Sensational Luke Humphries scooped his second televised title in as many months with a brilliant Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts triumph in Wolverhampton on Sunday, powering past Rob Cross 16-8 in the final.
Humphries had won his maiden PDC Premier ranking title at October’s World Grand Prix, and claimed the Eric Bristow Trophy as Grand Slam champion to crown a wonderful week at WV Active Aldersley.
The 28-year-old had raced through the Group Stage with three wins for the loss of just four legs, before defeating Ryan Searle and Gary Anderson with huge ton-plus averages to reach the semi-finals.
He began Sunday’s decisive final day in Wolverhampton by defeating James Wade 16-10 in the last four, prevailing despite 36 missed darts at a double as he overturned an early 5-3 deficit.
Humphries then dominated the final against Cross, who was a 16-13 semi-final winner against Stephen Bunting to reach the Grand Slam decider for the first time.
However, Humphries produced another unstoppable display to claim the £150,000 top prize – plus a £3,500 group winner bonus – defying an early 170 checkout from Cross to pull away for a glorious triumph.
“To pick up two TV titles is fantastic – I don’t believe it,” smiled Humphries, who averaged 104.69, landed eight 180s and finished almost 60% of his darts at a double.
“To pick up another major title after winning my first one not so long ago is a dream come true. It’s something I didn’t imagine so I’m really proud.
“It feels just as good – obviously nothing can ever beat the first one but the second one does feel as good, especially the way I’ve played again there.
“It was a long, gruelling slog today but I think we put on a good show. It was a really tough game but I think we both played really well.
“I had to rely on that European Tour experience that I’ve had over the last couple of years where I seem to play my best stuff in semi-finals and finals.
“It was a contrast from the semi-final to the final, I played much, much better and I played pretty much how I did throughout the tournament.
“Rob was absolutely fantastic, he didn’t give me a leg and I had to work for every leg. He’s another great of our generation, a World Champion and I respect him a lot.
“This week I’ve beaten some great, great players who I’ve looked up to over the years – Gary, James and Rob. I’m very blessed and happy to be a two-time major champion.”
Humphries took the final’s opening two legs as he followed a 14-darter with a 12-dart leg, only for Cross to fire in a tremendous 170 checkout to get himself off the mark.
The Hastings ace levelled in leg four, but Humphries then pulled clear in a relentless five-leg burst – punishing three misses from Cross in leg six and landing a 144 checkout to move 7-2 up.
Two missed doubles in leg ten allowed Cross to respond, but Humphries followed legs of 14 and 13 darts with double ten to open up a 10-3 cushion.
A 90 finish for another 12-darter from Cross was bettered by an 11-dart leg as Humphries restored a seven-leg gap, before he followed up a 104 checkout with a 13-dart leg to move three legs away from glory.
Cross fired in his fifth leg of the game with an 11-darter, and though Humphries’ charge continued with double 18 for a 13-darter, double eight and an 11-dart break of throw kept the 2018 World Champion in the hunt at 14-7.
Another 12-darter moved Humphries to the brink of the title, and though Cross punished a missed bullseye with double nine, the reprieve was only temporary as a 91 checkout sealed a stunning Grand Slam success.
“The best man won on the night, no doubt about it – he was fantastic,” said Cross, who claimed £70,000 as runner-up before setting his sights on next weekend’s Cazoo Players Championship Finals.
“I gave it my best but I lost to the better man – he played great. The crowds have been amazing and so respectful, and I’ve really enjoyed going up there and trying to produce my best stuff in front of them.
“Sometimes you don’t always get what you want in life, and sometimes you have to take it on the chin. It’s a little bit hurtful to lose but he was excellent tonight.
“I’ve had a good week and I’ll come back. I’m playing great at the minute and I’m in a really good place. I’ll regroup and go into next week with the ambitions to win that.”
Cross had followed up his 16-6 quarter-final demolition of Damon Heta with a semi-final success against Bunting, pulling clear from seven-all to win nine of the final 15 legs.
He also averaged over 103 for the second time in the final, but was denied the title by Humphries’ majestic display.
2023 Mr Vegas Grand Slam of Darts
Sunday November 19
Luke Humphries 16-10 James Wade
Rob Cross 16-13 Stephen Bunting
Luke Humphries 16-8 Rob Cross