Hat-Trick For Humphries As Ally Pally Draw Is Confirmed

Hat-Trick For Humphries As Ally Pally Draw Is Confirmed

Alex Moss |

A Week In Darts – November 28, 2023 – Hat-Trick For Humphries As Ally Pally Draw Is Confirmed

The meteoric rise of Luke Humphries continued at the weekend as he won his third major title – beating Michael van Gerwen in a thrilling final at the Players Championship Finals. Meanwhile, the draw was made for the PDC World Championship as players found out who they will face at Alexandra Palace next month…

HUMPHRIES HAT-TRICK IN MINEHEAD

Luke Humphries defied a nine-dart finish from Michael van Gerwen to win the Players Championship Finals in Minehead on Sunday night.

The defending champion van Gerwen looked on course to claim a record-extending eighth title, throwing a nine darter on his way to a 9-5 lead in the decider.

But Humphries then reeled off six legs on the spin to prevail 11-9 and secure an incredible third major title in just seven weeks.

Sunday’s triumph follows recent successes at the World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts, with this latest win moving Humphries up to a career high of number three in the world.

“To stand here with my third major title, I can’t put it into words,” the 28-year-old said. “I never dreamed of winning one, let alone three.

“To beat him (Michael van Gerwen) in a final, I think this one probably does mean the most to me.

“It means I’m the best player in the world – he said I had to beat him in a final and I did! Michael was fantastic there, but he allowed me in.”

A thrilling final saw Humphries take out 130 on the bull in the opening leg, before van Gerwen produced perfection in leg five, throwing back-to-back 180s followed by a 141 finish.

Humphries rallied from 9-5 down with a 142 checkout helping him to move 10-9 up. Van Gerwen then missed eight darts at doubles in the 20th leg to force a decider and ‘Cool Hand’ stepped in to hit double one for the title.

The Players Championship Finals marked the last stop before Ally Pally, with several players achieving their best results in a TV event, including Ryan Joyce who enjoyed a run to his first major semi-final.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DRAW CONFIRMED

Michael Smith will start the defense of the PDC World Championship against either Kevin Doets or Stowe Buntz, after the draw was made in London on Monday.

‘Bully Boy’ won his first World Championship crown with a history-making victory against Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace in January, throwing a nine-dart finish in the final that many people regard as ‘the greatest leg ever.’

The world number one will face one of two debutants in his first match, either Dutchman Doets or Grand Slam quarter-finalist Buntz, as he aims to become only the fourth player to successfully defend the Sid Waddell Trophy.

Meanwhile, man of the moment Luke Humphries – the winner of three of the last four major events – will face either Lee Evans or Sandro Eric Sosing for a place in the last 32.

The 2021 champion Gerwyn Price takes on debutant Connor Scutt or Poland’s Krzysztof Kciuk, while two-time winner Gary Anderson meets either Simon Whitlock or Paolo Nebrida.

Amongst the most exciting first-round ties at Ally Pally, Fallon Sherrock takes on Jermaine Wattimena, whilst Steve Beaton – in his 33rd consecutive World Championship appearance – goes up against Dutch debutant Wessel Nijman.

AROUND THE BOARD

Luke Littler became the youngest winner of the PDC World Youth Championship after beating Gian van Veen 6-4 in Sunday night’s final in Minehead.

The 16-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough debut campaign on the PDC circuit, winning five Development Tour titles to secure a two-year PDC tour card starting in 2024.

The Warrington teenager added another title to his collection, edging past van Veen in a high-quality contest that featured 13 maximums.

Littler raced into a 5-1 lead, with van Veen’s sole leg coming with a 121 finish on the bull, before the Dutchman battled back with 94, 100 and 120 checkouts to close to just 5-4 behind.

But a missed dart at double five from van Veen in the 10th leg opened the door for Littler, who capitalized by hitting tops to clinch the title and the £10,000 top prize.

“It’s amazing, I can’t put it into words,” said Littler, who averaged 102.16 and threw seven 180s in the final.

“I flew out of the traps but Gian was coming back, and I’m just so glad I got over the line.

 “I’ve got a two-year tour card secured and I have the World Championship coming up in a few weeks’ time.

“This will give me a massive boost playing in front of such a big crowd, and I cannot wait to get to Ally Pally now!”

Pictures: PDC

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