to earth 28-year-old has had to dig deep to recover from a defeat to Max Hopp in the World Youth Championship final.

Nathan Aspinall owned up to being ‘a broken man’ after his defeat to Max Hopp in 2015. (Pic: L Lustig/PDC)

Talking with Tom Beresford, in the inaugural Darts World ‘Players Lounge’, The Asp revealed that it took him six months to get over the blow:

“It absolutely broke me, for six months I couldn’t win a game in my local League!”

“I was a broken man for six months”

Although Nathan laughs about it now, it is easy to forget, the defeat cost Aspinall a place at Ally Pally as well as the title, cheque, and more. He added:

“I would have got a place in the worlds….. and subsequently retained my tour card”

Overall, it’s clear that Aspinall views his defeat as part of the process that has led him to a major TV title and a place in the Premier League.

“It did hurt me, for six months, but I think that’s helped me to become the player I that I am now”

Nathan also hinted that he has upcoming news regarding his support of Stockport disability darts, a cause that is clearly close to his heart.

For the full, facebook live interview go to our Darts World Magazine Facebook page.

‘OH’ Micheal Van Car Wash!

IT’S Michael, er, Van Car Wash! The three-times World Champion is ready to return to the oche after the prolonged lockdown break by cleaning cars and vans.

MVG could be washing your windscreen at the latest event to bring live darts back to the public!

The World No 1 is lined up to take part in the first Hannover Drive-in Darts Gala on June 24 against Dutch pal Raymond van Barneveld, German star Max Hopp, and South African Devon Petersen. It will be a four-hour open-air exhibition event with German families paying a maximum of €61.50 (£55.33) to watch from the safety of their own cars or vans. A limited number of punters can pay the VIP top price of €181.50 (£163.28) which involves a space in the first row, a sticker, a photo by their car, and their windscreen cleaned before the show by one of the four stars.

The Gala is a madcap way of bringing back top-class darts following the Covid-19 sporting shutdown. Players will do ‘walk-ons’ in golf buggies through the car park, there will be big screens erected and fans can tune into a special radio frequency for commentary. The only time fans can leave their cars is for toilet use, but they may be encouraged to honk their horns with each 180 hit. On the oche, players will observe social-distancing rules with one official rotating a ‘Stop-and-Go’ sign before each throw.

MVG feels Phil Taylors controversial remarks are uttered to “to stay in the spotlight”.(pic Taylor Lanning)

The event, which will be run by PDC Europe, will be held in a huge car park next to the stadium of Bundesliga 2 side Hannover 96. MVG has also hit out at Phil Taylor for suggesting that he could lose his top spot in the sport to Peter Wright. The Power recently claimed that Snakebite could take the mantle as the main man as MVG gets used to life as a father of two children. But Van Gerwen hit back at the 16-times world champion believing he makes big comments to “stay in the spotlight”.MVG told Bureau Sport:

“Taylor has always made statements like that about me, but I have always been very correct with him.

You know what it is, I am the only one who has made it difficult for him over a long period of time”

He was never used to getting such competition and he was never able to digest it well. He has always seen me as a major threat “I think he does this to stay in the spotlight. I’m breaking more and more of his records and before you know it, people will have forgotten about you; which is probably quite difficult for him.”

Phil Lanning| 5-times award-winning journalist/publicist

Drive-In Darts! Germany To Host Innovative Darts Event!

In another superb effort to give spectators some live sport, and show darts at its very best light, the first Hannover Drive-In Darts Gala will be held on June 24th. Darts has been at the forefront of such innovations during the Covid-19 crisis and PDC Europe released the following information:

Darts is shifting into the next gear!
Special times require special measures. That is why you no longer have to go without LIVE darts events and can be the first ones to see the greatest stars of darts again – from the safety of your own car.

Join us in Hanover for the first Drive-In Darts Gala in history and experience the Dutch legends Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, Germany`s Number 1 Max Hopp and „The African Warrior“ Devon Petersen.
The voice of German darts, Elmar Paulke, will be the MC.

Triple-20-Ticket: The price per car is 60 € plus 1,50 € system charge. Two persons per car + a maximum of two related kids.

VIP 180-Ticket
Our limited VIP offer includes
• a space in the first row
• a prefessional photo with the players around your car
• a 180 sign signed by all the players
• a surprise package and a sticker for the Drive-In Darts Gala pioneers!
• CAR-WASH SPECIAL !!! The new Meet & Greet … Prior to the show (6.30pm – 7pm) your windscreen will be cleaned by one of the stars – for an ideal view of the show 😉

VIP 180-Ticket: The price per car is 180 € plus 1,50 € system charge. Two persons per car + a maximum of two related kids.

Please note the conditions of participation and safety instructions.

Four ‘Giants of Darts’ will contest the Drive-In Darts Gala next month!

Original Report from pdc-europe.de

Unibet Home Tour: Hopp Takes Group Twelve.

Max Hopp won Group 12 of the Unibet Home Tour on Tuesday night as technical issues for Keegan Brown forced a reshuffle of the fixtures.

Max Hopp quiz.
Max Hopp claimed the disrupted group 12. (Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The unique home-broadcast tournament usually sees four-player groups in action, but Group 12 saw Brown unable to continue after playing one of his three scheduled matches due to technical problems.

As a result, Hopp and rivals Conan Whitehead and Mike De Decker faced each other twice in the group, with the German ace eventually coming out on top with three wins.

Hopp had lost out 5-3 to De Decker in the night’s opening fixture, but reversed that result later in the evening as well as defeating Whitehead 5-3 and 5-2.

Whitehead had claimed a 5-2 win over De Decker in their first meeting, but a 5-1 reverse in their repeat fixture saw the Belgian ace claim second spot in the final table.

The Unibet Home Tour continues on Wednesday from 1930 BST with Group 13, which sees Steve Beaton, Matthew Edgar, Carl Wilkinson and Callan Rydz face off.

The Unibet Home Tour can be watched live and free through PDCTV for registered users (new users can sign up for FREE here), as well as through bookmakers’ websites and international broadcasters.

PDC Home Tour

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

Unibet Home Tour 
Group 12 – Tuesday April 28
Max Hopp 3-5 Mike De Decker
Keegan Brown 3-5 Conan Whitehead – result void
Mike De Decker 2-5 Conan Whitehead
Max Hopp v Keegan Brown – match not played
Keegan Brown v Mike De Decker – match not played

Conan Whitehead 3-5 Max Hopp
Mike De Decker 3-5 Max Hopp
Max Hopp 5-2 Conan Whitehead
Conan Whitehead 1-5 Mike De Decker

Featrured Pic: Kelly Dekkers

Unibet Home Tour. Hopp and Brown Head Group 12.

The Unibet Home Tour continues on Tuesday with Group 12 – watch live & free from 1930 BST.

Taking it all in. (Photo: Kelly Deckers)

Former World Youth Champions Max Hopp and Keegan Brown are joined by Conan Whitehead and Mike De Decker.

The Unibet Home Tour can be watched live and free through PDCTV for registered users (new users can sign up for FREE here), as well as through bookmakers’ websites and international broadcasters.

PDC Home Tour

Registered PDCTV members can also watch for FREE through the official PDC App.

Unibet Home Tour 
Group 12 – Tuesday April 28 (1930 BST)
Max Hopp v Mike De Decker
Keegan Brown v Conan Whitehead
Mike De Decker v Conan Whitehead
Max Hopp v Keegan Brown
Keegan Brown v Mike De Decker
Conan Whitehead v Max Hopp

PDC Home Tour

Fans in the UK & Ireland can watch through the Sky Sports App.

As well as being shown through a series of bookmakers’ websites, the Unibet Home Tour will also be broadcast live by a number of the PDC’s international broadcast partners listed below.

Featured Pic: Max Hopp by Steve Walsh

Dart’s World Readers Fill The Vacuum: A Review of The German Darts Grand Prix.

This weekend was scheduled to host the third event of the 2020 PDC European Tour – the German Darts Grand Prix. This tournament, as well as the European Darts Open, was rescheduled as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. It has been tentatively rescheduled for July 31st – August 1st. So with the lack of professional darts to keep us entertained this weekend, here is a look back at the 2019 instalment.

Simon Whitlock took on MVG in last years final.

The 2019 German Darts Grand Prix final saw World Number One Michael Van Gerwen take on Australian Simon Whitlock at Zenith, Munich. The Dutchman was seeking his thirtieth European Tour title, his opponent looking for only his second, having won the Dutch Darts Masters way back in 2012.

Van Gerwen arrived at the tournament having more trophies for the German Darts Grand Prix then Whitlock had European Tour titles in total, the Dutchman taking the titles in both 2017 and 2018. His first Grand Prix victory came after a 6-3 victory over soon-to-be World Champion Rob Cross. He backed this up the following year by overturning Peter Wright 8-5 (Euro Tour finals had been extended to best of fifteen legs in between these two tournaments).

The gulf between Whitlock and Van Gerwen was further emphasised by their head-to-head record going into the final. Of their thirty-nine career meetings, Whitlock had won just five. The previous fourteen contests had all gone in MvG’s favour; a run going back as far as October 2016.

Van Gerwen’s route to the final also showed the fantastic run of form he was in. He posted back-to-back 100+ averages against Ratajski, and then Bunting in his first two rounds. He was then pushed all the way by Ted Evetts in a 6-5 quarter-final match, before breezing past Rob Cross 7-1 in the semi-finals.

So with all this in mind, the way the final played out will not come as a surprise. MvG coasted into a 5-0 lead. He won legs in fourteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, and eleven darts respectively, breaking the Australian’s throw three times in the process.

Whitlock, clearly seeing that the final was out of his reach, began playing up to the crowd. He won three of the next four legs, to bring a clearly-annoyed Van Gerwen back to 6-3. ‘The Wizard’ then attempted a daring 145-out going for the bulls eye, treble fifteen, and bulls eye again, in the tenth leg. He unfortunately missed the second bull in the combination to claim the leg.

Van Gerwen swept in to clean up, and proceed to claim an 8-3 victory and another £25,000 cheque. Despite seemingly faltering in the middle of the match, his game average was still 106.45, showing the exceptionally high standards he has set for himself.

Unfortunately for Whitlock, despite making the final last year, when the Grand Prix is eventually held in 2020, he will not be in attendance, having dropped out of the Top 16 of the ProTour Order of Merit.

Similarly, Johnny Clayton, Max Hopp, Danny Noppert, and Darren Webster have also dropped out. They are to be replaced by Aspinall, Price, Ratajski, Durrant, and Jamie Hughes. Hopp is still set to attend as an invitee alongside Gabriel Clemens, the two being the best German players at the moment.

James Smith

Thanks to James Smith for taking to time to entertain and inform Darts World readers.

Catch up with James’s choice of the six best matches to watch during lockdown here.

Featured Pic: Kelly / PDC Europe

Mic Drop! The December Instalment from John Fowler’s Darting Life.

John Folwer is a an MC, Host and Darts Referee. He has worked with legendary players and promoted darts all over the globe. He recently made his World Championship Officiating debut. His monthly column appears in Darts World Magazine.

Here is December 2019’s Episode:

Hello again readers, what a month I’ve had since my last report. A fantastic week in the sun at the Northern Cyprus open, culminating in calling the finals, sharing those duties with Mick Connerton, on the Sunday  afternoon, great job my friend.

I actually played in two of the events, reaching the last 16 of the warm up singles for players that had no partners in the mixed pairs. I decided to enter the Men’s singles on the Saturday night where I was drawn against the number 14 seed, Gabriel Pascaru of Romania. I missed 4 darts at a double in the 1st leg and the rest as they say is history. I may get to referee for him at the World Championships at the O2 Indigo in January. 

John has now called, referreed and officiated in three major TV events and one major final.

No sooner had I landed back in England, it was time to repack my bag for a weekend in Essex at the iconic Circus Tavern for the World Masters as seen on Eurosport. It was brilliant to meet up with the majority of the refereeing team again, great job again folks. I called four great matches on the Saturday, then two quarter finals, one of the semi finals and the first five sets of the final. 

Congratulations to John O’shea on his victory and commiserations to Scott Waites, the runner up and to all the other qualifiers too. Well done to Lisa Ashton on her victory in the ladies tournament. It was great to see Bobby George and his lovely wife Marie in attendance on the Sunday. Many thanks to everyone for their kind comments and words of encouragement, they are really appreciated.

I am very much looking forward to January at the O2 Indigo. Toward the end of October 2019, at an exhibition in Wittlich,in front of 1500 fans, I finally added Raymond van Barneveld to the list of World champions that I have worked with. It was a fantastic night, in another beautiful part of Germany, that also included Ian White, Max Hopp and Gabriel Clemens.

John likes to enjoy all aspects of our great game! The social element is just as important as the official one.

By the time that you read this I will have officiated at the Malta open for the 3rd time in 4 years. Looking forward to a weekend in Dublin with Devon Petersen and Stephen Bunting at the beginning of December, always a great experience in the Emerald Isle. 2020 looks like it will provide more fantastic times with the diary filling up nicely. Already plenty of events booked in Germany and Switzerland is also booked again. Also my first darts event in Jersey has been confirmed. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading, hopefully you enjoy reading about it as much as I do writing about it. 

Signing off for 2019 and wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in 2020.

A.I.M: Pick Their Premier League ‘Challengers’

In response to Andrew Devonshire’s article (http://www.dartsworld.com/challengers-challenge-pick-who-should-face-the-premier-league-field/) Dart designers, consultants and equipment testers A.I.M: have offered their selections for the seven remaining slots in the Premier League Challengers team for 2020. In addition, they have included a controversial wildcard:

Surely Whitey has earned his chance? Are they scared of him?
Pic: PDC L Lustig
  • Ian White
  • Krystztof Ratajaski
  • Seigo Asada
  • Max Hopp
  • Ricky Evans
  • Gabriel Clemens
  • Josh Payne

Our first selection is the Diamond, Ian White. Whitey has been consistently on the vrge of the Premier League (by right) for quite a few years. It seems very unfair that he does not even get an opportunity to get used to it. He is a very funny guy and a player who adapts and improves to every situation. This tester session could be just what he needs to jump up another level. Kryzstof is a major champion and he has claimed PDC titles already, it is only a matter of time before he qualifies and this would give him a chance to show he can do it under these conditions.

Selecting two Germans is both sensible for the development of the game and keeping up the standard of those selected. Clemens is a seriously hard working player who gets better on the time and Hopp know how to win matches and titles.

Ricky Evans is the such a singular player that it would be good to see him in these conditions. If he could retain his composure and relaxation he would be superb entertainment, the crowd would love him. Baby Shark anyone?

Asada gives the Asian tour a focus within the Premier League and may lead to a visit there very soon! He is a quality player who has performed well both on tour and in World Championships.

A fine example of a young professional who has done it the right way. Josh payne could cause a headache or two and deserves reward.

Josh Payne has developed strongly. He has taken his time and matured through each stage of the modern game. Talented, though a little under rated, Josh is a fine example of what a new generation young player should be in attitude, presentation and professionalism. It would be wise to reward this.

WILDCARD – Ted Hankey

The ultimate villain?
Pic: Wimau

We cant help thinking, that if Ted is fit enough, The Count would be a superb guest star. In many ways Hankey, at the Grand Slam, showed the way in terms of a darts villain. It would certainly be a challenge for his opponent and great fun for the crowd.

Gabriel Clemens – Pushing For German Supremacy.

German darts supremo Gabriel Clemens is fast becoming the name from the sport’s growth in Germany over the past decade.

Gabriel Clemens is having a bumper 2019, how far will he go?
Pic : PDC

Our Darts World reporter LOCK UP TIPSTER added this summary of his superb year to Darts World ( Print Edition) in August 2019

Alongside previously better-known names like Max Hopp and Martin Schindler, the World No56 (at the time of writing) has had plenty to offer since starting to make more frequent appearances on the PDC Tour.

Clemens won his Tour-Card at the first attempt in January 2018, at the Euro Q School Event, and did not waste much time in showing us his true ability. Clemens reached his first Pro Tour final within five months of gaining his card and only lost out, in a deciding leg, to Gary Anderson.

An impressive 2018 also saw the German thrower make his World Series of Darts debut, before reaching the last 16 of the Players Championship Finals and making his debut at the Alexandra Palace for the World Championships.

If in 2018 it was pleasing enough to try to progress, as a player, then 2019 is proving a whole new level. Clemens hit the ground running in February with another Pro Tour final, losing out 4-8 to an in form Gerwyn Price. Gabriel then made it a trio of final defeats in Pro tour events, going down 4-8 again in April, this time Johnny Clayton was the victor.

A strong victory over RVB set ‘The Giant’ on his way in the World Series.

Neither the experience gained from the tour nor the rapid growth in German darts have done Gabriel any harm. He was again been invited to the German edition of the World Series enjoying an excellent run defeating both RVB, and Rob Cross, whilst averaging almost 100. Clemens reached the final by taking out Mensur 8-3 in the semi, here his checkout percentages made all the difference in a lower scoring game.

Again, however, the final was to prove the final hurdle. Peter Wright edged ‘The Giant’ as Clemens is known, 8-6. It may well have been that Gabriel ran out of steam. The Euro events involve playing more than one high-pressure game on the same day. This is a distinct disadvantage for the less experienced player. despite the disappointment, the TV stage experience can be nothing but beneficial in the longer run

The combined result, of 2019’s successes, has been to catapult Clemens to within reach of countryman Martin Schindler in the PDC rankings. Should he overhaul ‘The Wall’ it is highly likely that he will represent his nation in next years World Cup of Darts.

Next for ‘The Giant’ will be to maintain his form on the Pro Tour and consolidate a position within the top 64. This will ensure another appearance at The Players Championship ( Pro Tour) Finals and ensure he is kept busy before returning to Ally Pally in December. These combined efforts should see him surpass Schindler who is currently outside the top 64.

It is not impossible ( at the time of writing) for Clems to continue his remarkable year by qualifying for the World Grand Prix and the European Championships as well as those listed above. However, they are not yet nailed on and will require qualifications and decent runs in multiple events. Nothing should be counted out during Clemens’ excellent year.

Conrgatulations & Good Luck for the rest of 2019, Gabriel!

Story: LOCKUPTIPSTER (August 2019)

Edits: DW Editorial Team (Oct 2019)

Big H Claims Players Championship Title.

HARRY WARD claimed his first PDC title at Players Championship 16 in Barnsley on Sunday, defeating Max Hopp 8-7 in a dramatic final.

21-year-old Ward, who won his PDC Tour Card at UK Qualifying School in January 2019, continued his remarkable rise with a first title within four months of playing full-time on the professional circuit on the second day of the ProTour weekend double-header.

The Derbyshire youngster was ranked 88th on the PDC Order of Merit at the start of play but produced a string of impressive displays to reach his third ranking quarter-final of the year.

Defeats of Vincent Kamphuis, Madars Razma, James Richardson meant that the Unicorn man would meet World Championship runner-up Michael Smith in the Last 16, where a 145 finish saw him come through a deciding leg.

Ward, part of the MDA stable of players, then overcame Nathan Aspinall 6-5, which he followed up with a 7-4 win over Jose de Sousa to reach the final where he held his nerve to defeat Hopp and claim the £10,000 star prize.

“This is unreal, I’m so, so happy to win this title,” said Ward.

“Max is a great player and it was a really tough final, and after I missed three darts for the match I began to doubt myself a bit.

“I rode my luck at times but that’s what you have to do sometimes and I’m really pleased that I made the most of it.

“I went to Q School without expecting to win a Tour Card so to achieve what I have done over the past few months is fantastic for me, and now I want to kick on further.”

The final between 21-year-old Ward and 22-year-old Hopp began with a stunning 133 checkout from Ward, who doubled his lead only for Hopp to fire back to restore parity.

Ward fired in his 20th 180 of the day before finding tops to break throw and 5-3 up, and followed it up with another 13-darter to take a commanding 6-3 lead.

Hopp once again fought back, taking out a magnificent 150 finish to make it three straight legs for the German number one, who was bidding for his third PDC title in just over a year.

At 7-6 up, Ward missed three match darts, allowing Hopp to his double ten with his last dart in hand to take a thrilling encounter to a last-leg shoot-out.

Hopp piled on the pressure with visits of 180 and 125, but Ward was unshaken as he took out 68 to seal a historic win in his short career.

It was also a significant day for Robert Thornton, who returned to form with a win over Michael van Gerwen in the Last 32, which he followed with the third nine-dart finish of his career in a 6-3 win over Krzyszytof Ratakski.

The former World Grand Prix champion then defeated Chris Dobey to reach his first PDC semi-final in almost two years, where he was eventually defeated by Hopp.

Back-to-back quarter-final appearances across the weekend for Dobey move him into the world’s top 32 for the first time, Challenge Tour high-flyer Scott Taylor reached his second ProTour quarter-final and Portgual’s Jose de Sousa reached his first PDC semi-final.

Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis and Corey Cadby all fell before the Last 16 stage, while Raymond van Barneveld and Players Championship 15 winner Glen Durrant both suffered first round defeats.

The next Players Championship events will be held from across the weekend June 22-23 at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan, with live action shown on video.pdc.tv

See full Players Championship 16 results at DartConnect.com

Players Championship 16 Sunday May 19, The Barnsley Metrodome

Last 16
Robert Thornton 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Chris Dobey 6-0 Jonny Clayton
Danny Noppert 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Max Hopp 6-2 Alan Tabern
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Adrian Gray
Harry Ward 6-5 Michael Smith
Scott Taylor 6-3 John Henderson
Jose de Sousa 6-5 Vincent van der Voort

Quarter-FinalsRobert Thornton 6-3 Chris Dobey
Max Hopp 6-3 Danny Noppert
Harry Ward 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Jose de Sousa 6-1 Scott Taylor

Max Hopp 7-6 Robert Thornton
Harry Ward 7-4 Jose de Sousa

Harry Ward 8-7 Max Hopp


Written by Josh Phillips