A SIXTH successive final appearance eluded Warrington teen darts star Luke ‘The Nuke’ Littler by the narrowest of margins on his PDC Premier League debut in Cardiff.

The 17-year-old was defeated in an absorbing semi-final deciding leg by St Helens thrower Michael Smith, who went on to beat Welshman Gerwyn Price 6-2 to win the £10,000 prize and five points on offer for the embryonic league table.

It was the first ever meeting between the Wire fan and Saints supporter.

Littler, a former student at Padgate Academy, rallied from 4-2 adrift with legs of 12, 14 and 13 darts, only to miss a match dart in the dramatic finale and he bowed out 6-5 on Smith’s next throw.

World Youth, World Junior and Bahrain Masters champion Littler, who was a narrow runner-up to Michael van Gerwen in last week's Dutch Darts Masters, produced a brace of ton-topping averages on his Premier League bow, but yet it proved not to be enough due to drastically improved form than of late from ‘Bully Boy’ Smith.

Warrington Guardian: A focused Luke Littler ready for his Premier League bowA focused Luke Littler ready for his Premier League bow (Image: Kieran Cleeves/PDC)

A 105 average and six 180s from ‘The Nuke’ in the semi-final would have been enough to win most matches.

But missing the chance to break Smith’s hold of throw in the final leg, just a whisker away from the double 15 he needed to complete a 94 checkout with his last arrow at the Utilita Arena, cost him because of Smith’s clinical finishing on the night.

> READ: How Luke Littler's Premier League debut unfolded, leg by leg

In Littler’s first match in Cardiff, he defeated world number one Luke Humphries for the second week running – further avenging his World Championship Final defeat to ‘Cool Hand’ with a resounding 6-2 victory in the quarter-finals.

The same eight players will contest a further 15 rounds of Premier League to achieve as many points as possible on the ladder for a top-four finish that would secure them a place in the big-money play-offs at The O2 in London on May 23.

Next Thursday Premier League Night 2 takes place in Berlin, Germany, when Littler will be looking to add to the three points and third place he currently has in the bag.