This Week In Darts – 2nd Of March 2024


Barry Hearn’s Sudden Departure: The End Of An Era In Darts

Retired former PDC Chairman and founding member Barry Hearn is struggling with retirement.

I’m trying to retire, but I am not very good at it,” Hearn told Online Darts over the summer during the US Darts Masters in New York City. “The thing is, you miss so much of the fun by not being involved.”

I am sure they don’t need me, you know,” he continued. “I’m 50 years a sport promoter, you can’t give it up just like that. It’s in your blood.”

Hearn was, until April 2021, the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation. Barry’s son Eddie Hearan now serves as the chairman of the PDC in his place.

Prior to getting involved with darts, Barry worked within a number of different professional arenas ranging from Football to Snooker. In 1987, he moved into boxing and promoted a number of leading British and Irish boxers including Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Lennox Lewis.

In 2021, Hearn was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to sport. It was also the same year he found himself inducted into the Professional Darts Corporation Hall Of Fame.


Van Gerwen’s Lead Narrows After Exeter Shakeup

Michael van Gerwen saw his lead in the Premier League Darts 2024 standings slightly shrink this week following a defeat at the hands of Luke Humphries in Exeter.

In a repeat of the final from Night Three, it was a slow start for both players. Eventually, Humphries was able to pull away with the first break of throw of the match in 11 darts to lead 3-1.

Cool Hand’ couldn’t take advantage however, as van Gerwen broke back instantly and pounced on three clear missed darts at D14 from his opponent to level proceedings. Fortunately, Humphries was able to recompose himself and hold, before taking out a classy 82 to close within one of victory.

The final leg was won in five visits, officially ending van Gerwen’s unbeaten streak of nine in the quarter finals and sending Humphries through to the semi finals.


Humphries’ Grand Slam Glory

Luke Humphries clinched his second major title with a win at the Mr. Vegas Grand Slam Of Darts this past Fall, displaying a stunning level of skill and resilience.

Cool Hand’ won his first PDC Premier Ranking Title back in October at the World Grand Prix, claiming the Eric Bristow trophy as Grand Slam champ to cap off a strong week at WV Active Aldersley.

Humphries produced another unstoppable display to claim the top prize, defying an early 170 checkout from Rob Cross and an eventual 16-8 triumph.

To pick up two TV titles is fantastic,” Humphries said. “It feels just as good – obviously nothing can ever beat the first one, but the second one does feel as good especially the way I’ve played again there.”

It was a long, gruelling slog, but I think we put on a good show,” he continued. “It was a really tough game, but I think we both played really well.”

The Hastings ace levelled slightly in leg four, but Humphries than pulled clear in a relentless five-leg burst – punishing three misses from Cross in leg six and landing a 144 checkout to move 7-2 up.

Cross would fire in his fifth leg of the game with an 11-darter, and though Humphries’ charge continued with double 18 for a 13-darter, double 8 and an 11 dart break of throw kept the 2018 World Champion in the hunt at 14-7. Eventually, another 12-darter moved Humphries to the brink of the title, who sealed a stunning Grand Slam success with a 91 checkout.

The best man won on the night,” Cross said. “No doubt about it – he was fantastic.”

Before squaring off with Cross, Luke Humphries ground down three-time Grand Slam finalist James Wade with a 16-10 semi final win. Cross, by comparison, made it through to his first Grand Slam final following a hard fought 16-13 win against a tenacious Bunting.

I’m glad that double three got me over the line because it was getting twitchy,” Cross admits.

The event was held from December 15th, 2023 until January 3rd, 2024. A total of 96 players took part in the contest at Alexandra Palace, each competing for the Sid Waddell trophy and a £2.5m pot.


Aspinall’s Exeter Excellence

Luke Humphries’ semi final push isn’t the only story to come out of Exeter this week.

In the second quarter final match, Nathan Aspinall defeated Peter Wright to earn the right to face ‘Cool Hand’ in the semi finals. Although things started out slowly, Wright found the first ton-plus finish of the evening, breaking through with an impressive 156 to go into a two leg lead.

Aspinall got the throw back instantly with an 11-darter, checking out 82 in two. Things were level once more for the next six legs until the World Matchplay champ kicked into high gear, nailing the bullseye to finish 86. Now averaging over 100 at this point, Aspinall made it three legs in a row before Wright missed seven darts, forcing Aspinall to mop things up at 74.

The Stockport ace then had to survive a dart which would have forced a decider, but a 14-darter was more than enough to see him through to the semi finals.