In 2012, Nathan Aspinall began his career on the PDC tour. Since then, the 29-year-old has become of the sport’s best players, securing his position in the prestigious Premier League. Over the last two years, the Stockport-born competitor has taken his game to new heights, with many now believing that he is the next big thing in English darts. So, let’s consider whether The Asp could become the next English world champion.
To date, Aspinall has claimed some of the sport’s biggest honours. In 2019, the 29-year-old overcame Madars Razma, Steve Lennon, and Ross Smith in the opening rounds of the UK Open, before defeating Rob Cross, the 2018 PDC World Darts Champion, 11-5 in the final, as per Mastercaller. For The Asp, 2019 proved to be a fruitful year regarding his big-stage progression.
Aside from his UK Open triumph, the 29-year-old has twice reached the World Championship semi-finals, losing to Michael Smith in 2019, and Michael van Gerwen in 2020. On both occasions, the Stockport-born player suffered 6-3 defeats. Although he has yet to reach the sport’s pinnacle, Aspinall’s consistency shows that he is more than capable of continuously competing against top-ten performers.
Furthermore, the 29-year-old has performed at a level capable of taking him to the latter stages of various tournaments. For example, in the 2020 Masters, The Asp reached the semi-finals. At present, Aspinall is the sixth-best player in world darts according to the PDC rankings, per Darts Database.
While, on the face of it, it may seem a little disrespectful to Aspinall in saying that he is taking advantage of darts’ recent outlook, the decline in the form of Van Gerwen has undoubtedly opened the door for numerous competitors. According to Wayne Mardle, the 31-year-old Dutchman isn’t the player that he used to be having lost his “swagger”. While there is nothing to say that the three-time World Champion won’t regain his form, few can deny that he’s enduring a struggling period.
Although, of course, the recent decline of Van Gerwen isn’t positive from a spectator standpoint, it has unquestionably aided darts’ competitiveness. Crucially, some believe that modern darts needs unpredictability. Throughout the last few decades, the sport has been predominantly dominated by Phil Taylor and Van Gerwen, albeit for a few unexpected triumphs.
This shift in dominance has opened the door for the likes of Aspinall, Cross, Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright, and many more, to step up to the plate and win televised events. In turn, as of August 28th, The Asp is priced at 12/1 with darts betting to win the Premier League in 2020. Should he achieve this, then he’ll end Van Gerwen’s run of four consecutive titles in the competition.
In the past, up-and-coming English players have long been compared to Taylor. However, Aspinall is creating a path for himself by ignoring any suggestions of likeness to the 85-time major titleholder. Crucially, over the last two years, The Asp has taken the darting world by storm, and his achievements could continue to grow in the future.