Nathan Aspinall was totally unaware he'd topped his Grand Slam of Darts group after knocking out Peter Wright.
The Asp came back from 2-1 down on Tuesday (November 15) evening, winning four legs on the bounce to beat Snakebite 5-2. He not only progressed to the knockouts as the winner of Group E, but also eliminated the world champion, who needed to win three legs to better Alan Soutar in second.
Aspinall was informed of that in his post-match interview with Sky Sports, replying jubilantly: "Oh really? Go on, get in. I didn’t know that."
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He then continued: "I knew what I had to do, it was a straight shoot out. Peter’s going through a difficult time at the moment, Jo his wife is in hospital, so if you’re watching Jo I wish you all the best.
"His head’s probably not in the game to be fair. But I’ve still gotta come up here and do a job, I’m providing for my family. I’m happy that I’ve won the game, it wasn’t pretty, but I was so nervous.
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"It was a big game, I’ve lost in this situation before, having to win to qualify. Luckily I held it all together, that 106 was massive, and I got through. Obviously now the longer format I can start playing proper darts now."
Wright missed two darts at tops for a 3-1 lead and was made to pay. Aspinall reeled off legs of 14 and 13 darts and then hit a 106 checkout to make it 4-2.
Despite a nervy ending, in which he spurned five match darts, he'll now take on Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena for a place in the quarter-finals.
Soutar, meanwhile, was watching on nervously in the back and admitted afterwards: "Watching that match backstage – that was the worst feeling I've ever had in darts. It was horrible."
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