March 18, 2024 – Humphries Moves To The Top Of The Premier League

A Week In Darts – March 18, 2024 – Back-To-Back Titles Sends Humphries To Premier League Summit

There is a new leader of the Premier League after Luke Humphries claimed back-to-back titles to surge to the top of the table. There was also an historic win on the Challenge Tour where Noa-Lynn van Leuven won a title on her debut. Here’s our round-up of all things darts over the last seven days…

HUMPHRIES GOES TOP OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE

World number one Luke Humphries clinched back-to-back night wins to move top of the Premier League table on Thursday.

The reigning PDC world champion had opened his account with victory in Brighton the previous week and doubled his tally by picking up another night win in Nottingham.

‘Cool Hand’ defeated Michael Smith, Peter Wright and Nathan Aspinall to scoop another £10,000 bonus at the Motorpoint Arena, with this latest success helping him overhaul Michael van Gerwen at the top of the table.

“I’m really proud to be top of the league,” Humphries said. “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 kicked off the night with a 6-4 victory over Smith, where he averaged 103, before a 106 average helped him see off Wright 6-1 in the semi-finals.

The final saw Humphries race into 2-0 and 4-1 leads, with a 120 finish and back-to-back legs helping Aspinall close to 4-3 behind, before his opponent responded with 13 and 14-dart legs to wrap up a 6-3 win.

The Premier League season continues with night eight in Dublin on Thursday (March 21), where Humphries will start his bid for a third night win on the spin against Wright in the quarter-finals.

VAN LEUVEN MAKES CHALLENGE TOUR HISTORY

History was made during the latest weekend of Challenge Tour action as Noa-Lynn van Leuven became the first trans woman to win a PDC title.

The second weekend of the Challenge Tour season took place in Hildesheim, Germany over the weekend, with a field of 230+ players in action across the five events.

And it was van Leuven who stole the show by winning Event 6 on Friday to cap off a dream debut on the Challenge Tour, averaging 100 in a 5-3 victory over Tytus Kanik in the final.

Germany’s Rene Eidams also added his name to the Challenge Tour roll of honour, battling back from 3-0 down to beat Dennie Olde Kalter 5-4 in the Event 7 final to pick up his first title.

A landmark weekend on the Challenge Tour continued on Saturday as Andy Boulton went back-to-back, winning Events 8 and 9 to climb up to second place on the Order of Merit.

Boulton became only the fifth player in history to win two Challenge Tour titles on the same day, following in the footsteps of Colin Fowler, Mark Frost, Scott Williams and Berry van Peer.

He averaged 101 in a whitewash 5-0 success over Order of Merit leader Danny Jansen in the Event 8 final, before edging past Jamie Atkins 5-4 in the decider of Event 9 to complete a perfect day.

The weekend of first-time winners continued as Sunday when Lee Cocks beat Wesley Plaisier 5-0 in the final of Event 10. After two of the five weekends, Jansen (£6,275) and Boulton (£5,900) lead the way on the Order of Merit, with the top two at the end of the season each earning a two-year PDC tour card and a spot in the PDC World Darts Championship.

PDC CO-FOUNDER PASSES AWAY

The world of darts was in mourning last week following the news that one of the PDC’s co-founders Dick Allix had passed away at the age of 78.

Allix, along with Tommy Cox and John Markovic, were instrumental in the formation of the World Darts Council in 1992, an organisation that would later be renamed as the PDC.

He held the roles of chief executive and event director in the PDC, having first got involved in darts by managing Eric Bristow during his run to five world titles in the 1980s.

Allix was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame alongside Cox in 2010 to recognise his contribution to the sport.

Pictures: PDC

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