Premier League night 12 review: Aspinall relentless in Rotterdam, Humphries reclaims top spot

Published on 19 April 2024 at 20:00

As we approach the business end of this year's Premier League, Luke Humphries and Luke Littler look to have secured their places at the O2, but the battle for third and fourth is very much on. In Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena, it was Nathan Aspinall who put himself in the driving seat as best of the rest.



Luke Littler got the night off to a flyer with a 164 finish in the very first leg of the night to break the throw of Michael Smith, prompting a huge roar from the Ahoy Arena. Despite this, in a bizarre turn of events, 'The Nuke' never really looked himself for the rest of the match and lost 6-3. 'Bully Boy' seems to be Littler's 'bogey player' as it is the fourth time he's defeated the 17 year old in this year's Premier League. The following match started off as a cagey affair between Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross with both players holding throw in the first six legs. However, 'The Iceman' then ran away with the match, winning the next three legs on the bounce to progress, 6-3.


Peter Wright has slightly redeemed himself in recent weeks after having a horrendous start to his 2024 Premier League but unfortunately in Rotterdam he reverted back to his old ways. 'Snakebite' got trounced 6-2 by Nathan Aspinall, only managing a 77.48 average. In the last quarter final match, Michael Van Gerwen got off to a dream start in front of his home supporters, with a 149 finish in the second leg of the match against Luke Humphries. However, like Littler, MVG wasn't able to capitalise on some superb early finishing and struggled on the doubles for the rest of the match. 'Cool Hand Luke' looked unfazed by the crowd and advanced to the semis, 6-4.


Read more: Premier League night 11 review - Van Gerwen wins night, Littler and Humphries all-but confirm top spot


You could cut the tension with a knife in the first semi final of the night, as both Price and Smith played their part in a close affair. It was Price who got an early break of throw but when Smith replied straight away with a break of his own, it was clear this encounter was going the distance. Smith had the advantage in the deciding leg as it was he who had the darts, 'Bully Boy' held his nerve to sneak into the final, 6-5.


In the other semi, it was the World Champion, Humphries who took the early initiative against Aspinall. At 4-1 up, 'Cool Hand Luke' was cruising in the match and even had three darts at double to make it 5-1. Fortunately for 'The Asp', the world number one uncharacteristically missed, giving him a fighting chance of a comeback. If there's one player you don't want to give a chance to, it's Nathan Aspinall. Humphries found this out the hard way, as the Matchplay Champ rounded off five legs in a row for an incredible comeback.


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It would be a St Helen's v Stockport final, as Michael Smith looked for his first nightly victory since week one. His opponent, Nathan Aspinall, hadn't won since week five himself. With Aspinall in fourth and Smith in fifth in the overall table, both players would be well aware that the winner would have a huge psychological advantage with the play offs fast approaching. 'The Asp' managed to secure a break in the very first leg and from there on in, never looked back. In true 'Bully Boy' style, he plugged away, hitting a 170 'big fish' finish when Aspinall was on the cusp of victory. However, this was too little, too late as Aspinall closed out the match in the following leg, 6-4.


In terms of the table, Aspinall leap frogged van Gerwen and now sits third place, only three points off the two Lukes at the top. In the bottom half, Price's victory over Cross meant he overtook 'Voltage' in the standings, as Cross continues to plummet down the table. Smith remains fifth but only two points off MVG in fourth, so he'll still fancy his play off chances with four weeks to go.

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