Jonny Clayton to face Nathan Aspinall in final | we’re back for the Women’s World Matchplay on Sunday from 1pm at the iconic Winter Gardens before the last two men battle it out for the Phil Taylor Trophy – live on Sky Sports Action from 8pm
Last Updated: 23/07/23 12:15am
Jonny Clayton came through a marathon World Matchplay clash with Luke Humphries to set up a final meeting with Nathan Aspinall.
Welshman Clayton came through an epic encounter to seal his spot in Sunday’s showpiece, recovering from 10-7 down to triumph 17-15.
Aspinall, meanwhile, ran out a convincing 17-9 winner against Joe Cullen in the evening’s opener, punishing a profligate display from the Yorkshireman to keep his title tilt alive.
World Matchplay Semi-Finals: Saturday, July 22
|Joe Cullen||9-17||Nathan Aspinall|
|Jonny Clayton||17-15||Luke Humphries|
With very little to separate the two players on the Winter Gardens stage, it was Clayton’s higher checkout percentage that ultimately proved the difference.
The 48-year-old, who helped steer Wales to a second World Cup of Darts title alongside Gerwyn Price in Frankfurt last month, will now go in search of his first big title since winning the Masters, Premier League and World Grand Prix in 2021.
“This means a lot to me,” reflected Clayton, who averaged just under 99 and pinned 61 per cent of his attempts at double to end the hopes of Humphries, who crashed in 10 maximums in defeat.
“To get over the line against one of the best players in the world is an amazing feeling. Luke Humphries is going to go on and pick up majors time after time!
“I had to dig deep, but you’ve got to take your chances and that’s what I did, and I really hope I can pick this trophy up tomorrow.
Aspinall, who lost both the Grand Slam and Grand Prix finals last year, will aim to go one better after powering past Cullen.
A 17-9 win showed his superiority, with Cullen’s 148 checkout to break in the seventh leg proving to be a false dawn for the 34-year-old.
Instead, Aspinall pulled clear and never looked like slipping up as he progressed through to Sunday’s final.
“Joe didn’t play well and I was nowhere near my best, but I think I was just a little bit more clinical and that’s why I got over the line,” said Aspinall, who averaged 95 and landed 11 maximums.
“I have lost my last three [televised] finals. I’m not going to do it again. I’m so confident.
“I have had a poor game tonight but I got over the line. I’m one happy guy right now, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Clayton and Aspinall were embroiled in a fascinating battle for Play-Off qualification in this year’s Premier League, and now they will renew their rivalry for the £200,000 top prize and the Phil Taylor Trophy.
“Me and Nathan were involved in a scrap for the Premier League [Play-Offs] this year and Gezzy Price helped me out. I’ve got no help tomorrow night. I have to do the job, and fingers crossed I can do it,” said Clayton.
Women’s World Matchplay: Sunday, July 23
|Beau Greaves||vs||Noa-Lynn van Leuven|
|Robyn Byrne||vs||Rhian O’Sullivan|
|Mikuru Suzuki||vs||Aileen de Graaf|
|Fallon Sherrock||vs||Lisa Ashton|
Beau Greaves will make her Blackpool bow as the top seed for the Women’s World Matchplay following her domination over the last 12 months, and she will open her challenge against Dutch debutant Noa-Lynn van Leuven.
The £25,000 event will feature the top eight players from a one-year Order of Merit based on PDC Women’s Series earnings across 20 tournaments since last August.
Ireland’s Robyn Byrne then takes on Welsh ace Rhian O’Sullivan before Japanese trailblazer Mikuru Suzuki faces last year’s finalist Aileen de Graaf.
Reigning champion Fallon Sherrock goes up against darting legend Lisa Ashton in a mouth-watering quarter-final.
We’re back for the Women’s World Matchplay live on Sky Sports Action from 1pm at the iconic Winter Gardens on Sunday before the last two men battle it out for the Phil Taylor Trophy – live on Sky Sports Action from 8pm. Stream the Women’s World Matchplay and more with NOW for £21 a month