Premier League night 15 review: Humphries triumphs in his honorary home city, Van Gerwen makes playoffs

Published on 10 May 2024 at 20:00

Luke Humphries was brought up in Berkshire and now lives in Oxfordshire, however last night proved that the World Champ is an adopted Leodensian. Throughout this year's Premier League, 'Cool Hand Luke' hasn't always had the crowd on his side, but after he entered the stage to a very popular Leeds United song, it was clear he had the full First Direct Arena on his side. Perhaps it was them who inspired Humphries to victory as he defeated Rob Cross, Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen on his way to his fourth nightly win.



Michael van Gerwen kicked off his night against already eliminated, Gerwyn Price. With Michael Smith and Nathan Aspinall hot on his tail, the match was a must-win for MVG, but it was Price who started the match brighter, as he took a 3-1 lead thanks to two early breaks of throw. However, this may just have been a case of van Gerwen taking a while to get started, as the Dutchman reeled off the next five legs to win comfortably in the end. (6-3)


Next up was Luke Littler against a struggling Peter Wright. 'The Nuke' seems to be having some unbelievable starts to matches in this year's campaign with a 146 checkout in the very first leg, followed by six perfect darts in the second. He continued this vein of form throughout the match and never appeared to get out of second gear. As for 'Snakebite', with an average of just over 82, all he can take from this is that he avoided the whitewash. (6-1)


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'I predict a riot' by The Kaiser Chiefs echoed round the arena for Luke Humphries' new and improved walk-on song. As a Leeds United fan, you could tell from the outset that Humphries looked a lot more upbeat and focused in this particular venue. The World Champ played like a man possessed as he dispatched Rob Cross, with an average of over 109. (6-1)


In terms of the playoffs, perhaps the most important match of the night was between Nathan Aspinall and Michael Smith. This match really was a must win for Smith who was three points off Aspinall in the table. At 3-2 to Smith the match was effectively on throw, until 'Bully Boy' hit a superb 136 checkout to steal an important sixth leg. From here on in, Smith managed to get himself over the line, keeping his play off hopes very much still alive. (6-3)


It was a bizarre first semi final match between Littler and van Gerwen, as neither player looked anywhere near their best. With MVG 3-1 up, the fifth leg of this match was something we're not used to seeing in the Premier League but rather in your local pub. Both players ended up on 'madhouse' and missed 17 darts at double between them before van Gerwen eventually found double one, showing that even the very best are still human after all. It wasn't pretty, but MVG won the remaining legs to go through to the final and guaranteed himself playoffs in the process. (6-1)


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There must have been something in the air at the First Direct Arena as Luke Humphries and Michael Smith's semi final was also over in a flash. An inspired Humphries won the first four legs on the bounce, showing the same form he did against Cross in the quarters. 'Bully Boy' did what he had to do on the night by defeating Aspinall, but in this one all he could celebrate was avoiding the whitewash. (6-1)


As both van Gerwen and Humphries have already booked their spots at the O2 Arena, they would have played more important matches than this final, but with 'Cool Hand Luke' finally having the crowd on his side, you could tell that this was by no means a dead rubber to him. It was MVG who broke first but Humphries instantly replied with a 132 checkout break of his own. Unlike the rest of the evening's matches, it was clear from early on this one was going the distance. The World Champ had the darts in the final leg and as expected, closed out the contest, despite van Gerwen narrowly missing a match dart on the bull. (6-5)


Next week the players head to Sheffield, where all eyes will be on the Michael Smith v Nathan Aspinall quarter final match. With Aspinall sitting in fourth place and just one point ahead of Smith, it'll be a straight shootout between the two to see who makes the playoffs.


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