Premier League Darts 2020: Glen Durrant beats Nathan Aspinall to win first PDC televised title
It started in Aberdeen, was put on hold in Liverpool and then continued in Milton Keynes, but on Thursday in Coventry, Premier League Darts crowned its 2020 champion after Glen Durrant beat Nathan Aspinall in a thrilling final.
Three-time BDO world champion Duzza adds the £250,000 first prize to the £25,000 he won for topping the regular-season table but more importantly, his 11-8 success gives him a maiden PDC televised title.
Over 250 days after the tournament began, Aspinall and Durrant came through their semi-finals earlier in the evening to meet in a first final between two debutants since the inaugural event in 2005.
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Aspinall was too good for reigning world champion Peter Wright, coming from 4-3 down with a magnificent burst to seize the initiative, which he never relinquished against the 2017 runner-up. While in the opening game of the night, Durrant ended Gary Anderson’s hopes of a third Premier League crown and ensured a new name would be on the trophy with victory in a last-leg decider.
In a gripping final, it was Duzza who reigned supreme and at the end of a tumultuous 36 weeks, the man whose finishing has proved decisive could even afford four missed match darts before pinning his favourite double 16 for the title.
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After six nights in six cities before lockdown and 10 nights in Milton Keynes, Coventry’s Ricoh Arena rather than a packed out O2 was the scene for the tournament’s finale but it won’t matter to a thrilled Durrant.
Durrant and Aspinall had both described the occasion as the biggest in their careers, Duzza giving up his job to go to Q-School in January 2019 and earning his card. He has not looked back and having been a ‘Contender’ in last year’s tournament, like Aspinall, the chance to become champion beckoned for both.
Both men lost on their one-off night to impress in 2019 – but having sent proven performers Wright and Anderson packing, neither man wanted to waste the opportunity of a lifetime.
Aspinall, who won both meetings in the regular season – was playing catch-up with Duzza having the darts and there was nothing in it as they traded the first six legs.
Each man missed chances for an early break of throw and the tension was palpable as the match continue to stay on throw. Locked at 5-5 the story continued after the break, Durrant forged the next opportunity missing two darts for a break and a 7-5 lead.
He was punished in ruthless fashion by Aspinall, who took out 100 for the highest finish of the match and a level contest.
Playing in his first PDC televised final, Duzza, who ended his run of four successive defeats in PDC televised semi-finals by sinking Anderson, kept his nose in front before striking the first blow with a decisive break in the 14th leg.
Five missed darts at double from Asp allowed Duzza to pin double eight for the first two-leg advantage of the final and when Aspinall missed a dart to break straight back, Durrant took out 127 to move three clear and within two of the title.
Aspinall held on to clean up 96, but was matched by Durrant’s 72.
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In contrast to the first semi-final, Aspinall and Wright served up a high-quality affair, with three huge finishes and a pair of averages in excess of 94.
A see-saw contest saw Wright hit the front early. Leading 3-1, the world champion lost his way as a host of missed doubles offered Aspinall a chance and as has been his way over the last two years, he took it to get the match all square after eight legs.
At 4-4 a fired-up Asp secured a pair of 180s on his way to a brilliant 11-dart break of throw to lead for the first time since the opening leg and he followed up with a superb 138 finish to go two clear.
That burst proved to be the difference as Wright could not do enough to wrestle back the advantage, Aspinall remaining rock solid with a sizzling 141 finish the highlight and a fittingly classy 13-dart leg putting the seal on victory.
Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen are the only other players to lift the Premier League title on their debut in the event
Duzza ends Anderson’s hopes of third crown
Given the nature of the last few weeks, it wasn’t a surprise to see Durrant and Anderson get off to a slow start. Although for a pair with five world titles between them, the subdued nature of the opening semi-final went on for longer than anticipated.
Duzza did just about enough to forge the early advantage, moving into a 5-2 lead on the back of a pair of breaks – the first of which saw an out-of-sorts Anderson miss seven darts for the leg.
Somehow, the Scot conjured up a 124 finish to stay in touch and after Durrant missed a dart for a 7-3 lead, it was Anderson who looked to be powering to the finish line with some magical finishing on his way to a run that took him 9-7 in front and within sight of the final.
However, Durrant has a way of finding his very best when he needs it most and at the point of no return, he took out a skin-saving 113 followed by a nerveless 64 to force an edgy contest into a decider, where the man from Middlesbrough punished Anderson’s four missed match darts and went on to claim the biggest prize of his two years in the PDC.
Premier League Darts 2021
Darts in back on Sky Sports in November with a double bill, starting with three days of coverage from the World Cup of Darts (Nov 6-8) and continuing with nine days of the Grand Slam of Darts which gets underway on November 16
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