Nathan Aspinall secured his second nightly win in the 2024 Premier League with a battling 6-4 victory over Michael Smith to rule in Rotterdam on Thursday night.

Aspinall claimed the spoils on his Rotterdam debut 12 months ago, and he repeated the feat on his return to Dutch soil to leapfrog Michael van Gerwen and move up to third in the table.

The Stockport star overcame a trio of World Champions in Peter Wright, Luke Humphries and Smith to scoop the £10,000 bonus and close to within three points of top spot.

Aspinall dispatched a below-par Wright in his quarter-final tie, before recovering from 4-1 down to stun Humphries, reeling off five consecutive legs to complete a superb comeback win.

This set up a fascinating showdown against his Play-Off rival Smith for the nightly title, but it was Aspinall who came out on top in front of a sell-out crowd at Rotterdam Ahoy.

The 32-year-old – featuring in his fifth final within nine weeks – kicked off proceedings with back-to-back 16-darters, and he maintained that buffer throughout.

Smith produced a sensational 170 skin-saver to reduce the deficit to 5-4, but he paid the price for spurning a dart at tops to force a decider, as Aspinall eventually pinned double eight to claim the precious five points.

“I’ve played in Rotterdam twice and I’ve won here twice,” reflected Aspinall, who also celebrated Night Five victory in Exeter back in February.

“The game against Luke [Humphries] was massive. It gave me a shot against Michael [Smith] to try and open the gap, and that was a big win.

“I thought I played well. I felt like I controlled the final. I wasn’t amazing, but my 140s were brilliant, and I know if I’m scoring well, there aren’t many people that can beat me.

“Last year I missed out [on the Play-Offs] on nightly wins and I was on 24 points. We said a few weeks ago 26 was the target, but looking at the table, I think that might be a push!

“I think it’s fantastic – credit to all the lads. They have made this Premier League so exciting. It’s the most enjoyable one I’ve been involved in, and there’s still a lot to play for.”

Smith defeated Luke Littler and Gerwyn Price to advance to his fourth nightly final of the season – a result which leaves him one point adrift of fourth-placed Van Gerwen.

In the evening’s opener, the 2023 World Champion toppled Littler for the fourth time in five meetings, defying a 102 average from the teenage star to complete a resounding 6-3 success.

Smith then emerged victorious in a gruelling encounter against Price, punishing a profligate display from the Welshman to progress in a last-leg shoot-out.

Earlier in the night, Price condemned Rob Cross to a sixth consecutive quarter-final defeat, averaging 97 and pinning six of his ten attempts at double to complete a 6-3 victory.

Elsewhere, despite surrendering a 4-1 lead against Aspinall, Humphries regained top spot with an impressive quarter-final win over Michael van Gerwen, posting a ton-plus average to end home hopes.

2024 Premier League
Night 12 – Rotterdam Ahoy
Thursday April 18
Quarter-Finals

Michael Smith 6-3 Luke Littler
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Rob Cross
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Peter Wright
Luke Humphries 6-4 Michael van Gerwen

Semi-Finals
Michael Smith 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Luke Humphries

Final
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Michael Smith

SOURCE-PDC

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