"I didn't want to qualify because I wanted to make her birthday special" - Nathan Aspinall puts family first explaining absence from Players Championship Finals

Nathan Aspinall reached the second round at the European Darts Championship in Dortmund on Thursday night. 'The Asp' managed a 6-3 win over Ryan Searle in his opening match. Achieving an average of 98 and a finishing percentage of 60 percent, it was an accomplished performance from the World Matchplay champion.

There was a huge sense of relief for Aspinall after pinning his match dart. Afterwards, the 32-year-old Englishman had to acknowledge that this victory was a huge boost for him.

NEW: Click here to use our live score center to follow the darts at the European Championship.

''Yeah I needed that," Aspinall told Online Darts afterwards. "I've had a tough time of late. Grand Prix I was so disappointed with myself, didn't prepare for it. You know, fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Then, Pro Tours, European events it's been first round, first round. It got to me a bit and I've been struggling of late, confidence is gone."

After losing twice in the first round at the Pro Tours in Barnsley last week, Aspinall decided to skip that week's final two tournaments. He is also not competing in the last two Players Championship tournaments in early November, which means "The Asp" will not qualify for the Players Championship Finals in late November.

For that, the World Matchplay champion came up with a special explanation. ''I never gave up. Basically, Kirsty my partner of 14 years has spent the last 10 years in Minehead for her birthday. This year she's 30, so I might not have qualified but I didn't want to qualify because I wanted to make her birthday special because you're only 30 once. Away from darts your family put up with a lot of stuff. That was the decision we made, we made it as a family."

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