PDC world champion Luke Humphries ended up on the wrong side of the rules as well as the result as he was knocked out of the 2024 Masters by Stephen Bunting on Saturday. ‘Cool hand Luke’ continues to struggle after tasting glory at Ally Pally, beaten 10-7 by his English compatriot in what was a third successive competitive defeat.
But afterwards, Humphries was left lamenting his application of the rules as well as the defeat. The 28-year-old was still in the match at 9-7 down when he had a dart cancelled by the match referee, with the official’s call later fully vindicated by television replays.
Humphries needed to take out 56 to keep the match alive at the Marshall Arena, but an erratic second dart scuppered his hopes. As he made his way to the oche, he then casually threw a third dart which landed in double 17.
The man in charge of proceedings, Charlie Corstorphine, immediately took action though. By the rules, a player is not allowed to throw at the board after starting to walk towards the oche, and the third dart was rightfully called ineligible and cancelled from the scoring.
Darts fans were quick to praise Corstorphine, with @anonymous_darts writing on social media: “The thing that stood out for me from that game wasn’t the crowd or the bunting win, it was the great call from the referee to disallow a dart. Not something you see often.”
@JoeS0ap said: “Fair play to the ref: Humphries never challenged.” @g_munnerz added: “Charlie has called one of my youth games years ago and is a great referee!”
Bunting will now take on Peter Wright in the quarter finals on Sunday. But for Humphries, the miserable run of form continues after only winning the sport’s most elite tournament a month ago.
He was knocked out in the second round of both the Bahrain Masters and Dutch Masters, before his Premier League campaign got off to a bad start in Cardiff on Thursday night. He was heckled by the crowd when being beaten 6-2 first up by Luke Littler, the second time he’s lost to the teenager since his World Championship final win over him.
And his latest showing in Milton Keynes is likely to send him back to the drawing board ahead of the next stage of the Premier League. He faces Wright in Berlin on Thursday, with both players looking for their first points of the campaign.