Can Humphries win fourth consecutive Premier League night in Belfast?


Can Humphries win fourth consecutive Premier League night in Belfast?

Humphries and Aspinall in Dublin
Humphries and Aspinall in DublinProfimedia
The ninth night of Premier League darts is scheduled for Thursday, this time Belfast is the battleground. Luke Humphries won the previous three nights and did so again with bizarre averages, but who is going to stop him?

Humphries vs Littler

The in-form Luke Humphries opens the evening against Luke Littler. With Humphries now unbeaten in his last 10 Premier League matches, he has won the last three editions and in those matches he has only once threw below 100 average, a bizarrely good statistic.

Because of those 15 points in the last three weeks, Humphries has taken over the lead in the overall standings. With 22 points, he is a whopping seven points clear of Michael van Gerwen.

With that lead, the Englishman does look like a certainty for the final round at the O2 in eight weeks' time. He still has a score to settle with Littler though, as the last three meetings were all won by the teenager.

Littler will have to stick to that then, as the points are welcome. He is fifth with 13 points and has as many points as third and fourth place, but a lower leg difference.

Last week it ran a lot less smoothly against Michael Smith and so he will be keen to win. Littler only made it to the final once. Knowing Littler, he will not be satisfied with that and will be yearning for a nightly victory win, so perhaps it could be his time in Belfast.

Smith vs Van Gerwen

Smith has been on the mend in recent weeks. After a poor time of it in the Premier League, he reached the final in Dublin last week and in Brighton three weeks ago.

He beat Littler with an average of just under 100 and Gerwyn Price with an average of 101. Then, in the final, he was hopeless against Humphries, who averaged almost 10 points more.

Smith has gained six points in the last three weeks, bringing his total to 13. Of the players on 13 points, he has the best leg difference, which leaves him third.

One place higher is Van Gerwen with 15 points. But Van Gerwen got all of those points in three weeks by winning nights two, three and four. Since then, he has lost his last four Premier League matches.

A fortnight ago that did include a match with a 110 average, which he lost to Littler who threw at a clip of 114. Other than that performance, we can say that the Dutchman is just out of shape on the oche. 

Last week, he came back handsomely from a big deficit against Price, but he could not prevent it from becoming a 6-4 defeat. Van Gerwen has only a two-point lead left in the run for the finals, so he really needs to watch out now.

Van Gerwen in Nottingham
Van Gerwen in NottinghamProfimedia

Aspinall vs Price

Nathan Aspinall is the one who has made the biggest improvements recently. In what looked like a dismal season with three defeats in the first three matches, he has turned his form into a serious attempt for the final. Aspinall has made it to the final three times in the last four nights, in which he took a nightly win in Exeter. 

On the other nights, Van Gerwen and Humprhies were too strong for him. Humphries was also too strong last week, but he has been too strong for all of the competitors in recent weeks.

Aspinall has also virtually played his way to the final round with 13 points. Then again, virtual doesn't count of course and he is well aware of that.

Price won again last week after five defeats in a row. With a high average of 102, Van Gerwen was beaten 6-4 where Price's doubles were especially good.

Price now has seven points and, oddly enough, he still has a chance of making the final round. A nightly win is probably far-fetched for that, though.

Cross - Wright

Rob Cross has dropped to sixth place in the Premier League. The Englishman lost to Aspinall two weeks in a row, failing to pick up any points.

Twice it came down to a decisive leg, in which Cross was beaten. Cross did not throw badly.

Last time out he recorded an average of 101 and the week before almost 99, showing it may have just been a case of bad luck with the opponent on the night. Cross has to make sure he wins this match because with 11 points he is two behind the all-important fourth place. Peter Wright seems the ideal opponent for that.

After all, the Scot has only won one match in nine weeks. He did so a fortnight ago against Price. Last week, Humphries was the opponent and despite an average of over 97, he lost 6-1 without a chance. Wright will need at least one and maybe even two nightly wins to still claim a spot in the final four.

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