Nathan Aspinall is arming himself with the seasoned advice of the world’s elite as he embarks on his maiden Premier League season.
The UK Open winner responded to a mixed run of form on Thursday by edging out reigning champion and five-time winner Michael van Gerwen 7-5 in Cardiff.
A clench of the fists and a roar of ‘come on’ to the Welsh crowd told the story of Aspinall’s hours of hard-work behind the scenes in dedication to cementing his spot among the best.
It was just a year ago that the 28-year-old was making his Premier League debut as a week four contender against Michael Smith in Nottingham. Now he is taking advantage of life on the road in the company of the oche’s experienced campaigners.
Night Three Results: Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Aspinall told Sky Sports: “I’m playing in the Premier League and I’m in the Champions League in September and I’ve never even played in the tournament before, I’m a debutant and yet I’m playing in the Premier League. Everything is new to me, I’m just taking everything in.
“I listen to Michael (van Gerwen), I listen to Gary (Anderson), Peter Wright, all these people that have been there and done it.
“I take advice from them because there are no better people to take advice from than those big guys. I ask them questions and fair play to them, they help me. I’m learning, I just love playing darts, I’m loving life.
“Nights like tonight (Thursday), all the hours that I practise and missing my kids and my partner Kirsty is worth it because I’ve got a great result tonight. I’m buzzing.”
By his own admission, Aspinall headed into Thursday prepared to settle for a draw against a then-unbeaten Van Gerwen, who had opened the season with victories over Wright and Daryl Gurney.
Besides securing a terrific result, Aspinall did so by producing the accomplished performance he has been yearning in recent weeks.
“I go into this game thinking the chances are if I get a point it’s a good result,” he said. “And I think every other player in the back room would take a point against Michael.
“It’s all new to me. All I want to do is go up there and play my best game, win games, win points, get high up the table, win titles, win money. Importantly for me, it’s just to perform well.
“I’ve performed well and got a result against the best player in the world and I’m on cloud nine. Hopefully now that’s me kick-starting in the Premier League and hopefully I can build on that.”
Aspinall’s triumph against Van Gerwen followed up defeats to Joe Murnan and Danny Noppert in the Players Championship 4, highlighting the mixed results he is still learning to process.
The world No 8 was in stunning form earlier this month as he beat Gerwyn Price 8-3 in the final of Players Championship 2 in Barnsley having produced a nine-dart finish and a 117.5 average against World Champion Wright in the quarter-finals.
Live Premier League Darts
February 27, 2020, 7:00pm
Night Four, February 27: 3Arena, Dublin
“Last weekend in Wigan I didn’t play particularly well, I was a bit down from Thursday night still because I felt like I deserved more,” added Aspinall.
“It’s tough (the ups and downs), it’s something that I’m dealing with. I’m quite strong mentally but it’s still something new that I’ve got to learn to deal with.
“I’ve won one out of the first four Pro Tours, I beat Peter Wright at 118 so I know when my game’s there I’m playing well.”
Aspinall is not only eyeing survival beyond Judgement Night in Rotterdam on March 26, but also a push for the top four and beyond in what is shaping up to be a tight-knit table.
Added motivation comes in the form of family plans to watch him in Manchester on night 12.
He explained: “I’ve literally got about 50 of my family that have all bought tickets for Manchester so I kind of said ‘that’s after the cut off’. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Source: Read Full Article