2023 World Matchplay: Grand Final Preview (Nathan Aspinall vs Jonny Clayton)

Published on 23 July 2023 at 13:00

And then there were two. Nathan Aspinall and Jonny Clayton will face off in the final of the 2023 World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens, with each man looking to secure their maiden Matchplay victory.


Former UK Open Winner Aspinall has enjoyed consistently solid performances throughout the tournament: downing the Polish Eagle Krzystof Ratajski in the first round, Danny Noppert in the last 16, coming from behind to beat Chris Dobey in the quarter-finals, before cruising past an error prone Joe Cullen to reach Sunday’s final. 


Jonny Clayton’s perseverance, as well his consistency on the doubles, has been one of the stories of the entire tournament. Kicking off his campaign with a narrow 10-8 win over Gabriel Clemens, subsequent victories over Dimitri Van den Bergh and Ryan Searle preceded a rollercoaster of a match against once-tournament favourite Luke Humphries, which saw the Ferret through to yet another major final.


It’s been one of the most exciting, unpredictable tournaments in recent memory, with each of the top 5 seeds exiting before the quarter-final stage, and none of the quarter-finalists having won the tournament in the past. 


Defending champion Michael Van Gerwen looked like the clear favourite heading into the event, but the Dutchman felt the wrath of Brendan Dolan in one of the biggest first-round upsets in World Matchplay history. 


Last year’s beaten finalist Gerwyn Price then assumed the role of tournament favourite, and quickly assumed Van Gerwen’s position as the next big seed to fall, courtesy of a miraculous performance from the aforementioned Joe Cullen. 


The 2023 World Matchplay will be noted in PDC history for how it all played out: featuring a broad range of talent, none of the 8 quarter-finalists had made it particularly far before (and a few had never even won a match at the event in its history), and it’s been a truly golden opportunity for more ‘underdogs’ like Ryan Searle and Chris Dobey to continue making waves in the sport at the expense of more established names like Peter Wright and Michael Smith.


Aspinall heads into Sunday’s final boasting the highest tournament average, the most 180s, and is the far more accurate player when it comes to hitting treble 20. But if there’s anything we have learned from this tournament in particular, is that double percentages are truly the most important statistic going: Clayton’s semi-final masterclass of 60% on the doubles make him a truly formidable opponent, who will be hoping to carry this form into the final and beyond.


Before the final, Aspinall and Clayton have met just six times previously on the pro circuit in the last six years. With the competitive record at an even 50/50 across those six meetings, it truly seems like a coin toss as to who will be hoisting the Phil Taylor trophy high at the conclusion of Sunday night’s event.


Who out of Nathan Aspinall and Jonny Clayton do YOU think will win the 2023 World Matchplay on Sunday night in Blackpool? What scoreline do you think it will be? Could we perhaps see a 9 darter in the competition once again? Let us know your thoughts on the final now!

Image Credit-Sandro Halank via Wikipedia

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