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Nathan Aspinall thrashes Jonny Clayton to claim first World Matchplay title

23 Jul 2023 2 minute read
Jonny Clayton. Photo Kieran Cleeves PA Images

Martin Shipton

Nathan Aspinall produced one of the best displays of his career to become World Matchplay champion for the first time after thrashing Jonny Clayton 18-6.

Aspinall won 13 of the last 14 legs, including 11 on the spin from 5-5 on his way to lifting the Phil Taylor Trophy at Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Welshman Clayton, 48, who beat Luke Humphries 17-15 in a thrilling semi-final, had made a 141-checkout to level it up at 5-5, but from there on was a virtual bystander as Aspinall raced away to victory.

While being celebrated by his fans to the tune of ‘Mr Brightside’ by The Killers, he told Sky Sports: “I’ve got no words. I don’t know what it was but I found it.

“I scored brilliant all game. I knew I had to get rid of my darts quicker. The people who come to Blackpool are die hard darts fans.”

The 32-year-old from Stockport produced a 170-finish on the bull to extend his lead to 11-5 and made his fifth 100-plus finish (115) to move 13-5 clear, having averaged 110 over eight legs.

World number seven Clayton stopped the rot to trail 16-6, but there was no halting Aspinall, who clinched the biggest win of his career with double five as he led 17-6.

Aspinall, who lost both the Grand Slam and Grand Prix finals last year, climbed up to fifth in the PDC rankings with his victory, collected the £200,000 winner’s prize and became the 12th player to lift the title.

Earlier on Sunday, teenager Beau Greaves won the Women’s World Matchplay at the first attempt.

The 19-year-old top seed, making her debut in the competition, cruised to a 6-1 victory against Japan’s second seed Mikuru Suzuki.

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