A Week In Darts – November 20, 2023 – Humphries Wins Second Major At The Grand Slam
The Grand Slam of Darts reached its conclusion on Sunday night as Luke Humphries doubled his major tally and lifted the Eric Bristow Trophy. Meanwhile, history was made over in Germany as Thibault Tricole became the first French player to qualify for the PDC World Championship. Our latest ‘A Week In Darts’ recaps the last seven days in the world of darts…
HUMPHRIES RACES TO GRAND SLAM TITLE
Luke Humphries won his second major title in as many months with a brilliant Grand Slam of Darts triumph in Wolverhampton on Sunday night.
‘Cool Hand’ opened his major account in the PDC by winning the World Grand Prix in October, and doubled his tally as he claimed the Eric Bristow Trophy at the WV Active Aldersley.
The world number four saw off Rob Cross 16-8 in Sunday’s final, in a clash which saw runner-up Cross average 103.61 – the highest average by a losing finalist in Grand Slam history.
But the former world champion was powerless to stop a ruthless Humphries, who averaged 104.69, hit eight 180s and finished up with a 59 per cent strike rate on the doubles.
LUKE HUMPHRIES HAS DONE IT AGAIN 🏆🏆— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) November 19, 2023
It's a second major TV title for Luke Humphries in just 42 days as he devastates Rob Cross with one of the very best final displays to win the Grand Slam!
16-8 scoreline, 104.69 average and 59.6% on the doubles.
Simply breathtaking 🙌 pic.twitter.com/LdSKrpzYwX
“To pick up two TV titles is fantastic – I don’t believe it,” Humphries said. “To pick up another major title after winning my first one not so long ago is a dream come true.
“It’s something I didn’t imagine so I’m really proud. 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.
“This week I’ve beaten some great, great players who I’ve looked up to over the years – Gary, James and Rob. I’m very blessed and happy to be a two-time major champion.”
The victory last night made Humphries the 18th player in PDC history to win two major singles titles, but in the shortest time between the first and second successes.
Luke Humphries lifts the Eric Bristow trophy for the first time in his career...— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) November 19, 2023
He is a two-time major winner, and does it in style 👏 pic.twitter.com/IigOHiu9vv
The 42-day gap between his World Grand Prix and Grand Slam triumphs was two days shorter than the 44 days between Michael Smith’s Grand Slam and World Championship wins last season.
Following Michael van Gerwen’s defeat to Damon Heta in the last 16, a new winner of the Grand Slam was guaranteed heading into the quarter-finals in Wolverhampton.
An epic first night of quarter-final action on Friday saw James Wade edge past Josh Rock 16-15 and Humphries get the better of Gary Anderson 16-14. Saturday’s play saw comfortable wins for Stephen Bunting and Cross, with Bunting ending American debutant Stowe Buntz’s run with a 16-8 victory to reach the final four.
The semi-finals on Sunday afternoon saw Humphries defeat Wade 16-10 to advance to his third major final, whilst Cross defied a late fightback from Bunting to win 16-13.
Shop our Grand Slam of Darts player collection for your favourite player’s darts and accessories!
TRICOLE MAKES HISTORY FOR FRANCE
Thibault Tricole will become the first French player to compete at the PDC World Championship after winning the West Europe Qualifier in Germany on Saturday.
The 34-year-old battled through a field of 97 players in Kalkar to seal a debut at Alexandra Palace in December, beating World Masters champion Wesley Plaisier 7-4 in the final.
🇫🇷 𝗔 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗵 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽! 😍🎉— PDC Europe (@PDCEurope) November 18, 2023
Thibault Tricole wins the West Europe Qualifier and is the first French player ever to compete at the PDC World Championship! 👏🏽🌍
Another milestone for the international growth of darts. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/WCsxpzyS21
Tricole had made history last year with a run to the final of the WDF World Championship, losing out in a deciding set to Northern Ireland’s Neil Duff, and had qualified for Lakeside again this year.
However, the Frenchman has given up his spot at Lakeside next week and opted to make his debut in the PDC World Championship instead. Tricole’s spot in the WDF World Championship has been taken by England’s John Scott, who is the next highest ranked player.
AROUND THE BOARD
The schedule of play has been confirmed for the Players Championship Finals this weekend – the last major event before the World Championship.
The three-day £600,000 tournament at Butlin’s Minehead features the top 64 players on the Players Championship Order of Merit, and starts on Friday afternoon.
Defending champion Michael van Gerwen starts his bid for a record-extending eighth title against Callan Rydz on Friday night, whilst newly-crowned Grand Slam champion Luke Humphries faces Martin Lukeman in the first round.
The evening session also features world number one Michael Smith against Richard Veenstra, with the afternoon session seeing the likes of Ross Smith, Damon Heta, James Wade and Josh Rock all in action.