Astounding Aspinall denies Dolan to claim fifth PDC title in Barnsley
Nathan Aspinall defeated Brendan Dolan to claim his fifth PDC title and second of the season as Players Championship Seven took place at the Barnsley Metrodome.
Former UK Open champion, Aspinall, produced some scintillating showings throughout the day in Barnsley, with a sublime string of performances being climaxed with an 8-4 victory over a resurgent Dolan.
The 28-year-old had first beaten the Northern Irishman during a breakthrough World Championship campaign just over two years ago. A remarkable performance on that occasion unearthed Aspinall as a worthy contender.
Since then, Stockport’s former accountant has lifted two televised titles as well as risen into the world’s very elite, despite entering that particular tournament as a 500/1 outsider and world ranked 73.
Aspinall commenced the final with a 13-dart hold of throw, only for Dolan to gain a foothold and subsequently open up a 3-1 lead, whilst pinning the first maximum of the encounter.
The pair then exchanged holds of throw, before Aspinall began to break away. Dolan’s advantage started to fade quickly as the Stockport ace reeled off six legs in succession, including finishes of 136 and 90, to scoop the £10,000 winner’s prize.
“I played steady at times and not so well at others but I’m really happy,” Aspinall told pdc.tv. “I’m full of confidence and was determined to have a good run this weekend.
“I know what I can produce and I know how good I am and there is no reason why I can’t win more titles. The other half is booking our wedding soon so I need the money!”
Aspinall defeated both Alan Tabern and Geert Nentjes to get his campaign underway, before denying Chris Dobey in a thrilling clash. An average of 104.1 and a 112 checkout helped ‘The Asp’ secure a 6-3 victory.
Another ton-plus average from the 28-year-old in beating Vincent van der Voort saw him set up a mouth-watering clash with world number one Michael van Gerwen, in a repeat of their recent UK Open and Premier League showdowns.
Aspinall had surrendered his reign as UK Open champion last weekend at the hands of van Gerwen – who completed a hat-trick of Minehead crowns, though, sought revenge upon the three-time world champion at the Barnsley Metrodome.
Van Gerwen had posted a 102 cumulative average en route to the quarter-finals, however, performed below his usual brilliant best in a heavy 6-1 defeat to the eventual champion, Aspinall.
‘The Asp’ proved prolific in the finishing department as he progressed to the semi-finals, pinning checkouts of 146 and 110 in the early stages, before nailing a 93 outshot to seal the deal.
Aspinall recorded a 105.5 average and overcame a fourth Dutchman in the last four as Danny Noppert departed at the hands of the Stockport thrower. Noppert averaged 103 in a high-quality clash, though, fell short thanks to added brilliance from the major champion.
Former BDO World Championship finalist, Noppert, came through three deciding leg affairs against Matthew Edgar, Ted Evetts and Rob Cross, before breezing past Daryl Gurney and an in-form Krzysztof Ratajski to reach his ninth PDC ranking semi-final.
Meanwhile, the dazzling Dolan resurgence resumed after the Northern Irishman scooped two PDC titles last season. ‘The History Maker’ got proceedings underway with a scintillating 107 average in denying Adrian Gray – who himself pinned a breathtaking 104.7.
Dolan then saw off Niels Zonneveld, Ciaran Teehan and Dave Chisnall to book his place in the quarter-finals, before denying James Wade and Dutchman Derk Telnekes – with the latter producing some giant-killing displays on Saturday afternoon.
The 24-year-old, former Belgium Open champion, overcame both Peter Wright and Gary Anderson in ensuing matches during a breakthrough run in South Yorkshire.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Kai Fan Leung became the first player of Asian descent to reach the fourth round of a Players Championship event. The newly-integrated tour card holder averaged a remarkable 104.3 in defeating the in-form Devon Petersen in round two.
Leung was joined by Premier League table-topper Glen Durrant, Peter Wright, Daryl Gurney and World Youth champion Luke Humphries in exiting at the fourth hurdle of proceedings.
The third round claimed the scalps of Michael Smith, Rob Cross and Gary Anderson, while female star Lisa Ashton gained a notable first round victory over Germany’s Gabriel Clemens, before succumbing to Andrew Gilding in spite of averaging 95.1.
There were a number of players absent due to the current coronavirus status worldwide, with those numbers looking to increase on Sunday as the eighth Players Championship event of the year takes place.
Mensur Suljovic and Karel Sedlacek were amongst those unable to travel due to restrictions, while Krzysztof Ratajski and Krzysztof Kciuk will both return to Poland on Saturday evening ahead of Poland closing its borders on Monday.
PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP SEVEN
Saturday, March 14
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Vincent van der Voort
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Luke Humphries
Danny Noppert 6-0 Daryl Gurney
Ian White 6-1 Kai Fan Leung
James Wade 6-2 Glen Durrant
Derk Telnekes 6-1 Peter Wright
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Michael van Gerwen
Danny Noppert 6-2 Krzysztof Ratajski
James Wade 6-5 Ian White
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Derk Telnekes
Nathan Aspinall 7-3 Danny Noppert
Brendan Dolan 7-1 James Wade
Nathan Aspinall 8-4 Brendan Dolan
(Photography: PDC Europe)