Nathan Aspinall sets his sights on Michael Smith as Premier League Darts meeting approaches
Last Updated: 14/03/19 3:45pm
Nathan Aspinall has promised a "high-scoring" game when he meets Michael Smith as the Premier League hits Nottingham this week.
The two youngsters were standouts at the World Darts Championship, with Smith pipping Aspinall in the semi-final, and now they meet again on another major stage.
Aspinall deputises for the absent Gary Anderson on Thursday at 7pm, live on Sky Sports, and fresh from claiming a maiden major at the UK Open he told The Darts Show podcast: "When I found out I was playing, I was buzzing. And it's a rematch of the semis. It should be a high-scoring game."
Aspinall will make his Premier League debut just over a week after winning the UK Open, another significant moment in a stellar few months.
The 'contenders' element of the Premier League League this year has proved a successful experiment, but the names were brought in to introduce them to darts' biggest stages and prepare them for life at the top.
On Thursday, Aspinall faces world no 6 Smith as more than an equal, he now has more major titles than Bully Boy, and will complete a remarkable 12 month journey from Premier League darts fan to player, having watched on in Manchester.
"I had a good run at the Worlds and it was about backing that up. I didn't want to be a one-trick pony," he said.
"A lot of people have done well at the Worlds then never really backed it up.
"My aim for this year was to win a few ProTour titles, and to qualify for major tournaments. Then in the first tournament after the Worlds, I won it!"
It wasn't long ago that Aspinall, still only 27, lost his PDC Tour Card, putting his career into doubt.
"It gave me my hunger back, when I lost it. In the 12 months without a card, I worked so hard to try and win it back," he said.
What comes next? Night Six - Thursday, March 14 - Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
|Nathan Aspinall||vs||Michael Smith|
|James Wade||vs||Mensur Suljovic|
|Rob Cross||vs||Raymond van Barneveld|
|Gerwyn Price||vs||Michael van Gerwen|
|Peter Wright||vs||Daryl Gurney|
"I won my first ProTour title in September which gave me more belief.
"When I had my card the first time, I took it for granted. I thought I'd made it. I had to lose it before I realised how much I wanted it."
Premier League heads to the Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham on Thursday, March 14. You can also stay up to date with all the action by following us @SkySportsDarts and get all the latest news, previews and interviews www.skysports.com/darts