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Luke Littler has ham and cheese omelette then makes ‘crazy’ darts history

Luke Littler fights back to reach World Darts Championship final in sensational style
Luke Littler celebrates after beating Rob Cross at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday night - AP/Kin Cheung

Teen darts sensation Luke Littler says he has “nothing to lose” in his World Championship final on Wednesday which could land him a £500,000 jackpot.

The 16-year-old secured an extraordinary title-deciding showdown against new world No 1 Luke Humphries after sweeping aside Rob Cross 6-2. As thoughts turned immediately to the final, Littler promised to stick with a “don’t fix it if it’s not broke” approach to the competition, which includes a ritual of sleeping in until midday.

“I’ve got nothing to lose - it’s a free hit for myself,” Littler said of his remarkable debut fortnight at Alexandra Palace. “There’s no pressure. It’s my first time being here and I’m still here, so [I’ll] just take it in my stride.”

Littler, who will have a pizza and ham and cheese omelette pre-match, reveals a title triumph would be a welcome addition to his CV.

“I don’t have any GCSEs,” he said, having turned his full attention to the professional game in recent months. “Everyone’s probably got more than me. In fact, I did pass my sport. But young darts players can hopefully look at me and see if you do practice, then you’d be where I am.”

Cross had given Littler his toughest test yet by going a set ahead. Littler revealed the 2018 champion had taken defeat graciously. “He just said ‘God bless, I respect you, and go and win it’,” Littler said.

Rob Cross (left) - Luke Littler has ham and cheese omelette then makes ‘crazy’ darts history
Rob Cross (left) was Littler's strongest opponent by far, the first top-10 player he had faced all tournament - Getty Images/Tolga Akmen

Littler said initially that he had “no words” as stands on the cusp of producing one of the greatest teenage sporting stories of all time, having bombarded the treble-20 16 times, produced three 130-plus checkouts and averaged 106.05 in a nerveless performance.

“It’s unbelievable,” he added. “It’s not really sunk in yet. Rob missed 86 to win the second set and that might have changed things. But I just tried to stay focused. I only set my goal to win one game and come back after Christmas. I couldn’t imagine myself reaching the final.”

‘The Nuke’ is trying to emulate 2018 champion Cross by lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy on debut but he faces a stern test against Humphries who stormed through his semi-final 6-0. “I’ve got a really tough task against Luke [Littler],” he said.

Littler has earned celebrity status and his exploits have transcended the world of darts, already appealing to a younger generation of fans, with broadcaster Sky Sports reporting they had an 18.5 per cent share of all under-35 viewing in the UK for his New Year’s Day quarter-final win over Brendan Dolan.

He said afterwards that he had received good luck messages from some of his favourite players at Manchester United, including Luke Shaw and Rio Ferdinand. He only qualified for the tournament by winning the World Youth Championship in November and his fairytale run has put the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) under pressure to hand him a place in the forthcoming Premier League.

Littler has faced Humphries before, however, when he was just 13. He lost but wrote in 2019 on Twitter that he “gave him a good game” in a local pub competition. Littler will be a multi-millionaire by the time he turns 18, industry experts predict.

“Littler is no doubt set to become a multi-millionaire if he can continue his win-streak,” said Tom Scott, chief executive of strategic communications agency Trippant. “Top-rank players can make over £1.5m a year, which can surpass the £5m mark with the right sponsorship deals.”

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