Amazing Aspinall seals UK Open glory in fairy-tale fashion

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 4 Mar 2019
An emotional Aspinall lifts the trophy (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Nathan Aspinall clinched his first major title in incredible style with a 170 checkout to defeat Rob Cross 11-5 in the final and triumph at the 2019 UK Open in Minehead.

The 27-year-old backed up his breakthrough run to the Semi-Finals of the World Championship with a remarkable triumph at the Butlins Minehead Resort to become the latest first-time winner of a PDC major.

Just over 12 months since regaining his Tour Card at Qualifying School and less than three months after being ranked outside the world's top 70, Aspinall is now among the world's elite top 16 after creating a slice of darting history.

"I've worked so hard to get this far and to win this title is just a truly amazing feeling," said an emotional Aspinall.

"To come out on top in a 160-man field and win my first major is incredible.

"[In 2014] my grandad and I were sat in the crowd and I told him I'm as good as the players up there, and now here I am lifting the trophy on this stage, it's just unreal.

"The standard is so tough now, it was a long day for us both and neither Rob nor I played like we can in the final but I'm just so happy to get the win."

"If you're dedicated and put the hours in, anything is possible."

Aspinall's run to the final began with a 6-3 victory over Toni Alcinas in the Third Round, before he went on to edge out Christian Kist 10-9 in a nail-biting clash and thrash Latvia's Madars Razma 10-2.

The Stockport star then produced a stunning comeback to deny Steve Lennon 10-8 before taking down Ross Smith 10-6 and ending the blistering run of Gerwyn Price with an 10-9 triumph in the Semi-Finals.

The first four legs of the final were shared before Aspinall made the first breakthrough with a 77 finish to break throw and hit the front.

He then made it four legs without reply to open up a 5-2 lead before Cross stopped the rot to clinch back-to-back legs.

A pivotal moment in the match saw Cross squander six darts at doubles to allow 'The Asp' to make it 6-4, and though the world number two clinched leg 11, Aspinall reeled off four in a row to move to the verge of victory.

The former World Youth finalist got over the line at the first available opportunity, raising the roof with a spectacular 170 checkout to etch his name into darting folklore.

Cross was bidding for his second major title to follow up his 2018 world title triumph and began the day by defeating Josh Payne 10-7 before knocking out a spirited Michael Smith 11-7 in the Semi-Finals.

"In fairness, Nathan played well," said Cross. "I have to admit, I've got nothing left, there was nothing there.

"The final slipped away before it even started.

"I didn't feel right and to be honest, Nathan deserves it, you've got a true champion there.

"I never ever admit defeat, but at 10-5, I told him well done. I can't make any excuses or be angry with myself."

Smith had been battling through the pain barrier throughout the weekend after undergoing an emergency operation on his groin just days earlier but saw his gallant efforts fall narrowly short.

Local favourite Simon Stevenson saw his landmark run ended by an in-form Price - whose own 20-match unbeaten run was brought to an end by an inspired Aspinall.

There was also a first major Quarter-Final appearance for both Ross Smith and Payne, while former Lakeside Champion Steve Beaton was thrashed 10-1 by a relentless Smith.

The 2019 Ladbrokes UK Open featured a record field of 159 players competing across three days for a record prize fund of £450,000, with an open draw conducted at the end of each round.

Ladbrokes UK Open 2019 Results


Sunday March 3

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
Rob Cross 10-7 Josh Payne
Michael Smith 10-1 Steve Beaton
Simon Stevenson 5-10 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 10-6 Ross Smith

Evening Session 

Semi-Finals
Gerwyn Price 9-11 Nathan Aspinall
Rob Cross 11-7 Michael Smith

Final
Nathan Aspinall 11-5 Rob Cross



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Amazing Aspinall seals UK Open glory in fairy-tale fashion

Nathan Aspinall clinched his first major title in incredible style with a 170 checkout to defeat Rob Cross 11-5 in the final and triumph at the 2019 UK Open in Minehead.

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