2024 Premier League: Nathan Aspinall Wins Night Five in Exeter

Premier League Night Five at Exeter's Westpoint Arena treated darts fans to another thrilling spectacle. All eyes were on Michael van Gerwen as he aimed to make history with a fourth consecutive Premier League victory, facing off against reigning World Champion Luke Humphries.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-02-29

Wade McElwain

10 minutes read

Night Five at Westpoint Exeter

The Westpoint Arena in Exeter was ablaze with excitement during Premier League Night Five, as darting enthusiasts eagerly awaited showdowns that promised both intensity and spectacle. Michael van Gerwen's quest for a record-breaking fourth consecutive Premier League night triumph dominated headlines, with the Dutch ace poised to face off against reigning World Champion Luke Humphries in a battle of darting giants. 


Adding to the anticipation, rising star Luke Littler, sought redemption against Michael Smith after their last encounter in Cardiff, ensuring an evening packed with anticipation and drama.


Luke Humphries vs. Michael van Gerwen

The match started with a sluggish pace for both players, as they struggled to find their rhythm on the doubles. Despite Humphries missing four leg darts initially, he managed to hold throw in the first leg with a double 10. Van Gerwen faced similar difficulties in the following leg, missing two darts at double himself. 


Cool Hand Luke continued to struggle on the doubles, but van Gerwen's poor scoring allowed him to glide through the match, without being affected by missing many crucial opportunities. The first significant checkout of the game came in the fourth leg, with Humphries hitting an 81-checkout to break van Gerwen's throw and take a 3-1 lead. However, Humphries quickly lost momentum, allowing the dutchman to break back and level the score at 3-3 after three missed darts at double. 


Under pressure, Humphries regained his composure to win a crucial leg, taking a 4-3 lead. He then capitalised on van Gerwen's faltering performance with an 82-checkout to break the Mighty Mike's throw once more, moving within one leg of securing a spot in the night's semi-finals. Hitting the only 180 of the encounter, Humphries held throw to win the match 6-3, dashing van Gerwen's hopes of a third consecutive Premier League victory. The match showcased Humphries' struggles with finishing and van Gerwen's uncharacteristically poor scoring, making for an unexpected and compelling encounter.



Image credit: PDC

Nathan Aspinall vs. Peter Wright

In a showdown between the Premier League's bottom two contenders, Nathan Aspinall and Peter Wright, the match kicked off with a sluggish start, both players posting three-dart averages under 80 in the initial stages where they each held throw for the first two legs. However, Snakebite began to find his stride, securing the third leg and breaking Aspinall's throw in the fourth with a remarkable three-dart 156 finish, establishing a 3-1 lead.


Aspinall then swiftly retaliated, breaking back with an impressive 82-checkout via the bull, double 16 route, followed by a sensational 12-darter finished off on the bull to level the score at 3-3. Aspinall's match average surged towards 100 as he claimed three consecutive legs to take a 4-3 lead. Despite his momentum, three missed darts at double 20 halted his progress, allowing Wright to even the score at 4-4. 


Although, Wright's failure to capitalise, missing seven leg darts, handed Aspinall a 6-4 victory. The win eluded Wright once again, leaving the Scottish player still in search of his first victory in the 2024 Premier League season.



Image credit: PDC

Gerwyn Price vs. Rob Cross

In a commanding display, Rob Cross stormed into the match with a flurry of precision, sprinting from the entrance ramp to deliver seven perfect darts and secure an impressive 11-dart leg, swiftly establishing a two-nil lead.


Cross then executed an astounding 132 checkout, utilising two bulls before finishing with double 16 to extend his lead to 3-0. With relentless pressure, Cross orchestrated a flawless 10-dart break of throw, surging ahead to a commanding 4-0 advantage, leaving Gerwyn Price little opportunity to retaliate. 


Despite a brief moment of anticipation from the crowd in the fifth leg as Cross flirted with a potential big fish, ultimately settling for a double 16 finish, Price managed to thwart the possibility of a whitewash with an incredible 160 checkout, securing his first leg on the board. 


It was Cross who maintained dominance, completing his demolition over Price with a resounding 6-1 victory. Notably, Cross achieved his personal best Premier League average, an outstanding 109.69. 



Image credit: PDC

Luke Littler vs. Michael Smith

Sporting his new darts and setting a blazing pace from the outset, 17-year-old Luke Littler signalled his intent with a perfect 180 on his opening three darts, swiftly claiming the first leg. The match maintained its rapid tempo over the next four legs as both players traded holds of throw, with Littler edging ahead 3-2. 


Demonstrating his prowess, Littler then secured the first break of throw with a remarkable 140 three-dart finish, extending his lead by two legs. Despite Michael Smith's attempts to mount a comeback, including missing two crucial darts at double, Littler seized the opportunity, surging to a commanding 5-2 advantage. 


With his fifth 180 of the match, the Nuke sealed a resounding 6-2 victory, showcasing a world-class average of 106.97, narrowly falling short of Rob Cross's average from the preceding match.



Image credit: PDC


Luke Humphries vs. Nathan Aspinall

The action unfolded with Aspinall asserting his dominance early on, securing the first leg with a solid 76-checkout after Humphries narrowly missed a dart at bullseye. Aspinall continued his momentum by immediately breaking Humphries' throw, establishing a 2-0 lead against the reigning world champion. 


Despite a brief break back from Humphries with a three-dart checkout of 95, Aspinall capitalised on missed opportunities in the subsequent leg to regain a two-leg advantage. With an impressive three-dart checkout of 144, Aspinall extended his lead to 4-1, placing Humphries in a precarious position. Breaking Humphries' throw for a third time with an 87-checkout, Aspinall moved within one leg of securing back-to-back Premier League finals appearances. 


The tide quickly turned as Humphries mounted a remarkable comeback, winning four successive legs in quick succession without missing a dart at double, forcing the game into a one-leg shootout for a spot in the Exeter final. Regardless of Humphries' valiant efforts, Aspinall maintained his composure in the final leg, clinching victory with a remarkable 160 three-dart finish to seal an exhilarating 6-5 win in what proved to be a thrilling and closely contested match.



Image credit: PDC


Rob Cross vs. Luke Littler

In the second semi-final showdown of the night between Rob Cross and Luke Littler, both players struggled to replicate their impressive averages from previous matches. In spite of this, Cross managed to pounce and swiftly break Littler's throw early on, capitalising on Littler's difficulty in finding consistent scoring. 


However, Littler fought back, wresting the darts away from Cross to break back immediately and then holding throw to level the game at 2-2. Voltage then regained the lead with a composed 100 checkout, but Littler responded with a solid hold of throw to keep the score line even yet again. 


Thereafter, a missed opportunity for Littler on double two proved crucial to level the match at 4-4, reminiscent of his struggles in the World Championship final, allowing Cross to take a comfortable 5-3 lead. Despite Cross missing six match darts in the ninth leg, Littler failed to capitalise, enabling Cross to secure a 6-3 victory and book his place in the night's final against Nathan Aspinall.



Image credit: PDC

Final: Nathan Aspinall vs. Rob Cross

In the Exeter final, Nathan Aspinall made a commanding start by securing an 80 checkout to draw first blood, swiftly followed by a rapid break of throw to establish an early 2-0 lead. Demonstrating his prowess, Aspinall navigated a difficult finish on double three to claim his third successive leg. 


Despite facing challenges on the doubles in the fourth leg, Aspinall remained faultless, culminating in a stunning second 160 checkout of the night in the fifth leg, extending his lead to 5-0. 


Rob Cross managed to avoid a whitewash by securing the next leg, narrowing the gap to 5-1, reminiscent of Aspinall's semi-final score line against Humphries. Although Cross attempted to mount a comeback by winning one more leg, it wasn't enough to overcome Aspinall's dominance. 


The victory marked Aspinall's first Premier League night win, propelling him into the playoff spots of the league table and solidifying his status as a formidable contender in the world of darts.



Image credit: PDC

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

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