The day has finally arrived. Thw 2024 PDC World Darts Championship gets underway today, Friday 15 December as the best players from all over the world gather for two weeks of intense darting action at Alexandra Palace, looking to win the sport's biggest prize.
Fans will flock to London in their thousands hoping to see some of the best darts the PDC has to offer and there are a lot of players who will be fancying their chances to become the champion of the world this winter.
Nathan Aspinall will be one such player, who will be looking to build on his success from 2023.
Stockport's Aspinall has been one of those players on the PDC circuit who has found consistency a problem over the years, even after landing his first major title at the 2019 UK Open. And it was almost two years ago in which the Asp suffered a wrist injury that could have ended his darts career.
His journey to overcome that has been inspiring to say the least. So when he turned into a true entertainer at Blackpool's Winter Gardens in the summer to win the Betfred World Matchplay, no one could say that he didn't deserve it.
The way he obliterated Jonny Clayton in the final was incredible. He truly gave one of the greatest performances the World Matchplay had ever seen, he was simply unstoppable against the Welshman. He picked off the Ferret with some clinical finishing, including a couple maximum checkouts, one of which was completed with a satisfying throw at the bullseye.
Many have wondered whether that outstanding display might just provide Aspinall with the springboard that he needs to challenge with the elite players on the circuit. We've seen it with Luke Humphries and Michael Smith in the past year. Once those players got their first major titles on the board, the difference in confidence in their play was there for all to see.
Of course the Asp claimed his first major over four years ago, but he has had to deal with an injury that most of his peers could never relate to, and it certainly hasn't impacted his darting abilities as evidenced by his Matchplay heroics.
For him, as well as all of his peers, the World Darts Championship is the one crown they want to have on their CV. Aspinall has come close twice in the past, reaching the semi-finals in 2019 and 2020. He will be hoping that he can go on a similar run this year and give himself the best possible start to a fruitful 2024.
Rod Studd gave a preview of the Asp's chances at Ally Pally this winter. He tells Betfred: "Twice a semi-finalist at Ally Pally, Aspinall was beaten in those last-four matches by Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen.
"[He's] always a very difficult man to beat, though, and he should come into this tournament rested after missing the Players Championship in November."
Keep checking in to Betfred Insights to look at our Darts Betting Tips throughout the World Darts Championship at Ally Pally.