BETMGM PREMIER LEAGUE NIGHT SEVEN PREVIEW

Luke Humphries and Michael Smith will lock horns in a repeat of the Brighton final on Night Seven of the BetMGM Premier League in Nottingham, as Michael van Gerwen and Luke Littler also go head-to-head at the Motorpoint Arena.

Night Seven of the £1m tournament will see the quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final played over the best of 11 legs on Thursday, with ranking points awarded each night to form the league table from which the top four players will progress to May’s Play-Offs.

World Champion Humphries is targeting back-to-back nightly wins following his Night Six triumph in Brighton last Thursday, averaging 106 across his three matches on the South Coast to catapult himself up to second in the table.

The world number one produced the highest televised average of his career in his semi-final success against Rob Cross, averaging 113.71 before securing a five-point haul with a 6-3 victory over Smith.

Humphries will now renew his rivalry with Smith in the East Midlands, after the 2023 World Champion snapped his three-game losing streak with wins over Peter Wright and Littler in Brighton.

“My target this season is just to be in the top four, whether that’s first or fourth,” insisted Humphries, who boasts a tournament average in excess of 102.

“There are eight fantastic players in this tournament, but I really want to make Finals Night; that would be a massive achievement for me.

“If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. It’s my first year in the Premier League and it’s all about experience and learning, but I’m loving every minute of it.

“To be involved in the Premier League is a privilege. I don’t feel like a debutant. I feel like I’ve been doing this for about five years.”

Elsewhere, fresh from his sensational European Tour success in Belgium on Sunday, Littler will return to action against league leader Van Gerwen on Night Seven.

Van Gerwen has won both of their meetings in this year’s Premier League, although following a run of three straight nightly wins the Dutchman has suffered back-to-back quarter-final exits in Exeter and Brighton.

Littler, meanwhile, continued his meteoric rise with Blåkläder Belgian Darts Open glory last weekend, landing a nine-darter on his way to an epic 8-7 victory over Rob Cross in the final.

The 17-year-old has also enjoyed a strong start to the Premier League, and occupies third spot ahead of his trip to Nottingham, having won five of his opening six quarter-final encounters.

“I’m really enjoying the Premier League,” admitted Littler, a winner of three PDC titles in 2024.

“It’s all about winning that first game and getting two points on the board, but hopefully I can win a night soon!

“Ever since I’ve burst on to the scene, every player wants to beat me, so I’ve got to play my A-game.

“I know the spotlight is on me at the minute, but that’s because I’ve done so well, so I will just play my darts and do what I do.”

Thursday’s action will also see Cross and Nathan Aspinall collide in a repeat of the Night Five decider, where Aspinall ran out a convincing 6-2 winner.

The World Matchplay champion has won both meetings against Cross in this year’s Premier League, although the 2018 World Champion leapfrogged him in the table with a semi-final showing in Brighton.

Cross continued his fine form in the year’s opening European Tour event in Wieze, succumbing to an inspired Littler despite averaging 108 in an astonishing final.

“I’ve got so many positives to take from the weekend, but winning is everything,” declared Cross, a Premier League runner-up in 2019.

“When you’re playing well, you need to use it to your advantage, and that’s what Luke [Littler] does. Fair play to him, he is special!

“My game is in a good place, and now I’m looking forward to rebuilding ahead of this week. I will lick my wounds and hopefully I will get my revenge on Thursday!”

Nottingham’s other quarter-final clash will feature a showdown between the league’s bottom two, as Wright takes on 2023 runner-up Gerwyn Price.

Night One finalist Price is bidding to halt his three-match losing run when he takes to the Motorpoint Arena stage, while Wright has yet to open his Premier League account following a run of six consecutive defeats.

The 2024 BetMGM Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2024 BetMGM Premier League

Night Seven

Thursday March 14, Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham

Quarter-Finals

Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price

Luke Humphries v Michael Smith

Michael van Gerwen v Luke Littler

Rob Cross v Nathan Aspinall

Semi-Finals

Wright/Price v Humphries/Smith

Van Gerwen/Littler v Cross/Aspinall

Final

Wright/Price/Humphries/Smith v Van Gerwen/Littler/Cross/Aspinall

Photo credit PDC

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