Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home SportLocal 2024 PDC Premier League: Nathan Aspinall Overcomes Rob Cross to Win in Exeter

2024 PDC Premier League: Nathan Aspinall Overcomes Rob Cross to Win in Exeter

Ceri Vaughan-Jones, Online Sport Editor, summarises the action from Night 5 of the PDC Premier League at Exeter’s Westpoint Arena.
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Premier League Night 5, Exeter
Michael van Gerwen came to Exeter on the back of three consecutive wins, but lost to Luke Humphries in the opening match
Image: Sven Mandel, via Wikimedia Commons

Nathan Aspinall cruised to a 6-2 victory over Rob Cross in the final on Night 5 of the PDC Premier League. Point-less after the first three nights of the campaign, ‘The Asp’ is enjoying a return to form, picking up his first win of the season after reaching last week’s final in Newcastle.

He beat winless Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright 6-4 in the quarter-finals before edging out World no.1 Luke Humphries in a deciding-leg thriller on his way to the final.

Aspinall, eager to make amends for his loss in the Night 4 final to Michael van Gerwen, raced into a 5-0 lead against Cross, who had been throwing extraordinary darts up until that point. However, Cross avoided a whitewash and set about mounting a comeback, with an unlikely bullseye checkout bringing the game back to 5-2. However he could not repeat the trick in the eighth leg and ‘The Asp’ struck double tops to seal the match. 

‘The Asp’ struck double tops to seal the match.

Kent-born Cross struggled to get going in the final and did not replicate his impressive darts seen in the build-up to the showdown. ‘Voltage’ thrashed Gerwyn Price, a man he had lost to in six of their past seven meetings, 6-1 in the quarter-finals before securing a comprehensive 6-3 win against teenage sensation Luke Littler

Following his win, Aspinall talked about a change of mentality and tactics having struggled at the beginning of the competition, exiting at the quarter-final stage in each of the first three nights. Talking on Sky Sports, he admitted that he’s been “fighting demons” during times of bad form, but assured that he is a “fighter,” something that was certainly demonstrated on the night. Leaving the negative thoughts of constant misses at double 16 behind, he opted for double tops and appeared to be at his accurate best.

But while the final may have been plain sailing for ‘The Asp’, previous rounds certainly hadn’t been.

But while the final may have been plain sailing for ‘The Asp’, previous rounds certainly hadn’t been. ‘Snakebite’ took an early 3-1 lead in the quarter-finals before being pegged back by Aspinall with a checkout of 86 – 18, 18 and bullseye. At 4-4, ‘The Asp’ was given a huge let off, Wright missing six darts at the double and was duly punished.

Tasked with taking on the current World Champion and World no.1 ranked player ‘Cool Hand’ Luke Humphries, Aspinall stunned the Exeter crowd by taking a 5-1 lead. However, he missed a shot at bullseye for the match and Humphries hit his double, turning the momentum on its head. ‘Cool Hand’ won four consecutive legs and levelled the game at 5-5. But ‘The Asp’ held his nerve in impressive fashion, hitting a massive 160 checkout in the decider and taking him to back-to-back Premier League finals.

In the other matches, the party atmosphere at the Westpoint Arena were treated to the blockbuster fixture of Luke Humphries vs. Michael van Gerwen in the evening’s opening match. Although choruses of ‘stand up if you love the darts’ were being sung right from the first leg, the night got off to a fairly slow start at the oche. Despite coming to Exeter on the back of three consecutive wins, the Dutchman was uncharacteristically wayward, averaging in the 80s and missing his doubles. ‘Cool Hand’ needed no invitation, bringing van Gerwen’s winning streak to an end. 

It was a “nostalgic” return to Exeter for Humphries having twice competed in Devon as a challenger in 2019 and 2020. He drew 6-6 with Gerwyn Price in his first appearance before becoming the first and only challenger to win in the Premier League courtesy of a 7-5 victory over Gary Anderson.

Despite falling at the semi-final round, Luke Littler once again showed why there’s so much hype surrounding him.

Despite falling at the semi-final round, Luke Littler once again showed why there’s so much hype surrounding him. He beat Michael Smith 6-2, whose first Premier League win came at Exeter back in 2016, with an impressive average of 107. He is yet to win a night but has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. ‘The Nuke’ currently sits in second place on nine points, six behind leader van Gerwen. Cross moves to third while Aspinall is in fourth place on nine and eight points respectfully. 

The Premier League now moves along the south coast to East Sussex. Night 6 will be played at the Brighton Centre on Thursday the 7th of March. Live coverage will be available on Sky Sports from 19:00 GMT.

The Premier League table after Night 5
Image: PDC

Results:

Quarter-finals

Luke Humphries 6-3 Michael van Gerwen

Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Peter Wright

Gerwyn Price 1-6 Rob Cross

Luke Littler 6-2 Michael Smith

Semi-finals

Luke Humphries 5-6 Nathan Aspinall

Rob Cross 6-3 Luke Littler

Final

Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Rob Cross

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