Match Report

2024 Premier League: Luke Humphries Wins Night 15 in Leeds

Luke Humphries secures 4th Premier League win in Leeds, closing in on Luke Littler at the top of the table.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-05-09

Naim Rosinski

12 minutes read

Night 15 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds

Following an eagerly anticipated return to his hometown, World Champion Luke Humphries made his professional darts debut in Leeds amidst a fervent atmosphere as the Premier League darting roadshow descended upon the vibrant city of West Yorkshire.

On the penultimate night of league phase action, all eyes were on Leeds United fan Humphries as he took centre stage, facing off against 2018 World Champion Rob Cross in the quarterfinals. With Cross still vying for a coveted play-off spot in two weeks’ time, the stakes were high.

Humphries, along with current table-topper Luke Littler, had already secured their places in the Play-Offs, leaving just two spots up for grabs over the coming fortnight. 

Welsh star Gerwyn Price and Scottish legend Peter Wright found themselves knocked out of contention for the playoffs, leaving them to battle solely for the nightly victory and the £10,000 cash prize on offer.


Michael van Gerwen vs. Gerwyn Price

In a crucial clash with Michael Smith and Rob Cross hot on his heels in the league standings, the pressure was on Michael van Gerwen to secure victory in the opening match of the night in Leeds.

The encounter kicked off with Welshman Gerwyn Price making an unexpected start, clinching a rapid 14-dart leg to catch the Dutchman off guard. Price then doubled his advantage in the following leg, breaking van Gerwen’s throw and intensifying the challenge.

Despite van Gerwen responding swiftly with a 13-dart break of throw to narrow the gap, Price continued to apply pressure, breaking the Dutchman's throw once again to claim a 3-1 lead, capitalising on missed opportunities from van Gerwen.

In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it exchange, van Gerwen then showcased his prowess with a stunning 125 three-dart finish, securing the fourth consecutive break of throw. The dutchman’s three-dart average then steadily started to climb to an impressive 107, allowing him to tie the game at 3-3. 

Price, initially seeming to dominate proceedings with an early 3-1 lead, now found himself trailing at 4-3 after conceding the next leg, mirroring the challenges he has faced throughout the season, solid performances falling short of clinching victories.

The Iceman couldn't maintain his composure in the final two legs, faltering under pressure and ultimately conceding to van Gerwen, who secured a commanding 6-3 lead and secured his place in the night's semi-finals.


Image credit: PDC

Luke Littler vs. Peter Wright

Marked by contrasting fortunes, the Premier League table-topper and season's standout performer, Luke Littler, faced off against Peter Wright, who was on track to potentially record the lowest Premier League performance in the format's history.

From the outset, Littler, with his customary flair, electrified the stage with a breath-taking 146 three-dart checkout to swiftly claim the first leg. His momentum surged as he followed up with six immaculate darts, registering back-to-back 180s, narrowly missing out on a perfect leg but securing a commanding 2-0 lead.

As the match progressed, Wright struggled to find his rhythm, unable to mount a competitive challenge as Littler surged ahead, establishing an unassailable 4-0 advantage.

However, amidst Littler's dominance, Wright found a glimmer of hope, preventing a whitewash by seizing the sixth leg, narrowing the deficit to 5-1, capitalising on a brief lapse in concentration from the 17-year-old sensation.

Ultimately, Littler sealed the fixture with authority at 6-1. Wright, undoubtedly disappointed with his performance, struggled to maintain consistency, barely scraping a three-dart average above 80 and failing to pose a significant threat to Littler's commanding display.


Image credit: PDC

Luke Humphries vs. Rob Cross

Dressed in his striking new Leeds United and Yorkshire-themed shirt, accompanied by a unique walk-on featuring the renowned Leeds band Kaiser Chiefs, Luke Humphries exuded determination right from the start as he stepped onto the stage.

In contrast, Rob Cross found himself facing yet another must-win encounter, aiming to capitalise on his recent back-to-back final appearances in the Premier League and secure his first nightly victory, making his mark on the Leeds stage.

The match commenced with a slow start from both contenders, each clinching their respective opening legs with mid to low 90 averages. However, it was Humphries who ignited the crowd's fervour in the third leg, delivering a well-executed 87-checkout to break Cross' throw and seize a 2-1 lead.

Humphries continued to thrive in the Leeds atmosphere, swiftly claiming the subsequent leg before once again disrupting Cross' throw with an impressive 125 three-dart finish, extending his lead to 4-1.

Despite Cross's efforts, the following legs slipped away from his grasp as Humphries maintained his dominance. With a commanding performance and an impressive 109 three-dart average, Humphries secured a resounding 6-1 victory.

The defeat also marked Cross's elimination from contention for a playoff spot at London's O2 arena. 


Image credit: PDC

Nathan Aspinall vs. Michael Smith

In what was arguably the most pivotal match of the night, with both players vying for crucial points to bolster their chances of reaching the competition's playoff stage, friends off the oche, Nathan Aspinall and Michael Smith, squared off in a tense encounter.

The nerves were palpable as both players struggled with their doubles, collectively missing eight darts at crucial moments in the opening leg. However, it was Smith who managed to edge ahead and secure the early advantage.

Aspinall swiftly regrouped, delivering a composed 13-dart leg to level the score, showcasing his resilience in the face of adversity.

Smith regained his composure to hold his throw in the following leg, before igniting the crowd with a dazzling display of precision, hitting six flawless darts, and hinting at a potential nine-darter. Although he narrowly missed out on the perfect leg, his performance was enough to establish a 3-1 lead.

The Asp fought back, breaking Smith's throw to narrow the deficit. However, Smith dealt a further blow to Aspinall's playoff aspirations, executing an impressive 136 three-dart finish to extend his lead to 4-2.

With Smith on the brink of securing a semi-final berth, Aspinall continued to struggle with his finishing. Despite managing to claw back one more leg, frustration began to surface as he faltered in crucial moments, allowing Smith to capitalise and clinch the match with a 6-3 victory.


Image credit: PDC


Michael van Gerwen vs. Luke Littler

Entering the first semi-final, Michael van Gerwen and Luke Littler boasted an evenly matched head-to-head record of three wins apiece in this Premier League season, setting the stage for a showdown between two formidable contenders.

In the opening exchanges, both players applied pressure on their opponent's throw, resulting in a tightly contested battle where neither could break serve. However, it was van Gerwen who seized an early 2-1 advantage.

The momentum shifted decisively in van Gerwen's favour as he produced a stunning display, stringing together seven flawless darts en route to a 10-dart leg, breaking Littler's throw and establishing a commanding 3-1 lead.

The fifth leg witnessed an unprecedented turn of events as both players endured a protracted struggle on the doubles, with over 10 missed attempts before finally hitting double one, also known as the madhouse. It was van Gerwen who ultimately capitalised on the opportunity, clinching the leg to extend his lead to 4-1.

Demonstrating his dominance, van Gerwen continued to assert his authority, sealing a dominant 6-1 victory over the 17-year-old sensation. 

While Littler's playoff berth remained secure, the emphatic win held significant importance for van Gerwen, signalling a triumphant moment for the Dutchman on the Premier League stage.


Image credit: PDC

Luke Humphries vs. Michael Smith

In front of the electrified Leeds crowd, Luke Humphries again wasted no time asserting his dominance in the second semi-final of the night, kicking off with a scintillating 11-dart leg that set the tone for the match. Following it up with a composed 14-dart break of throw, Humphries surged to an early 2-0 lead, leaving Michael Smith struggling to find his footing.

Maintaining his momentum, Cool Hand Luke showcased his precision with a stunning 124 three-dart checkout, further extending his lead to 3-0. A seamless 85-checkout followed suit, as Humphries made the challenging sport of darts appear effortless.

With a commanding 5-0 advantage, Humphries seemed poised to secure the first whitewash of the season. Although, Smith managed to salvage some hope by clawing back a solitary leg, keeping his playoff aspirations alive.

Yet, it was Humphries who ultimately sealed the deal, clinching the seventh leg with authority to claim a dominant 6-1 victory. With this commanding performance, Humphries earned his ticket to the final showdown against Michael van Gerwen, leaving Smith to contemplate what might have been.


Image credit: PDC

Final: Michael van Gerwen vs. Luke Humphries

Humphries, unlike his previous formidable form, stumbled at the outset, missing five crucial darts at double and conceding the opening leg and a break of throw to the Dutchman, van Gerwen. The latter capitalised on Humphries' errors, seizing an unexpected 2-0 lead with three more missed darts at double by his opponent.

However, Humphries refused to be subdued, finally finding his mark in the third leg with a precise double 14, securing his first leg of the nightly final. Van Gerwen showcased his prowess with a stunning 12-dart leg, capped off with a 96 three-dart finish, extending his lead to 3-1.

Just when it seemed van Gerwen was pulling away, Humphries launched a remarkable comeback. With an impressive display, he held his throw in the next leg with a swift 13-darter before breaking back at the Dutchman with an electrifying 132 three-dart finish, levelling the game at 3-3.

The seesaw battle continued as van Gerwen broke back with two missed darts at double 19 from Humphries, only for the latter to repeat the feat, knotting the match at 4-4. With the tension mounting, Humphries displayed nerves of steel, delivering another flawless 13-dart leg to move within striking distance of victory. Yet, van Gerwen fought back valiantly, equalising the score and forcing the game into a one-leg shootout.

In a breath-taking climax, Humphries seized the moment, clinching the decisive leg with a composed checkout of 78, to triumph 6-5 in front of his fervent supporters in Leeds. 

Despite the final defeat, van Gerwen did also secure his spot at London’s O2 play-offs, courtesy of Michael Smith's loss to Humphries in the prior round.


Image credit: PDC

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Louis Hobbs
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