Can ANYONE Stop Luke Humphries Winning The World Championship?

Published on 20 November 2023 at 20:00

On November 20th, 2022, Michael Smith finally realised his darting destiny: winning his first televised major event at the 2022 Grand Slam of Darts, 'Bully Boy' ended a run of eight straight final losses to defeat Nathan Aspinall 16-5 in Wolverhampton. The tournament triumph proved to be the catalyst for Michael Smith to become the next World Champion and World Number One just over a month later.


Now after the 2023 Grand Slam of Darts, is there anything or anyone who can stop Luke Humphries steamrolling his way to glory at the Alexandra Palace?


The 28-year-old went undefeated in his campaign to win his second major in just six weeks, following on from his victory at the Grand Prix in Leicester at the beginning of October. Escaping from the 'Group of Death' with Dirk Van Duijvenbode, Gary Anderson and Steve Lennon with maximum points and only four legs lost, Humphries' subsequent wins over Ryan Searle, Anderson once again, and avenging his European Championship exit against James Wade justified 'Cool Hand' being a worthy winner even before he threw a dart in the final against Rob Cross. 


Sunday night's final was nothing short of a darting masterclass from Humphries: featuring everything but a nine dart finish, Humphries survived the opening session before storming into the lead and never looking back, even having a 9 leg advantage heading into the closing stages of the content.


2023's most in-form player, Humphries is just the eighth different man to win the Grand Slam, and has now set the record for the shortest gap between a player's first and second major success.


So the question that must now be asked is: Is Luke Humphries now the favourite to win the 2024 PDC World Championship?


Read More: Can Michael Smith Turn His Poor 2023 Around?

Much like Smith the year prior, the World Championship comes at a peak time for Humphries: with unparalleled momentum and scoring the likes of which we've not seen from a player under 30 since Michael Van Gerwen back in the early 2010s, Humphries has already skyrocketed up the world rankings to number four in the world and is quite simply in better form than anyone and everyone around him.


Humphries' record at the competition is far less than stellar however: although claiming some big scalps like then-defending champion Rob Cross in 2019, previous exits at the hands of Stephen Bunting, Jeff Smith and even Paul Lim unfortunately outweigh the losses to future finalists that he experienced in other years. 


Van Gerwen, the former three time champion and six time finalist, will always be a safe favourite to win the Sid Waddell trophy. Gerwyn Price's form on both the Pro and European Tour may have been blighted by near misses, but he'll be a man with something to prove after back-to-back quarter final exits in the last two years. Prior Champions Smith and Wright may have both enjoyed a sub-standard calendar year, but there's few players excel in the spotlight and set play afforded by the World Championship quite like they can. 


Fortunately for Humphries, his victories at the Grand Prix and Grand Slam have shown he is equally adept at both set play and leg format games: short matches and long, drawn out epics. Whilst still relatively young and with the darting world in the palm of his hand, a strong performance at the PC Finals next week could be just the next step in Humphries' landmark 2023 ending in him being crowned not only as the favourite to be World Champion, but to be bestowed the honour itself.


Image Credit: Darts Actueel on YouTube/Wikipedia


By Jaspar Shepherdson 

(@jasparshepmedia on X/Twitter and Instagram)

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