Van Gerwen into play-offs despite Humphries defeat

Michael van Gerwen celebrates during Premier League Darts night 15 in Leeds
Michael van Gerwen has won four of the 15 nights this season but has also been eliminated in the opening game on nine occasions [PA Media]

Seven-time winner Michael van Gerwen clinched his place in the Premier League Darts play-offs despite losing 6-5 to world champion Luke Humphries in the night 15 final in Leeds.

Humphries' success was his fourth night win of the season, and he matches Van Gerwen and teenager Luke Littler's record.

It also kept the 29-year-old in contention for top spot, which would see him face the fourth-placed player in the play-offs at London's O2 Arena on 23 May.

The final week of the regular season will see fixtures decided from the league table standings, so fourth-placed Nathan Aspinall will face Michael Smith, who sits fifth, in the quarter-finals with the winner sealing the final play-off spot.

For Humphries, the victory was a career highlight in the city of his football team Leeds United after they finished third in the Championship and missed out on automatic promotion to the Premier League following a poor run of results.

"I knew it was on me. I knew if I lost, it would have been #LeedsAreFallingApartAgain online," he told Sky Sports.

"This is one of my greatest experiences in darts. My first major win would be second and the World Championship will always be top, but this is third."

Humphries won nights six to eight earlier in the season but had failed to reach the final since.

He has admitted to feeling tired as he juggles playing in the Premier League for the first time alongside the regular European Tour and Players Championship events.

However, Humphries was back to his scintillating best for large parts of the evening in a venue he considers home.

He wore a special white shirt with blue and yellow trims and, after teasing he would do so in recent weeks, debuted his new walk-on song I Predict A Riot by Leeds band Kaiser Chiefs.

Luke Humphries during Premier League Darts night 15 in Leeds
Luke Humphries wore a special shirt to show his support for Leeds United [PA Media]

It led to a more relaxed performance and he was seen encouraging the crowd to sing along, which is not a trait often shown by the world number one.

Humphries brushed aside Rob Cross in a clinical 6-1 quarter-final triumph, before being absolutely breathtaking in beating Smith by the same scoreline in the last four.

The final was of a lesser standard, though, with both players irritated by a draught, but Humphries kept a consistent average of above 100 throughout and eventually found his checkout game to seal the win.

He now sits five points off top spot and must win the final night and hope leader Littler - beaten 6-1 in the semi-finals by Van Gerwen - is knocked out in the opening round.

Van Gerwen’s run to the final put him in the play-offs again as he now looks to win a record-extending eighth Premier League and third in three years.

The Dutchman and Humphries are likely to meet in the play-offs too, with second playing third and first playing fourth in the opening ties.

Premier League Darts night 15 results


Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Gerwyn Price

Luke Littler 6-1 Peter Wright

Luke Humphries 6-1 Rob Cross

Nathan Aspinall 3-6 Michael Smith


Van Gerwen 6-1 Littler

Humphries 6-1 Smith


Van Gerwen 5-6 Humphries

Premier League Darts table

Premier League Darts table: Luke Littler 38, Luke Humphries 33, Michael van Gerwen 27, Nathan Aspinall 25, Michael Smith 24, Rob Cross 17, Gerwyn Price 12, Peter Wright 4
[BBC Sport]

Premier League Darts format and points system

Premier League Darts is played across 16 initial weeks in the league stage with quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final each night.

Each of the eight players is guaranteed to face the other seven in the quarter-finals in weeks 1-7 and 9-15, with weeks 8 and 16's fixtures done off the table. It means we will get fourth v fifth in Sheffield on the final league-stage night, with the play-off spots potentially on the line.

Players earn two points per quarter-final win, an additional point if they win their semi-final and five for winning the night.

The top four players after the group stage progress to the play-off night at London's O2 Arena on 23 May, with first facing fourth and second against third in a best-of-19-leg match. The final, which is the best of 21 legs, follows.

If players are level on points after the 16 weeks then places are decided by nights won and then matches won.

Premier League Darts night 16 order of play

16 May in Sheffield


Luke Littler v Peter Wright

Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith

Luke Humphries v Gerwyn Price

Michael van Gerwen v Rob Cross

Exact order of games to be confirmed