RESURGENT ASPINALL RELISHING LITTLER CLASH ON NIGHT SIX IN BRIGHTON

The 2024 BetMGM Premier League roadshow visits the South Coast on Thursday, as The Brighton Centre plays host to a bumper night of action.

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

Nathan Aspinall claimed the Night Five spoils in Exeter last Thursday, and the World Matchplay champion will begin his bid for back-to-back nightly wins with a blockbuster clash against Luke Littler.

Aspinall has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround after losing his opening three quarter-final ties, catapulting himself into the top four with eight points from a possible ten during the last fortnight.

However, the Stockport star faces a tough test against second-placed Littler, who landed a stunning nine-darter in the opening leg of their only previous televised meeting in January’s Bahrain Darts Masters.

“I’ve dug deep over the last two weeks,” reflected Aspinall, who has made the Play-Offs in two of his three previous Premier League appearances.

“I was really down after Night Three, but everyone knows I’m a fighter, and I was over the moon to win last week.

“I have been fighting with demons in my own head, but I love this game, and I love the opportunity I’ve been given.

“I’m in a good place now. I’ve got that smile back on my face, I’m full of confidence, and when I’m confident, you have to play well to beat me!”

World number one Luke Humphries will also return to action in Brighton, after coming agonisingly close to celebrating UK Open glory in Minehead on Sunday.

The World Champion missed two darts at double for the title in a gripping finale against Dimitri Van den Bergh, which ended his astonishing 24-match winning run in TV ranking events.

Humphries will open Night Six against 2023 runner-up Gerwyn Price in a repeat of October’s World Grand Prix decider, and the 29-year-old is determined to take the positives from his weekend in Minehead.

“I was obviously gutted to lose against Dimitri, but I’m really proud of the way I played at the weekend,” insisted Humphries, who finds himself sixth in the Premier League table.

“A couple of weeks ago people were saying I’d fallen off, but I think I proved again that I’m one of the best players in the world.

“It’s all about learning. I’m new to this stardom in life, being the World Champion and world number one, but I’ll keep working hard and hopefully it pays off in results.

“I’ve worked incredibly hard to put myself in this position, so I’m not going to throw it all away by putting too much pressure on myself.”

Elsewhere, Night One winner Michael Smith will aim to halt his three-match losing streak when he faces Peter Wright, who is without a win in this year’s competition heading into Night Six.

World number three Smith occupied top spot following Night Two, but consecutive quarter-final defeats to Rob Cross, Aspinall and Littler have seen the St Helens star slip to fifth in the table.

“The last few weeks I just haven’t been at the races,” conceded Smith, who is determined to return to winning ways in Brighton.

“I’ve been missing doubles and starting games slowly, but it’s a marathon not a sprint, so there’s still a long way to go and plenty more points to play for.

“My game is coming back. It’s not 100% where I want it to be, but it’s not far off from being where it should be.

“I’ve not won for three weeks, Peter’s not won at all yet, so it’s a game we’ll both be relishing, but I feel I have to get the win tomorrow to kick-start my Premier League.”

In the evening’s other quarter-final clash, league leader Michael van Gerwen will play Night Five runner-up Cross for a place in the last four.

Reigning champion Van Gerwen still boasts a six-point lead at the summit, despite seeing his nine-match winning run halted by Humphries in last week’s quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Cross moved level on points with Littler after his Exeter exploits, averaging almost 110 in his quarter-final demolition of Price, before overcoming the teenager in the semi-finals.

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 Six – The Brighton Centre

Thursday March 7

Quarter-Finals

Luke Humphries v Gerwyn Price

Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen

Nathan Aspinall v Luke Littler

Michael Smith v Peter Wright

Semi-Finals

Humphries/Price v Cross/Van Gerwen

Aspinall/Littler v Smith/Wright

Final

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

 PointsNights WonMatches Won+/-Legs WonLWAT
Michael van Gerwen1539+126222
Luke Littler905+45316
Rob Cross905+14711
Nathan Aspinall815+14518
Michael Smith714-14013
Luke Humphries704+34617
Gerwyn Price503-83312
Peter Wright000-12187

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