John Henderson admitted he produced his worst darts in years as his Premier League Darts return in Aberdeen ended in disappointing fashion.
The Huntly arrowsmith created an unforgettable moment 12 months ago when he claimed a share of the spoils against then world champion Michael van Gerwen.
The 46-year-old described that scintillating 6-6 draw as the highlight of his career to date but said winning in front of a home crowd would surpass that moment.
Unfortunately Henderson wasn’t able to emulate his previous Premier League performance as he succumbed to a 7-3 defeat against 2019 UK Open champion Aspinall.
The eagerly anticipated match failed to hit the heights in the early stages with both players struggling to find the treble-20.
Aspinall was the player to find form, registering a 170 checkout to make it 6-3 before claiming victory with the next leg.
A deflated Henderson said: “I am disappointed for, not just myself, but that crowd out there.
“It was awful. I have not had match practice since the World Championship and I just couldn’t hit the trebles. Nathan was a deserved winner.
“That was the worst darts I have thrown in years.”
Earlier in the night, the crowd were treated to a high-quality contest between Scotland’s very own world champion Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen that included six ton-plus finishes.
Wright has enjoyed a dream start to 2020 after following up his World Championship success with victory in the Masters at the weekend.
Snakebite couldn’t have been given a tougher test as he attempted to get his Premier League campaign off to a winning start but raced into an early 2-0 lead.
The Dutchman remains the man to beat as he chases an unprecedented fifth successive Premier League title and showed his class by bouncing back to win 7-5.
A disappointed Wright also apologised for being unable to get the victory the Aberdeen audience craved.
He said: “The venue is amazing. What an atmosphere, it was fantastic. I can’t thank them enough for the support, I’m just sorry I didn’t win.”
Debutant Glen Durrant impressed in the night’s opening match with a 7-3 victory against Michael Smith.
Gary Anderson, who missed last year’s Premier League with a back injury, received a warm reception on his return and delighted the home crowd by coming from 5-4 down to defeat Northern Irishman Daryl Gurney 7-5.
In the final match of the evening, Gerwyn Price came from 6-4 down to earn a draw against Rob Cross.