Luke Littler silences his critics with nine-darter on way to Premier League title win

Luke Littler silences his critics with nine-darter on way to Premier League title win
Luke Littler poses with the Premier League Darts trophy - Getty Images/Justin Setterfield

Exactly a year after sitting his GCSEs, Luke Littler has continued his jaw-dropping rise to the summit of darts by winning the Premier League at his first attempt with a nine-dart finish in the final.

In what was a repeat of January’s World Championship final, Littler also avenged the loss against Luke Humphries while becoming only the second player after Phil Taylor to achieve darting perfection in the grand final at the O2.

The crowd of 14,000 – a British record for a professional darts match – were literally dancing in the aisles while Littler, who turned 17 in January, pumped both fists before then shedding tears after the final double 20 nestled in the middle of the bed.

“This is 100 per cent the best day of my life,” said Littler.

Too young still to vote in the forthcoming General Election, Littler had already answered those who thought that the 17-week Premier League marathon would be a step too far at such a young age by topping the round-robin league to qualify for the four-man finals night.

That had guaranteed him £40,000 in weekly bonuses but his winnings were then swelled a further £275,000 up to £315,000 for beating Humphries 11-7 and winning what is his first major senior Professional Darts Corporation title.

Littler celebrated by immediately seeking out his parents, Anthony and Lisa, as well as his girlfriend Eloise Milburn, before breaking out into a jig on stage as the O2 united in a chorus of ‘There’s Only One Luke Littler’.

“One thing I want to say for all the doubters, ‘I just picked up this – you’re not doubting me anymore – I’m a major winner now,” said Littler, pointing to a trophy that has previously been lifted by all-time darting greats that include Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld.

Littler, who had earlier beaten the 2023 World Champion Michael Smith in the night’s first semi-final, has now established a 7-1 winning record over Humphries since losing 7-4 in their big Ally Pally final almost five months ago.

That victory had helped the 29-year-old Humphries also climb to the top of the world rankings and he believes that this is all just the start of a long rivalry.

Humphries also acknowledged the stardust that Littler brings to the sport by not just delivering so consistently on the oche but by cutting through to audiences that have previously not followed the sport. Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton and Comic Relief are just some of the TV shows that Littler has graced in recent months and there has been little sign of him being affected by the sudden fame.

“There is nothing this kid and phenom can’t do,” said the Sky commentator and former World Championship semi-finalist Wayne Mardle.

Glen Durant, himself a former Premier League winner, said that Littler’s nine-darter was “one of the best things” he had ever seen while Peter Wright, a double world champion, has predicted that he could surpass even Taylor as the sport’s greatest player.

The two players had been tied at 5-5 but, with the interval used to fix a slight on-stage breeze, Littler returned to immediately hit his nine-darter before romping to the title with six out of the next eight legs.

“I think me and Luke are the two greatest players at the moment and I love him to bits, even though I know I lose a lot,” said Humphries, who had earlier beaten Van Gerwen in the other semi-final.

The nine-darter was also Littler’s fourth already in 2024, leaving him more than seven months to better an all-time calendar year record that he now shares with Van Gerwen and the 2021 world champion Gerwyn Price.

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