They have faced each other four times since July, four times ‘Dancing Dimi’ was the winner. And that while Aspinall in turn took over the first four confrontations. Van den Bergh can therefore look forward to the clash with ‘The Asp’ with confidence, although the defeat against Van Gerwen will have arrived anyway. In addition, Aspinall is no small shrimp: the 29-year-old Englishman put ‘Snakebite’ Peter Wright aside yesterday and is the proud leader in the Premier League.

Still, it seemed for a long time that Aspinall wouldn’t be a darter at all. As a child he was between the posts in the goalkeeper school of Manchester United. “I played there for 6 or 7 years,” he said in an interview with PDC Darts last month. “They let me go because I was too small for a goalkeeper. In 2019 I met Edwin van der Sar (ex-keeper of Man United, ed.). I immediately realized why I didn’t make it, because it has to be almost 6 meters tall ”, he joked at Sky Sports.

Despite his relatively small stature, Aspinall did believe that he would one day be number one at Old Trafford. “I knew I was a good goalkeeper and I also believed I was one of the best at the time, but it just wasn’t supposed to be. Everything happens for a reason and it probably turned out well for me in the long run. ”

‘Life is a gamble’

After the failed goalkeeper adventure ‘The Asp’ discovered the love for the darts. He started throwing at the age of 17. “Before that I didn’t even know what darts was. My dad and grandfather did it, but I was never really interested because I was always playing football. When my football career didn’t really go the way I wanted, I wanted to give it a try. ”

A leap into the unknown, but Aspinall does not shy away from that. His arm includes a tattoo with the text ‘Life is a gamble’. “I dare to take a gamble”, he said about this in 2018. “I did that by first quitting my study accountancy and later also by quitting my job as a student accountant. I have resolutely opted for darts. I have a wife and two children to support, but I know what I can do and it seems to be going well. ”

There is no lie. Because since Aspinall started throwing, he has become one of the best darts players in the world. In the ranking of the most earned prize money, Aspinall is currently tenth, just behind … Dimitri Van den Bergh. And as befits a world top player, Aspinall hates to lose. “I am very competitive in everything: pool, snooker, golf, football of course … If you have already played at a high level before you start playing darts, you have the extra desire to win compared to someone else. I like to call myself a born winner, because I really don’t want to be a loser. ” 

Whoever becomes the loser tonight, the gentlemen can fight in front of the darts board. But it is certain that Aspinall has an account open after four defeats in a row against ‘Dancing Dimi’.

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