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Premier League Darts: Luke Humphries goes top of the table with Nottingham victory

Luke Humphries celebrated back-to-back nightly wins to move top of the BetMGM Premier League table with victory in Nottingham on Thursday.

Having stormed to Night Six glory in Brighton last week, Humphries continued his blistering form to clinch the Night Seven spoils at the Motorpoint Arena.

The World Champion overcame Michael Smith, Peter Wright and Nathan Aspinall to scoop the £10,000 bonus and overhaul Michael van Gerwen at the Premier League summit.

Humphries defeated a resilient Smith in a repeat of the Night Six decider to book his place in the semi-finals, averaging 103 to seal a third straight win over the 2023 World Champion.

The 29-year-old then dispatched a much-improved Peter Wright 6-1 in the semi-finals, averaging 106 to set up a showdown against Night Five winner Aspinall.

Humphries raced into an early 2-0 lead against the Stockport star, only for Aspinall to open his account with a clinical 120 checkout in leg three.

Aspinall later hit back from 4-1 down with back-to-back legs, but he paid the price for missing a dart at tops to level at four apiece, as Humphries responded with legs of 13 and 14 darts to wrap up a 6-3 success.

“I’m really proud to be top of the league,” insisted Humphries, who has registered ton-plus averages in 12 of his 15 matches this season.

“I think in my first two games I was close to my top level. Me and Nathan weren’t at our best in the final, but all that matters is winning.

“I’m still learning, and it’s tough. You’re playing the best players in the world week in week out, and every point matters now.”

Humphries will aim to secure a third consecutive nightly victory when the Premier League roadshow rolls into Dublin next Thursday, and he’s relishing his first visit to the Emerald Isle.

“Dublin is going to be amazing next week,” continued the Newbury-born star, who will play Wright in the Night Eight quarter-finals.

“I’ve heard from a lot of the players that it’s probably the venue with the best atmosphere.

“I have family with Irish heritage, so it’s going to be a really special place for me to play.”

Elsewhere in Nottingham, Aspinall progressed to his third nightly final in four weeks with superb wins over Rob Cross and Luke Littler in the East Midlands.

The World Matchplay champion recovered from 5-4 adrift to deny Cross in the quarter-finals, averaging 102 to clinch a third successive win over the 2019 runner-up.

Aspinall then produced an astonishing display of scoring to topple Littler in the semi-finals, averaging 104 and landing five 180s on his way to a dominant 6-3 victory.

Littler’s wait for a nightly win continues, although the teenager produced the performance of this year’s tournament so far to dispatch Van Gerwen in a breath-taking quarter-final tussle.

The 17-year-old averaged 114 and crashed in eight 180s to inflict a third consecutive defeat on the Dutchman, missing double 12 for a nine-darter in a contest which also saw Van Gerwen average 110.94.

In the evening’s opener, Wright recorded his first win of the campaign with a deciding-leg victory against Gerwyn Price, surviving three match darts and defying a 102 average from the Welshman to triumph.

The BetMGM Premier League continues with Night Eight in Dublin on March 21, as Humphries opens his bid for a third consecutive nightly win against Wright.

Van Gerwen and Price will aim to halt their losing runs when they go head-to-head, Littler will play Smith for a place in the semi-finals, while Aspinall and Cross also collide in the Irish capital.

 

Night Seven Results

Quarter-Finals
Peter Wright 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Luke Humphries 6-4 Michael Smith
Luke Littler 6-2 Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Rob Cross

Semi-Finals
Luke Humphries 6-1 Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Luke Littler

Final
Luke Humphries 6-3 Nathan Aspinall

Photo Credit: Kieran Cleeves/PDC

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