Darts results: Nathan Aspinall wins PDC Home Tour 'plate' after topping Championship Group ahead of Gary Anderson

Nathan Aspinall won the PDC Home Tour

Nathan Aspinall become the first ever PDC Home Tour champion by pipping Gary Anderson to top spot in the tournament's finale - and then celebrated by lifting a homemade winners' dinner plate.

It was a fittingly humorous way to conclude an event that has been played in wonderfully light-hearted - yet equally competitive - spirit over 43 nights and seven weeks of online darting drama.

Since the first dart was thrown in the palace of Peter Wright on April 17, 101 players have battled it out and exchanged banter from their various darts cabins, sheds, bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens around the globe but after 258 games, one of the brightest stars of the sport rose to the top.

Although Aspinall's hard-fought 6-4 victory over Jonny Clayton in the 258th match sealed maximum points and top spot in Friday's Championship Group, the pivotal moment came when he inflicted Gary Anderson's first defeat of the entire tournament.

The 2019 UK Open champion, who beat Anderson en route to his second successive World Championship semi-final in December, came back from 3-1 to clinch a thrilling 6-5 win and averaged a sparking 106.4 in the process compared to his opponent’s 101.2.

The Flying Scotsman bounced back from the setback with a 6-3 triumph over the winless Jelle Klaasen, meaning Aspinall had to defeat Clayton while the Welshman needed an unlikely 6-0 scoreline in his favour.

Aspinall showed signs of jitters when a 2-0 lead turned into a 3-2 deficit, but in trademark battling fashion he won four of the next five legs despite averaging seven points fewer with 92 to pick up his fifth career PDC title and perhaps his first and last from his own home.

"I've just won something so here we go," said the 28-year-old from his home in Stockport as he lifted his dinner plate. "It's permanent marker so it's going in the bin after this, but there's my little trophy for the night.

"To be fair, I didn't play well at all the start. People say playing at home is not that important but we play each other week in, week out, and it's nice to get something over another player, and any tournament, you want to win it. Anyone who says there's no pressure in this is lying, I felt the nerves there.

"Hopefully I'll be the one and only winner of the Home Tour. Hopefully the fans enjoyed it. It's difficult times for everyone. With the Matchplay announced today, I can't wait to get back on the stage."

What started out as a stop-gap solution to give darts fans some live elite sport to watch as well as providing its players with some much-needed match practice, will be remembered by most as a triumph in the unprecedented circumstances, even if it's never to be repeated.

The PDC couldn’t have wished for more publicity for the start of the ground-breaking tournament when Anderson’s dodgy WiFi initially ruled him out before a dart was thrown back in April.

As another typically surreal news story of lockdown went viral, it felt as if the whole sporting world was talking about the only event that could take place during the coronavirus crisis, while a picture that he posted of his internet speed on Twitter received in excess of 15k likes.

It even overshadowed Michael van Gerwen opting out due to his crying newborn baby and a noisy pet dog.

But after 29 of 32 successive nights of first-round group action, which included a perfect leg from Luke Woodhouse's kitchen and no end of shocks, the Flying Scotsman was finally able to take part at the 11th hour having changed his internet provider at his house in the depths of Somerset.

Even so, a self-confessed technophobe wasn’t exactly hopeful. The 101st and final entrant said: "It's going to be a bit strange playing somebody over the net, I've never done it before. I think the youngsters do it all the time with all these new devices. I'm not big with technology, I'd rather be out in the garden doing something.”

Even after winning all three games, the concept was still baffling him. "It is a bit hard. I have been pacing up and down at the back of the stage. I'm listening to the phone and I'm watching the iPad and I've not really got a clue what's going on.”

As long as a dartboard is involved, Anderson is certainly an old dog who can learn new tricks.

The two-time world champion cranked up his averages and performances to reel off six more wins across two more table-topping nights as he gave himself a chance of adding a 48th PDC trophy to his glittering CV.

"Everyone knows I like to play in a rhythm, so playing over the internet is quite hard in that respect," Anderson previously admitted. "I had to get my wife Rachel to help me set up all the technological side of it, I'm no good with any of that stuff! I've probably done a bit better than I thought I was going to do, I haven't practiced too much during lockdown.

"Obviously, you can't see your opponent so you have to listen out for the third thud of the dart going into the board before you get ready to throw which has taken some getting used to. But I think I've sussed it now and it would be great to keep playing well and become the first and hopefully only winner of the Home Tour."

Anderson looked well on course to do just that when averaging a sparkling 109.2 in an opening 6-2 victory over Clayton but his hopes took a blow when Aspinall became the first player to beat him.

After bouncing back - albeit ultimately in vain - against Klaasen, who lost all three of his games, the 49-year-old smiled and said: "I’ve learned a few things like technology and it’s been good fun! I really enjoyed it."

As for Clayton, he'll have two interesting stories to tell in years to come when asked about how he spent lockdown, but his dilemma will be which one he’s most proud of.

Firstly, the Ferret swapped his usual job as a plasterer for delivering food to the vulnerable and elderly as part of his role as a key worker for his local council in Pontyberem.

And secondly, of course, using his nights off to reach the inaugural final of the PDC's first ever online tournament.

On the four nights he returned to his lucrative ‘hobby’ in the comfort of his own house, the popular Welshman brilliantly won nine of his 12 matches. Of the three he lost, two came against the eventual champion and the other against the runner-up.

PDC Home Tour Darts: Championship Group results, routes to the final & averages

Final - Friday June 5 (1930 BST)

  • (97) Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Jelle Klaasen (83.7)
  • (109.2) Gary Anderson 6-2 Jonny Clayton (96.9)
  • (88.7) Jelle Klaasen 2-6 Jonny Clayton (96.7)
  • (106.4) Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Gary Anderson (101.2)
  • (96) Gary Anderson 6-3 Jelle Klaasen (87.3)
  • (99.2) Jonny Clayton 4-6 Nathan Aspinall (92.6)

GROUP STANDINGS

  1. Nathan Aspinall P 3 W 3 L 0 Leg Diff +6 Pts 6
  2. Gary Anderson P 3 W 2 L 1 Leg Diff +6 Pts 4
  3. Jonny Clayton P 3 W 1 L 2 Leg Diff -2 Pts 2
  4. Jelle Klaasen P 3 W 0 L 3 Leg Diff -10 Pts 0

Scroll further down for routes to the final

CLICK HERE FOR FULL TOURNAMENT RESULTS & FIXTURES

Do you know all the players who beat Phil Taylor at a major tournament?

ROUTES TO THE FINAL: Player-by-player form, results & averages

GARY ANDERSON

First Stage: Topped Group 30 (Report)

  • (89.7) Gary Anderson 5-1 Dirk van Duijvenbode (91)
  • (92.7) Gary Anderson 5-1 Dimitri Van den Bergh (83.7)
  • (87.2) Kim Huybrechts 2-5 Gary Anderson (92.9)

Second Stage: Topped Group 3 (Report)

  • (87.3) Gary Anderson 6-2 Nick Kenny (83.3)
  • (110.1) Gary Anderson 6-1 Luke Humphries (102)
  • (86.2) Jamie Lewis 3-6 Gary Anderson (98.7)

Semi-Final Stage: Topped Group 1 (Report)

  • (93.4) Gary Anderson 6-5 Mike De Decker (92.8)
  • (98.1) Gary Anderson 6-3 Dave Chisnall (89.3)
  • (87.7) Jelle Klaasen 2-6 Gary Anderson (92.8)

JELLE KLAASEN

First Stage: Topped Group 7 (Report)

  • (85.4) Jelle Klaasen 5-2 Gavin Carlin (85)
  • (96.2) Gabriel Clemens 3-5 Jelle Klaasen (93)
  • (92.7) Jelle Klaasen 4-5 Ryan Meikle (94.6)

Second Stage: Topped Group 1 (Report)

  • (93) Cristo Reyes 6-5 Jelle Klaasen (91.3)
  • (76.3) Ryan Murray 4-6 Jelle Klaasen (82)
  • (90.4) Jelle Klaasen 6-1 Peter Wright (80.7)

Semi-Final Stage: Runner-Up Group 1 (Report)

  • (86.5) Dave Chisnall 2-6 Jelle Klaasen (86.4)
  • (88.5) Mike De Decker 3-6 Jelle Klaasen (88.5)
  • (87.7) Jelle Klaasen 2-6 Gary Anderson (92.8)

JONNY CLAYTON

First Stage: Topped Group 8 (Report)

  • (96) Jonny Clayton 5-2 Adam Hunt (90.2)
  • (90.5) Jonny Clayton 5-3 Richard North (87.6)
  • (77.7) David Pallett 2-5 Jonny Clayton (92.8)

Second Stage: Topped Group 8 (Report)

  • (103.9) Jonny Clayton 6-3 Scott Waites (99.5)
  • (102) Jonny Clayton 6-3 Max Hopp (81.7)
  • (79.9) Carl Wilkinson 2-6 Jonny Clayton (91.9)

Semi-Final Stage: Topped Group 2 (Report)

  • (106.7) Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Jonny Clayton (100.2)
  • (89.7) Joe Cullen 5-6 Jonny Clayton (90.5)
  • (97) Jonny Clayton 6-1 Rob Cross (92.8)

NATHAN ASPINALL

First Stage: Topped Group 10 (Report)

  • (91.4) Nathan Aspinall 5-2 Steve Brown (85.8)
  • (98.5) Nathan Aspinall 5-2 Ryan Joyce (90.3)
  • (65.9) Simon Stevenson 1-5 Nathan Aspinall (85.6)

Second Stage: Topped Group 7 (Report)

  • (91.2) Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Jesús Noguera (94.6)
  • (86.6) Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Jamie Hughes (84.8)
  • (90.7) Jose De Sousa 4-6 Nathan Aspinall (89.7)

Semi-Final Stage: Runner-Up Group 2 (Report)

  • (106.7) Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Jonny Clayton (100.2)
  • (107.5) Rob Cross 6-5 Nathan Aspinall (104.8)
  • (97.3) Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Joe Cullen (92.5)

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