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WORLD SERIES 2024: Bahrain Masters 2024

WORLD SERIES 2024: Bahrain Masters 2024

Matthew Miller |

The dust has settled from the PDC’s World Darts Championship and that meant it was time for the darts circuit to go back on tour. This year that began with the return of the PDC’s invitational tournament the World Series. This year the World Series began in Bahrain with the second addition of the Bahrain Masters being staged at the Bahrain International Circuit.


The line-up for the event consisted of sixteen players, eight of the PDC’s top players and eight regional representatives, the regional representatives consisted of eight players from Asia who were invited by the PDC to take part in the tournament and two players from Bahrain who won a qualifier to participate in the World Series.


The main media attention around the tournament was mainly focused on Luke Littler, the talented sixteen-year-old who made a breakthrough reaching the final of the World Darts Championships due to this amazing run the eyes of the world were watching with anticipation for how he would do in his first tournament in his first full season on the professional tour.


Apart from Luke Littler the line-up for the event consisted of new world champion Luke Humphries as well as a host of former world champions in Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Rob Cross they were joined by former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall to complete the PDC’s eight stars selected for the event. The Asian players invited to participate in the event were the Philippine’s Lourence Ilagan, Paolo Nebrida and Reynaldo Rivera who were joined by Man Lok Leung from Hong Kong and Japan’s’ Haruki Muramatsu and Tomoya Goto to complete the invited players. The final duo came through a qualifying event in Bahrain, and they were Abdulla Saeed and Hasan Haji.


 First Round

In the first round the eight PDC stars who were invited to the tournament took on one of the eight regional representatives in a best of eleven (first to six) game.

The tournament kicked off with Peter Wright taking on Haruki Muramatsu and straight off it looked like the tournament could be heading for an upset, as Muramatsu took out a 170 finish to go 2-2 with Wright before breaking the Wright through to lead the game 3-2. Peter Wright fought back however, and eventually led the game 5-4. Muramatsu then won the tenth leg in 17 darts to send the tie to a last-leg decider which Wright won taking the game 6-5 in a below par display.

Gerwyn Price then prevailed over Reynaldo Rivera by a score of 6-4, in what was another game that fell below expectations with price averaging just 92 in his victory and missing fifteen darts a double throughout the match.

The closest we came to another potential upset followed as Nathan Aspinall took on Lourence Ilagan, despite the Filipino averaging thirteen points less than his English opponent he battled his way to a tied game at 5-5 however, Nathan Aspinall cleaned up the decider in 12 darts and moved through to the Quarterfinals.

Rob Cross took on Tomoya Gota, who hit three 180s on his way to losing the game. While at times it looked as though Cross was being outscored, he was more clinical with this finishing taking out 112 on his way to winning this game 6-3.

Then came the talk of the town in his first game as an official PDC Tour Card Holder Luke Littler took on Hong Kong’s Man Lok Leung. While the main conversation was all about the young talent fresh off his run to the World Championships final, it was Leung who took an early advantage and led the game 2-0, but Littler fought back and before long the sixteen year old was leading the game 5-2. Leung won the next leg, but it turned out to be little more than a consolation prize as Luke Littler closed out the game 6-3 and went through to the quarterfinals.

Luke Littler’s match was followed by two quick whitewash victories as newly crowned world champion Luke Humphries averaged 98 in his quick 6-0 victory over local qualifier Abdullah Saeed, before Michael van Gerwen laid down his marker defeating the other local qualifier, Hasan Haji, 6-0 and posting the highest average of the round with 106.

The final game of the first round was contested between Michael Smith and Paola Nebrida, the first six legs of the contest went with through finding the game tied at three legs all before Michael Smith got the first break in the game to lead 4-3, however, Nebrida quickly broke back and held to go within one of the game but Michael Smith held his throw and then found a clinical break of throw to win the game 6-5.

In this round, while there was some close calls ultimately all the top seeds won their games and the eight players who are set to compete these years Premier League, all found themselves in the quarterfinals of the opening round of the World Series.



The quarterfinals were contested between the eight players that progressed from the opening round.

In the opening game of the quarterfinals, Luke Humphries took on Gerwyn Price and it was this game when we got the first real upset of the tournament. At this point Luke Humphries was the newly crowned World Champion and has been undefeated in TV tournaments since November. Following his victory earlier this month he was also the highest ranked player in the world and came into this tournament as the favourite. However, it didn’t go to plan for the new World Champ as Price took an early break in the third leg and led the game 2-1. Humphries managed to break back and take the lead again at 3-2 however, Price took out a 104 finish to move back into the lead from there he never fell behind again and won the game 6-4.

The second game of the session was between Michael Smith and Peter Wright in this game Smith won the opening two legs before Wright won the third leg, this turned out to be his only leg of the game as Michael Smith ran home to an easy 6-1 victory in a game that finished with Peter Wright having only hit 14% of his doubles.

The game that would turn out to become quite memorable then kicked off between Nathan Aspinall and Luke Littler, with the question marks that surrounded how the young player would cope with the newfound media pressure he put any doubts about it to bed as early as he could in the very first leg by hitting a nine-dart finish. Aspinall continued to fight and brought the game level at 2-2 but Littler proved very hard to contain and went on to win the game 6-3.

Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross finished the Quarterfinal lineup and once again Michael van Gerwen laid down his marker by throwing the highest average of the round albeit just 1.5 points higher than Littler had done a game earlier. He threw three 180s and took out a 150 finish on his way to beating Rob Cross 6-4 and moving into the semi-finals.


In the semi-finals the matches were extended to a best of thirteen or first to seven game and in the first match of the semi-finals we saw Gerwyn Price take on Luke Littler. Littler managed to continue his incredible run with a 7-3 victory over former world champion Gerwyn Price. In the game Littler hit 70% of his doubles and threw two 180s as he powered past Price to book his spot in a second consecutive tv final.

The other semi-final was a closer affair between Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith, in the game van Gerwen continued his form from the tournament and threw his third successive 100+ average but a struggle on the finishing that saw him miss eighteen darts at a double allowed his opponent a path into the game and after van Gerwen missed several match darts in the twelfth leg Smith took out a 40 finish to send the game to a deciding leg but Michael van Gerwen was able to remain calm and clinical taking out 110 to book his place in the final.


The final was contested then by Luke Littler and Michael van Gerwen, both up to this point had been the best players statistically in the event so there was little arguing that they deserved to be there. However, in the final Luke Littler managed to be the most consistent as van Gerwen saw his average collapse to just 87 that allowed the newcomer to win the 8-5 and to claim his first senior PDC title.


Luke Littler came into this tournament with very little to prove off the back of an amazing performance at the Worlds’ and it did look to many like it may be a challenge to cope with the ongoing media attention he was getting, including some negative run-ins he had seen on social media during the World Championship run. To add to the lower expectation by his own admission he had not thrown any darts since the world championship final but across the weekend he managed to be the most consistent and marched to his first senior PDC title. While the event will have no impact on his ranking as it is an invitational event, he laid down his marker and told the entire darts world that the World Championship wasn’t a one-off event he showed that he is ready to tussle with the greats of the game week-in week-out.

There is another World Series event coming up soon and it will see the same eight players invited by the PDC yet again, however, a new host of players from the Benelux region will join them including PDC major winners Danny Noppert and Dimitri van den Bergh as well as legend of the game Raymond van Barneveld. After that all attention briefly turns to the premier league before the first ranking tournaments of the year get underway in February.

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