Luke Humphries has struggled since winning the PDC World Darts Championship earlier this year, and his poor run of form is showing no signs of concluding. ‘Cool Hand Luke’ was beaten by Dutch youngster Jurjen van der Velde on Tuesday afternoon, prompting the world No. 1 to respond furiously.
With the score at 5-5 in the best of 11 legs clash at the Players Championship in Wigan, Van der Velde left himself with 40 to win the game. In contrast, Humphries bizarrely left himself with a 172 as he despondently trudged away from the board.
Dutch prospect Van der Velde failed to capitalise though, missing D20, D10 and D5 to leave himself with just 10 and the game at his mercy. Humphries, appearing drained of motivation, managed to respond and left 47, but it was too little too late for the 29-year-old as his opponent hit a five, one and eventually a double two.
Humphries then shared an incredibly brief handshake with Van der Velde before walking back to the table to collect his belongings, furiously snapping his darts whilst en route in a sign that he is starting to feel the heat as world champion.
The Players Championship has been one to forget for Humphries, having been whitewashed in the second round of the competition by veteran Ian White on Monday afternoon. He could only muster an average of 81.37, leaving the door open for the world No. 64 to capitalise in emphatic fashion.
Humphries was criticised by some supporters on social media following his defeat to White, prompting the Newbury-born star to hit back and remind his fans that the season is only just beginning and there will be plenty more opportunities for him to show himself in the best light.
He wrote: “The season’s only just started! I’m not going to win everything! you go through moments off playing well and bad. Worst game I’ve played this year.. they happen. I think because I’m world champion every little thing you do get criticised that’s the difference.
“The calendar is a LONG season.. judge me at the end of the year not now. I started off last year the same way and look what happened in the end..” It remains to be seen whether Humphries can bounce back to form in the Premier League later this week or if his struggles will continue.