Luke Humphries defeats Michael van Gerwen in dramatic finish to Players Championship Finals; Despite Van Gerwen nine-darter, Humphries pipped him 11-9; we’re back for the World Darts Championship from December 15, 2023 to January 3, 2024 – live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 26/11/23 11:23pm
Luke Humphries defeated Michael van Gerwen 11-9 to win the Players Championship Finals in Minehead on Sunday.
It seemed as though Van Gerwen had taken control of the final, notably after landing a nine-darter ahead of the first interval. Humphries however came storming back.
Van Gerwen was ahead 9-5, only for Humphries to win six legs in a row to seize an 11-9 victory.
The Dutchman had the chance to force a last-leg decider, but failed to take out 47 and Humphries responded with a maximum to crank up the pressure.
Both men then could not close out the leg, with Van Gerwen missing 32 before Humphries spurned his chance on double seven.
With Van Gerwen again unable to finish from 16, Humphries was left to sink double one for another ranking title which sets him among the genuine contenders for the upcoming World Championships.
For Humphries, the newly crowned World Grand Prix and Grand Slam champion, it was a third televised triumph in seven weeks.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Humphries said afterwards. “It’s been the toughest three, four, five, six weeks of my whole life. I’ve been away so much. Away from family. Every day has been darts, darts, darts. Today I just felt it.
“In that game there I felt I had nothing to give. But I kept grinding. I always say determination, resilience, just keep going. To stand here with my third major title, I can’t put it into words, I’d never ever have dreamed of winning one, let alone three. So let’s go!”
To overcome Van Gerwen, in dramatic fashion too, made it all the more meaningful.
“He said I had to beat him in a final and I did!” Humphries said.
“Michael was fantastic there. It got to a point where I was thinking he’s playing so well here I’m going to have to find something from nowhere. He missed a lot of shots there, he allowed me in.
“But to beat Michael in a final – I would have loved to beat Phil Taylor in a final but I never got that opportunity. So the next best thing is Michael van Gerwen, the great of our generation, who gave you a nine-darter as well. To beat him in a final is what I always dreamed of.
“I think this one probably does mean the most to me.”
In the semi-finals, Humphries had coasted past Ryan Joyce 11-3 with a 106.2 average, while Van Gerwen had beaten German No 1 Gabriel Clemens 11-6.
Earlier during the afternoon session of finals day, Dutchman Van Gerwen had come from behind to edge out Stephen Bunting 10-9 in their last-eight contest.
Clemens qualified for the semi-finals after a 10-7 win over Luke Woodhouse, which was the same score as Humphries fought back to beat James Wade while Joyce had seen off Australian Damon Heta 10-6.
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