January 4, 2024 - Humphries Seals World Championship Glory

A Week In Darts – January 4, 2024 – Humphries Denies Littler In Ally Pally Final

After three weeks of high-quality tungsten action, the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship reached its thrilling conclusion with the final at Alexandra Palace last night. The new world number one Luke Humphries and the teenage sensation Luke Littler battled it out for the Sid Waddell Trophy and the £500,000 top prize…

HUMPHRIES SEALS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GLORY

Luke Humphries produced an outstanding display to beat teenage star Luke Littler 7-4 and be crowned the new PDC world champion at Alexandra Palace last night.

‘Cool Hand’ reeled off five straight sets from 4-2 down to see off his 16-year-old opponent in a classic final, averaging 103 and throwing 23 180’s to fulfil his darting destiny.

The 28-year-old went in as the pre-tournament favourite, having won three of the four previous major titles, and his 6-0 victory over Scott Williams in the semi-finals confirmed him as the new world number one.

And last night’s triumph in the final sees Humphries become only the 12th winner of the sport’s biggest prize and sit clear at the top of the PDC Order of Merit.

“I honestly cannot put into words how great this feels,” Humphries said. “I am really proud of my performance.

“I had to win this one tonight, because Luke (Littler) is going to win plenty, I’m sure.

“He is an incredible talent. Even when I was on the brink of winning there, he was relentless.

“That seventh set was a massive turning point. If I’m 5-2 down it becomes a real uphill task, but to reel off those five sets was just incredible.

“My hand was shaking like mad going for that double eight, but fortunately it just fell in.”

Humphries led 1-0 and 2-1 in the early stages of the best of 13 set final, before Littler battled back with three consecutive sets to open up a 4-2 advantage.

However, a missed set dart at double two for a 112 finish for Littler to go 5-2 up proved to be the turning point, as Humphries won the next five sets without reply to be crowned the champion.

For the runner-up Littler, it brings to an end a record-breaking debut run for the reigning PDC world youth champion.

‘The Nuke’ averaged 106 in his opening-round win against Christian Kist to become the youngest player to win a match in the PDC World Darts Championship.

He followed that up with victories over Andrew Gilding, Matt Campbell, Raymond van Barneveld, Brendan Dolan and Rob Cross to reach the decider, where he made more history as the youngest player to appear in a World Championship final.

“It’s been unbelievable,” said Littler, who pockets £200,000 as the runner-up and is up to number 31 in the world rankings.

“Every game has been great. I lost too many legs on my own throw tonight, and I’m disappointed I missed those three darts to keep the game going, because that’s what the crowd wanted.

“Fair play to Luke, he deserves that title. I’m into the world’s top 32, runner-up on my debut. It’s been an unbelievable tournament, and now I just want to go on and win it.”

RUSS BRAY INDUCTED INTO PDC HALL OF FAME

Legendary darts referee Russ Bray has been announced as the latest inductee into the PDC Hall of Fame.

The 66-year-old refereed last night’s final between Luke Humphries and Luke Littler, his last match as a full-time referee before taking on a new role as an ambassador for the PDC.

It was a fitting finale for Bray, who has refereed in 28 PDC World Darts Championships and called some of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport.

“This is an unbelievably proud moment for me,” he said. “It is not often that I get lost for words, but this is an amazing honour for me.

“I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone involved at the PDC who I’ve worked with over the last 27 years for making the game what it is today.

“I’m so excited about my new role as PDC ambassador. I will still be doing the PDC Asian Tour and I’ll be involved on the World Series of Darts circuit, so I’ll still be involved in the game.

“It’s been an incredible journey so far, and now I’m looking forward to the next part of my career.”

WHAT’S NEXT ON THE PDC CALENDAR?

The World Championship marks the end of the 2023-24 PDC season, but the world’s top players will soon be back in action.

The Bahrain Darts Masters is the first stop on the 2024 World Series of Darts calendar and takes place from January 18-19.

The 2024 Premier League gets under way in Cardiff on February 1, with the eight-player line up of players set to be announced at 4pm today (January 4).

Before then, the annual Qualifying School will be held in both England and Germany next week (January 8-14), where hundreds of players will be battling it out to win two-year tour cards to join the likes of Littler and Humphries and play on the PDC circuit.

Click here to see the full 2024 PDC calendar.

 

Check out our PDC World Championship collection for the signature darts and accessories of your favourite players!

Paddy Power, Prostate Cancer UK and the PDC have joined forces to call for 180,000 men across the UK to take 30 seconds to check their risk by using Prostate Cancer UK’s online risk checker. 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the disease is curable if caught early.

* Ahead of the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship, title sponsor Paddy Power announced they would donate £1,000 to Prostate Cancer UK for every 180 hit during the tournament. A record 914 maximums were thrown, raising £914,000 for Prostate Cancer UK. Luke Humphries hit the most with 73 to scoop the Ballon d’Art trophy!

Pictures: PDC

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