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Premier League Darts 2024 | Night 16 Sheffield Preview and Order of Play

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Michael Smith seals Premier League Darts play-off spot with Sheffield success

Jamie Shaw in Premier League Darts 16 May 2024
Smith seals Sheffield success (Photo by Simon O’Connor/PDC)

Michael Smith secured his place in the Premier League Darts play-offs after claiming his second weekly title of the season in Sheffield.

The final night of league fixtures saw Smith head to the Utilita Arena facing a straight shoot-out with Nathan Aspinall for the last remaining play-off spot.

The St Helens star produced a devastating display of finishing to deny Aspinall in their decisive quarter-final, firing in crucial checkouts of 136 and 132 in the closing stages of a 6-3 victory.

Smith then booked his place in the Night 16 final with a deciding-leg victory over Luke Littler, recovering from 4-1 down to record his fifth win over the 17-year-old in their seven Premier League matches so far.

The 2023 World Champion also fought back from 3-1 down by reeling off five consecutive legs to see off a below-par Luke Humphries in the final.

Humphries fired in a stunning 170 checkout in leg four to establish an early lead, but Smith replied with a superb 140 checkout, before registering legs of 12, 14, 13 and 14 darts to prevail with a ton-plus average.

“To qualify and end the season with a win, it feels great,” said Smith, who will face Littler in the semi-finals at The O2 in London next Thursday.

“I was literally drained after beating Nathan. I was really emotional because he’s one of my best friends, but I had a job to do tonight.

“I know I won the first week but to sign off with another one, I’m going into The O2 with a little bit of confidence.

“I’m really looking forward to next week. I know I’ve got a good record against Luke, but it doesn’t matter now.

“This is a different atmosphere, and it feels like a different tournament almost. You have to bring your best game, and hopefully I can bring some good form into next week.”

Humphries fell short in his bid for back-to-back weekly titles as he aimed to become the first player to record five weekly titles in a season since the current format was introduced in 2022.

The 29-year-old defied a laboured start to defeat Gerwyn Price 6-4 in the quarter-finals, winning five of the last six legs to set up a showdown against Van Gerwen.

The world number one then put in a majestic display to defeat the Dutchman once again, averaging 104 and pinning six of his eight attempts at doubles in the process.

Earlier in the night, Van Gerwen had cemented third spot with a fine comeback win over Rob Cross, overturning a 4-1 deficit with a run of five straight legs to prevail with a 105 average.

In the evening’s opening quarter-final, Littler guaranteed top spot with a battling 6-4 win over Peter Wright, conjuring up an outrageous 120 checkout with three double tops on his way to victory.

Littler joins Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Glen Durrant in topping the league phase on debut, and his 40-point haul matched Jonny Clayton’s tally from the 2022 season.

Premier League Darts 2024 Night 16 Results

Thursday May 16

Luke Littler 6-4 Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall 3-6 Michael Smith
Luke Humphries 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Rob Cross

Luke Littler 5-6 Michael Smith
Luke Humphries 6-3 Michael van Gerwen

Michael Smith 6-3 Luke Humphries

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