THE UK Open Darts final at Butlins, Minehead, produced a new star at the weekend.

Battling through five rounds, Nathan Aspinall came through to defeat former World champion Rob Cross 11-5 in the final.

The weekend started with World No 1 Michael van Gerwen losing 10-6 in round four to senior player Merv King in a highly-charged atmosphere.

And local interest was snuffed out as Burnham-on-Sea's Gary Anderson lost to evergreen Steve Beaton, 10-8.

Wellington's Ryan Searle beat Matt Edgar 6-3 in round three before exiting 10-4 to Steve West.

As favourites fell by the wayside, Aspinall negotiated his way through some tricky matches, often saving himself with 100-plus checkouts.

His semi-final against the pantomime dame of darts, Gerwyn Price, was probably the clash of the weekend.

Aspinall resisted Price's strong opening to go 9-4 up.

But the Welshman picked it up and it looked like curtains for Aspinall until he produced a 121 out to take the match 11-9 with Price poised, menacingly, on 41.

Vanquished Price was the epitome of sportsmanship in praise of his conqueror.

Cross did just enough to progress to his semi-final against Michael Smith, who had been in sparkling form, despite suffering from a leg injury.

But Smith limped out with little resistance as Cross did a professional job to win 11-7.

The final was a low-key affair of contrasting fortunes.

Cross averaged only 84, despite hitting eight 180s, while Aspinall always just did enough to go ahead with an 88.72 average.

However, Aspinall saved the best 'til last to win the match with a 170 checkout and take the title 11-5.

It was Aspinall's first major title and, for his trouble, he picked up the first prize of £100,000 - to match the £100,000 he took home in December for reaching the semi-final of the World Championship.