2024 Dutch Darts Masters: Can Luke Littler Complete Back-To-Back World Series Victories?

Published on 26 January 2024 at 13:00

Fresh off his triumph at the Bahrain Darts Masters, Luke Littler will be looking to continue his fine form as the 2024 Dutch Darts Masters gets underway in Den Bosch on Friday night. The even invites eight of the very best Benelux talents (though no inclusion of any Luxembourg talent) to play against the very best the PDC has to offer. 


Longtime fans and new viewers will recognise many names invited to the Dutch Darts Masters from the recent World Championships. World Cup duo Danny Noppert and Dirk Van Duijvenbode, the Dutch no.2 and no.3 seeds respectively, are perhaps the two most dangerous invitees to the World Series event, with both men being former runners up in the World Series Finals. 


Raymond Van Barneveld is the man who needs no introduction, and no matter who he's against on Friday night and potentially Saturday, the partisan Dutch crowd will back Barney against anyone. The sole Belgian invitee, Dimitri Van den Bergh, may not have the homecrowd support afforded to him likes his fellow invitees, but he can be an incredibly dangerous player, highlighted by the fact that he is the defending champion of the Dutch Darts Masters, and will be looking to bounce back from what was a disappointing 2023. 


Two other stalwarts of the Dutch darting scene have been invited to the Masters, as Vincent Van der Voort, noticable in his rare absence from the World Championship, will be looking to return to form and attempt to push back into the top 32 in the order of merit. Meanwhile Jermaine Wattimena notably beat Fallon Sherrock at the recent World Championship, but has yet to truly shine in the World Series or in televised events. 


Rounding out the list of invites are two rising stars of Dutch darts: Kevin Doets almost caused a monumental upset at the Alexandra Palace in November when he narrowly lost to defending champion Michael Smith, and then there's the mouthwatering prospect of Gian Van Veen getting his rematch with Luke Littler, after the two battled it out in Minehead for the World Youth Championship just a few months ago. 


The returning eight players from the Bahrain Masters each made it through the first round against the invitees last week, but out-of-form players like Peter Wright, Nathan Aspinall and Michael Smith just narrowly won their first round games, and against an elevated level of opponent like any of the aforementioned names, it shouldn't be a surprise to see any of the touring players fall at the first hurdle on Friday night. 


Wright will meet Doets in the first round, Aspinall will clash with the world no.7 Noppert, and Smith will be looking to avoid the upset against Van Veen.


Van der Voort has perhaps been handed the toughest tie against his compatriot Michael Van Gerwen, meanwhile Luke Littler opens up his campaign against the formidable albeit inconsistent Van Duijvenbode.


Rob Cross vs Van Barneveld looks to be the most salivating tie of the first round, as the two former World Champions collide.


Rounding off the first round will see Belgium's no.1 take on Wales' no.1 with Van den Bergh being drawn against Gerwyn Price. And the reigning World Champion Luke Humphries will be the highly fancied pick in his game against Wattimena. 


By Jaspar Shepherdson

(@jasparshepmedia on X/Twitter and Instagram)


Image Credit: Darts Actueel on Wikipedia


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