Luke Humphries Goes The Distance With Vincent Van Der Voort In A Thriller

All the action from Ally Pally
23:11, 29 Dec 2022

“Cool Hand” Luke Humphries needed all seven sets to finally see off the resurgent Vincent van der Voort in a thrilling third round tie at the PDC World Championship. The world number five had everything his own way for the opening two sets at Alexandra Palace, before having to fight off a stupendous comeback from his Dutch opponent.

The pair exchanged 100s with their first two visits before Humphires broke the Van der Voort throw. ‘The Dutch Destroyer’ looked out of sorts early on. In the second set, he missed three darts at double ten before sinking it and generally lacked the composure of his highly-ranked opponent.

Van der Voort began to wake up in the third set. An 11-darter to take the first leg and a 140 in the second saw his touch returning. Humphries was still a threat, getting a 180 on the board. But the ‘Destroyer’ averaged 105 on the way to pulling one back.

The fourth stanza was mistake laden, but Van der Voort thrived in the disorder while ‘Cool Hand’ floundered. The Dutchman missed a bull to level the match. Humphries missed double top to extend his lead. Eventually Van der Voort held his nerve and pinned double eight to draw it level at 2-2.

The pair parked their uncertainty in the fifth with duelling 140s to open proceedings. Another 140 followed by a 180 in the second leg put Van der Voort in the driving seat. A double ten, something of a pet double over the course of the night, saw Humprhies stave off his opponent’s success to go 3-2 up.

The drama was palpable as the battling world number 28 fought to reach a deciding set. A 180 in leg five helped and back-to-back 13-dart finishes meant this one was going the distance. Something seemed to click in Humphries at this point. He opened the deciding set with a 180 on the way to breaking Van der Voort. He’d add another two over the course of the last three legs to storm the set 3-0 and book his place in the last 16. Stephen Bunting will await him in the next round.

World number one Gerwyn Price didn’t have the easiest night, despite the 4-1 scoreline against Jose De Sousa. ‘The Special One’ offered moments of magic, including a procession of 180s as Price started slowly.

The 2021 champion took the first two sets 3-1 and 3-2, but his play stuttered. The Welshman dropped darts and went through periods of poor scoring. But whenever he needed a flourish, like a 180 in a drab third set or back-to-back maximums in the fourth, he found it.

De Sousa showed signs of life when taking the third set 3-1 but Price didn’t waver from then on. He pinned tops to take the fourth and double ten to take the fifth and final set on the night. Price became the first quarter-finalist at this year’s championships. 

Josh Rock might have lost 4-3 to Jonny Clayton in the evening’s final match, but he emerged with his status enhanced. The world number 47 did not look like he sat 40 places behind Clayton in the Order of Merit based on this performance.

Rock is just 21-year-old but on many occasions he looked like launching the sort of underdog volley made famous by his ‘Rocky’ namesake. The youngster was devastating in the first set, shells-hocking Clayton 3-0.

A strong start to the second set made it look like a changing of the guard, but Clayton racked up three consecutive legs to take the set 3-1. A spectacular 104 checkout with a bull finish saw him take the third too.

But Rock wasn’t done playing his part and he took advantage of some nervy moments for ‘The Ferret’. Clayton had set darts in the fourth and fifth stanzas but each time he missed and each time Rock stole it out from under him.

Clayton’s greater experience told in the end though and he pinned double 16 to bring this fine outing to a close. It has been an incredible debut championships for Rock though. This young man will be back on this stage.

Afternoon Session Results

Dirk van Duijvenbode 4-3 Ross Smith

Rob Cross 4-1 Mervyn King

Dave Chisnall 2-4 Stephen Bunting

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*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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