Luke Littler came agonisingly close to winning Night 2 of darts’ Premier League, but despite his defeat to Michael van Gerwen, the youngster has still fulfilled his promise
Luke Littler has once lived up to his hopes for this year’s Premier League Darts competition despite suffering heartbreak in Night 2’s final.
Littler surged into the public eye with a fairytale run on his World Championship debut, reaching the tournament’s final in stunning fashion. Though he was beaten by Luke Humphries in the final at Ally Pally, ‘The Nuke’ earned a place in the Premier League.
He impressed on his debut, comfortably beating Humphries in Night 1’s quarter-final before being edged by Michael Smith in the semi-finals. Littler followed up that strong start with an impressive performance at Night 2 in Berlin.
The 17-year-old again won his first game, this time beating Rob Cross, before losing out in the final to Michael van Gerwen. Even though he suffered that heartbreak, Littler still achieved his goal.
“I just want to win that first game every week and get the two points on the board. Then hopefully win the semi and the final,” Littler told Sky Sports ahead of the second night of action.
“Rob [Cross] is a good lad. I’ve known him for a few years now. He might want revenge [for the World Championship semi-final], he might not. As I said, I just want to get the two points on the board.”
Cross pushed him all the way in the their quarter-final, eventually coming out on top with a 6-5 win. He then faced a rematch against Humphries in the semi-final, which again went to a deciding leg.
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But Littler overcame the world champion to reach the final, where he came up against Van Gerwen. ‘The Nuke’ came close to claiming a famous win, missing two match darts on double 10.
Littler was able to match ‘Mighty Mike’ for much of the match, despite the Dutchman averaging a massive 113.66. But Littler stood strong, with the score on legs going 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 before Van Gerwen eventually dispatched the young Englishman.
Night 3 will take place next Thursday at the Ovo Hydro in Glasgow, with Littler facing Gerwyn Price in the quarter-finals. Van Gerwen meanwhile takes on Peter Wright, with the Dutchman revealing his hope that he will take on Littler again.
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“It’s good. I hope we can keep it that way as well. In this format, in the Premier League, you have to be good week after week. It’s non-stop and I think that was good for me. I was always putting energy into my game and that helps me in the long run,” he told Sky Sports.
“It is only week two. Everyone was saying ‘last week you lost in the first round!’ Don’t worry, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I thought it was a fantastic night for darts. I’m really pleased with my own performance today, finally I was able to give it the final push.
“I’m playing really well and in the important moments I was able to keep the pressure on my opponents. I feel good but there is more to come. Sometimes my energy levels in the game hasn’t been great. You need to find a solution because I know I have the ability.”