By Phil Lanning
LUKE HUMPHRIES hit out at Michael van Gerwen for coughing as he threw during a fiery Ladbrokes Masters clash.
The Newbury star and the three-times World Champ exchanged verbals after Humphries lost out 10-9 in a tense finale in Milton Keynes on Saturday night.
‘Cool Hand Luke’ lost his cool during the final leg when he claimed Van Gerwen had coughed as he was on the oche trying to win the match.
MVG reacted with anger to win the leg and the match before the pair discussed the incident and Humphries was clearly annoyed as they left the stage.
Van Gerwen, 32, said: “He said why did you cough? I coughed once. Sorry he was 200 points behind, sorry. Only 200, sorry.
“It’s not too smart for him to make that comment. He knew he was going to lose the game at that stage.
“He can only put himself into problems. No one wants that. You want to win a game fair, that’s what I was looking at. I won, that’s the only thing I can say about it.”
But Hump, 26, reacted on Twitter saying: “So what I said was right then? He did cough? I didn’t make a big deal of it. I just looked back disappointed and confused why he did.. just to clear up all the people that are saying I said it because I lost… he has told you ‘HE DID’ but doesn’t matter because I was 200 behind.”
It’s the third time in four months that Van Gerwen has been accused of tactics by an opponent. Gary Anderson was angry with the Dutchman, claiming he was talking on stage during the Grand Slam in November. Danny Noppert also claimed that MVG was stamping on the oche in the Grand Prix a month earlier.
It’s another ‘Coughgate’ scandal to hit the sport. Justin Pipe was fined £3,000 and given a “formal warning as to his future behaviour” by the Darts Regulation Authority for “coughing at match dart with the intention of putting off opponent – alleged gamesmanship and bringing sport into disrepute”. That was after an incident with Bernie Smith at the Ally Pally in late 2017.
Van Gerwen also admitted that testing positive for Covid during the Worlds felt like “everything is falling apart”.
He added: “It’s gone now, it’s dusted. What can you do? I’ve been on holiday since, 18 days in the Caribbean with my family and the batteries are charged again.
“When I found out, you know that everything is falling apart. All the energy you put into that tournament, you’re leaving everything behind.
“You don’t go to parties, you do everything right and then something small like that happens. What can you do? I’ve put it behind me and that’s more important.”
Van Gerwen was still unhappy with his opening performance in the Masters and looked set to lose but Humphries missed too many chances to wrap it up.
He added: “I had too many rusty darts. It was far from good. I was irritating myself. I couldn’t get going. I was trying too hard. I don’t know why.
“To be fair I think he played a good game as well. You can only blame yourself, no one else. It has to be better tomorrow, simple as that.”