UK Open 2024: A Vintage Year or A Solid Brew?

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Dimitri van den Bergh won the 2024 Ladbrokes UK Open after beating Luke Humphries 11-10 in the Final at Butlin’s Minehead. 

The Dream Maker adds £110,000 to his ranking which moves him up to 7th ahead of Peter Wright and Damon Heta, picking up a second PDC Televised Major and his first in front of a watching audience. 

The Belgian international opened his campaign with his best performance of the tournament, averaging 99.8 in out lasting and defeating Brendan Dolan 10-8 in the Fourth Round. 

Dimitri then put out the likes of Vincent van der Voort and Jonny Clayton, wrapping up his win over The Ferret with a 107 checkout on the main stage in Minehead, to move into a Third UK Open Quarter Final. 

The draw put Van den Bergh against Martin Lukeman who had enjoyed a fantastic run and boosting hopes of seeing Smash back to his best. The Hammersmith man hit a fantastic checkout rate of 76.92% in beating Gary Anderson 10-5 in the last 16.

The Dancing Belgian though, remain composed and put himself into a second consecutive UK Open Semi Final in Minehead after moving into an early 4-0 lead with his highest finish of 132. 

The former World Matchplay Champion lost out in the Semi Finals 12 months ago against Michael van Gerwen but made no mistake in reaching his first Final, after beating Damon Heta 11-6 in the Last 4. 

The Australian World Cup Winner produced the best average of the tournament to defeat World Championship Finalist Luke Littler 10-8 in the Quarter Finals, averaging 106.04 in, perhaps, the best match of the weekend. The Nuke, despite defeat, scored 104.77 on the main stage with both players landing 8 180s a piece. 

World Number 1 and World Champion Luke Humphries proceeded through the other half of the draw at Butlins Minehead Resort, dropping a combined 4 legs in his wins over Stephen Bunting in the Quarter Finals and Ricky Evans in the Semi’s. 

Luke’s best performance of the weekend came in his 10-2 win over the recent Masters Champion, who had again seemed in decent fettle. Cool Hand hit 9 180s in his Fourth-Round contest with Dirk van Duijvenbode on the main stage as the crowd were treated to 19 maximums overall. 

Dimitri van den Bergh stuck solidly to his own routine, and it proved decisive, including a 124 checkout in the 2nd leg to instantly break the World Champion. The Dream Maker then moved within three legs of the title after clinching a third break of throw with the highest finish of the Final, checking out 130 to lead 8-4. 

The Red Dragon player did not give up though, a trait we saw in his World Championship winning campaign against the likes of Ricardo Pietreczko and Joe Cullen. Humphries won 6 of the next 8 legs to force a last leg decider, hitting his highest finish of 116 to take the 15th leg. 

The Belgian had the throw in the decider, and it made the difference in the end, checking out 64 in 2 darts to become the 13th different winner of the FA Cup of Darts, with his opponent waiting on Double 4. 

The UK Open saw a few of the old guard return to form, with Mervyn King who missed out on a place at the Alexandra Palace last year, going on to reach the Last 16 in Minehead. 

The King included an impressive 8 maximums in his 10-3 win over 2023 German Darts Championship winner Ricardo Pietreczko, before clinching a last leg decider against Krzysztof Ratajski in the next round. 

Vincent van der Voort had a decent outing, defeating recent Pro Tour Semi Finalist Christian Perez and Boris Krcmar before losing out to eventual winner Van den Bergh in the Last 32. 

Peter Wright continues to prove a point in 2024 having enjoyed a strong start to the Pro Tour, reaching 2 Semi Finals and a Quarter Final after 4 Players Championship Events. Snakebite included a convincing 10-1 win over Defending Champion Andrew Gilding in his route to the Last 16 in Minehead, breaking Goldfinger instantly with an 11-dart leg. 

The 2017 UK Open Champion averaged over 101 in a fantastic performance on Stage 2, before going on to lose out in a last leg decider against recent Masters Champion Stephen Bunting. 

Reigning Champion Gilding had opened his title defence with a solid defeat of Josh Payne on the main stage and looked likely to do better than such a heavy defeat.

The welcome return of Ricky Evans is in danger of being overlooked in the wealth of stories from this years event. The popular Englishman proved once again that there is more to his game that his ‘Rapid’ nickname. Quick he may still be , but the outgoing 33-year-old has been showing signs of harnessing that speed to a little more consistency, while not sacrificing his fun loving approach overall.

There were a smattering of amateur/lower ranks stories with Joe Croft, Grandson of BDO founder Olly, Koing both William Borland and James Hurrell before being edged out by Keane Barry. There seemed a hatful of early shocks, Graham Usher’s defeat of Ryan Searle being perhaps the biggest, with almost 20 last leg matches to add to the drama.

Overall though the 2024 Ladbrokes UK Open belongs to Dimitri van den Bergh, who responded in the perfect way following the loss of his place in the Premier League at the start of the year.

The Belgian international becomes a 2 Time PDC Major Televised Champion and the 3rd first time champion in a row after what was an entertaining 3 days of darting action at Butlins Minehead Resort.  Vintage? Perhaps not quite, but certainly a tasty brew popular with all who sampled the 2024 UK Open recipe.


Images: PDC

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