LUKE ‘The Nuke’ Littler cruised into the quarter-finals of the Dutch Darts Masters.

The Warrington 17-year-old hardly got out of second gear to march past home thrower Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 in the first round at De Maaspoort in Den Bosch, The Netherlands.

Littler, a former Padgate Academy student, averaged just under 91 and threw four 180s across the eight legs as he seeks to add the Toon Greebe Trophy to the Bahrain Masters title he won last week.

Checking out on 150 to win the match was stylish, but it all looked too easy for ‘The Nuke’ against an out-of-sorts 2022 Dutch Darts Masters runner-up ranked No13 with the PDC.

There was a minor flash point when Van Duijvenbode seemed to gesture towards Littler, who composed himself by briefly stepping away from the oche to take a sip of water at the Maaspoort Den Bosch.

Whether Van Duijvenbode was irritated at his performance, his rival or the crowd was unclear but the incident did not disrupt Littler and the pair shared a friendly handshake at the end of the contest.

Littler is growing accustomed to the cheers of the crowd but was greeted by a smattering of boos during his walk-on, making light of the situation by cupping his hands to his ears.

He settled immediately with a 180 and seven days after his nine-dart first leg in Bahrain, hopes were fleetingly raised of a repeat performance in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which were soon extinguished.

Littler won the opening leg, accidentally finding double 20 then double 10 to take out 60 before thudding into tops more conventionally to go 2-0 ahead.

Van Duijvenbode pulled one back but seemed to be distracted and, on more than one occasion aimlessly threw a third dart, at one point motioning at Littler, who looked on bemused at what was happening.

An unflustered Littler moved 4-1 ahead and while the pair then traded legs, the youngster sealed a quarter-final spot with a fantastic 150 checkout, taking out two treble 19s and finishing with double 18.