Aspinall to take on Whitlock in PalmetBet NSW Darts Masters opener

Nathan Aspinall (Stephen Barker/Photosport)

Nathan Aspinall will take on Australian icon Simon Whitlock in the opening round of the PalmerBet New South Wales Darts Masters, with the draw for this weekend’s event now confirmed.

The second leg of the PDC's World Series of Darts Oceanic double-header takes place in Wollongong on August 11-12, as 16 players compete at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

Friday’s first round will see the eight PDC stars take on eight Oceanic representatives, with World Matchplay champion Aspinall pitted against home hero Whitlock in the stand-out last 16 tie.

NZ Darts Masters champion Rob Cross - who defeated Aspinall in last weekend’s decider - will begin his bid for back-to-back World Series titles against DartPlayers New Zealand qualifier John Hurring, whose only previous World Series appearance came five years ago.

Top seed Gerwyn Price kicks off his campaign against Melbourne’s Harley Kemp, while World Champion Michael Smith will open his challenge against former World Championship qualifier Mal Cuming.

Fresh from his shock first round defeat in Hamilton, Peter Wright is eyeing a return to winning ways in Wollongong, as he prepares to take on DartPlayers Australia number one Darren Penhall.

Australia’s number one Damon Heta - who was moved into the PDC representatives after Jonny Clayton’s withdrawal - will play compatriot Joe Comito for a place in the quarter-finals.

Elsewhere, Belgium's Dimitri Van den Bergh faces the experienced Dave Marland, while Dutch number two Danny Noppert plays big stage debutant Brenton Lloyd in the tournament's curtain-raiser.

Play in Friday's first round of the NSW Darts Masters gets underway at the WIN Entertainment Centre at 1900 local time (1000 BST), with the decisive quarter-finals, semi-finals and final to follow on Saturday August 12.

The NSW Darts Masters will be broadcast live on Fox Sports in Australia, through DAZN in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and on PDCTV in all other global territories.

UK fans can watch live through PDCTV - subscription options include the PDCTV Summer Pass. Coverage on ITV4 in the UK will begin from 1900 BST on Friday and from 1700 BST on Saturday.

There are a limited number of tickets still available through Ticketmaster.

2023 PalmerBet NSW Darts Masters
August 11-12, WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong
Draw Bracket

(1) Gerwyn Price v Harley Kemp
Damon Heta v Joe Comito
(4) Dimitri Van den Bergh v Dave Marland
Nathan Aspinall v Simon Whitlock
(2) Michael Smith v Mal Cuming
Peter Wright v Darren Penhall
(3) Rob Cross v John Hurring
Danny Noppert v Brenton Lloyd

Friday August 11 (1900 local time)
First Round

Danny Noppert v Brenton Lloyd
Dimitri van den Bergh v Dave Marland
Damon Heta v Joe Comito
Rob Cross v John Hurring
Gerwyn Price v Harley Kemp
Nathan Aspinall v Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright v Darren Penhall
Michael Smith v Mal Cuming

Saturday August 12 (1900 local time)

First Round - Best of 11 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 11 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 13 legs
Final - Best of 15 legs