2024 Premier League: Night One in Cardiff Preview

The 2024 BetMGM Premier League kicks off with an exciting opening night in Cardiff's Utilita Arena, featuring a headline match between Reigning World Champion Luke Humphries and emerging talent Luke Littler. Delving into the Premier League narratives, we explore Humphries' debut confidence, Littler's fearless entry, and Michael van Gerwen's determined title defence. Hometown hero Gerwyn Price seeks redemption, and former champions Peter Wright and Rob Cross collide in a quarterfinal showdown.

Darts contenders posing for a photo
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-02-01

9 minutes read

The Premier League Kicks Off in Cardiff

In a highly anticipated kick-off to the 2024 BetMGM Premier League, reigning World Champion Luke Humphries is set to face off against the emerging teenage sensation Luke Littler on the opening night at Cardiff's Utilita Arena tonight. 

 

As Michael van Gerwen embarks on his quest for an unprecedented eighth title, the world's number one player, Humphries, will make his full-fledged Premier League debut against the World Youth Champion Littler, reprising their thrilling clash from last month's epic World Championship final at Alexandra Palace. 

 

Humphries emerged victorious with a 7-4 score line in a match that captivated audiences and shattered viewing records. The anticipation is palpable as these two talented contenders renew their rivalry in front of a sold-out crowd in the vibrant Welsh capital, promising an evening of darting excellence. 

 

The tournament's format will once again feature eight of the sport's top stars engaging in 16 mini-events throughout the season, with each league night culminating in quarterfinals, semi-finals, and a final, all contested over the best of 11 legs. Cardiff awaits an electrifying start to the Premier League, with fans eagerly anticipating the drama and skill that will unfold on the oche on this thrilling opening night.

Humphries Ready to Make His Debut

During yesterday's Premier League launch event at the Principality Stadium, World Champion Luke Humphries shared his anticipation and enthusiasm for his imminent debut in the prestigious tournament. Emphasising the significance of this moment, Humphries expressed the feeling of a prolonged wait, stating, "Long time coming, isn't it? I feel like I've been waiting for this moment for about three years." 

 

Despite the unusual trajectory of entering the Premier League as the reigning world champion without previous appearances, Humphries exuded confidence, asserting, "It's a rarity going into the Premier League as the world champion. Usually, you've played a few Premier Leagues before, then you become world champion. So, it feels quite strange to be World Champion, never played a Premier League, but that's going to change now." 

 

Reflecting on his exceptional 2023 journey and unwavering determination, Humphries affirmed his readiness for the challenge, expressing, "I’m ready for the challenge, and I’m ready to win it." With these remarks, Humphries sets the stage for a compelling debut, eager to leave an indelible mark in the upcoming Premier League season.

 

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Littler’s Fearless Entry

In addition, despite being the youngest player ever to grace the Premier League stage, Luke Littler displayed remarkable confidence and fearlessness during the event's launch at the Principality Stadium. With a bold assertion, Littler stated, "I've already beat five of them over the past two weeks, so I know that I can beat anyone when I'm on it." 

 

This fearless declaration underscores Littler's belief in his ability to compete at the highest level, showcasing a self-assuredness that belies his age. Having already triumphed over established opponents in recent weeks, Littler enters the Premier League with a sense of assurance, positioning himself among the elite players in the sport. His readiness to take on the challenge with such conviction suggests that despite his youth, Littler is well-prepared to make a lasting impact in the tournament, setting the stage for an exciting and promising debut on the Premier League darts circuit.

Van Gerwen’s Title Defence

Kicking off the £1 million tournament, reigning champion Van Gerwen is also poised to commence his title defence against the 2023 World Champion Michael Smith on the opening night. The winner of this high-stakes encounter will advance to the semi-finals, where they will face the formidable challenge of either Luke Humphries or the young sensation Luke Littler.

 

With the confidence that stems from his proven ability in the Premier League, Van Gerwen asserted, "I don't need any psychological edge or anything because my ability can do enough. I can deal with any circumstances that most players can’t, so that will help me later in the tournament as it has done in the past." 

 

The Dutch man's unwavering self-assurance is evident as he downplays the notion of relying on a psychological advantage despite being the only participant with a previous title under his belt.

 

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Price’s Homecoming and Aspinall Clash

In another riveting matchup, the hometown favourite Gerwyn Price is set to command attention in Cardiff, facing off against World Matchplay champion Nathan Aspinall in their quarter-final clash. Price, the 2023 Premier League runner-up and a two-time World Cup winner, seeks to recreate the magic of last year's Cardiff decider where he emerged victorious against Aspinall. 

 

The Welsh number one aims for a repeat performance on his home turf, adding an extra layer of anticipation to the showdown between these two formidable competitors in the upcoming quarter-final bout.

 

As Gerwyn Price gears up for night one in front of his fervent home crowd, the Welsh sensation exudes confidence, emphasizing Cardiff as the ideal starting point for his Premier League campaign. Expressing his strategic approach, Price stated, "Best place for me to play is Cardiff to start off the Premier League, so hopefully start off with a good one, get some points on the board and ease the pressure." 

 

Reflecting on his stellar performance last season, where he reached the finals for the first time, Price acknowledged falling just short at the final hurdle. However, undeterred, he sets his sights on a more triumphant outcome this year, declaring, "But this year I’m looking to go one step further." With a determination to build on his past success and fuelled by the support of his home crowd, Price aims to make a resounding statement in the Premier League, aspiring to clinch the title in a bid to solidify his status as one of the sport's all-time greats. 

 

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Snakebite vs. Voltage

Concluding the night's quarterfinals spectacle, former World Champions Peter Wright and Rob Cross are set to clash in the evening's opening match. This encounter marks Cross's return to the Premier League fold after a two-year absence, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the showdown between these seasoned champions.

 

As Rob Cross makes his highly anticipated return to the Premier League, the former World Champion reflected on the upward trajectory of his performance over the past year, stating, "Last year for me went from strength to strength. I’ve played really well recently and will be looking to make an impact on the Premier League." 

 

Expressing confidence in his abilities, Cross sets ambitious goals, declaring, "I know I can definitely make that top four and challenge for the title." 

 

Moreover, despite acknowledging the spotlight on emerging talents like Luke Humphries and Luke Littler, Cross adopts a strategic mindset, emphasising the importance of going under the radar. He notes, "For me, it’s all about going under the radar. It's happened before and I suppose it can happen again." With a focused and determined approach, Cross positions himself as a formidable contender, ready to navigate the competition while thriving in a role away from the spotlight.

 

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The Journey Ahead

Following the exhilarating kick-off in Cardiff, the BetMGM Premier League will embark on a dynamic journey, making its way to the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin the following Thursday. This 17-night season will see the tournament traverse various locations across the UK, including stops in Dublin and Rotterdam, promising an exciting and diverse line-up of matches. The culmination of this thrilling season is set for May's Play-Offs, slated to unfold at The O2 in London.

Premier League Night One in Cardiff – Full Schedule

Quarter-Finals:


Peter Wright vs. Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price vs. Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen vs. Michael Smith
Luke Littler vs. Luke Humphries

Semi-Finals:


Wright/Cross vs. Price/Aspinall
Van Gerwen/Smith vs. Littler/Humphries

 

Final:


Wright/Cross/Price/Aspinall vs. Van Gerwen/Smith/Littler/Humphries

 

Image credit: Professional Darts Corporation (PDC)

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Louis Hobbs

Louis Hobbs

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.

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