LUKE ‘The Nuke’ Littler is out of the UK Open, exiting in a sensational quarter-final tie against Australian number one Damon Heta at Butlin’s Minehead Resort.

The visibly gutted Warrington 17-year-old was beaten 10-8 in an absorbing contest of exceptionally high quality that will long be remembered.

Both players were averaging over 120 in a blistering opening five legs completed in just seven minutes, each man holding his throw for a Littler 3-2 lead.

After the break, the relentless pace and scoring continued initially and a brilliant 10-darter put him 4-3 in front.

But Littler’s average started to dip dramatically and he was broken in the ninth leg after each thrower had already had one miss each at a double.

Heta held the 10th leg to go into the second interval 6-4 in front and then broke Littler again on their return for 7-4 in what was one of the many key moments with twists and turns to follow.

Littler left 40 with Heta needing 170, the Australian hit treble 20 twice but missed the bull and then the teenager had three misses at double allowing his opponent to cash in.

Heta held throw for 8-4 after the bull was missed by Littler, who was far from finished and got it back to 8-6 when he broke the Australian’s throw for the first time.

The response was clinical, Heta winning against the arrows after Littler had missed the bull for 9-6 but the drama was amazingly about to go up several more notches.

Two Heta missed doubles for the match allowed Littler to break him and then he held his throw to trail 9-8.

Littler, with his tail wagging, was first to a finish but missed the bull. Heta had one miss at double, Littler had two misses at his favourite double 10 in order to send the tie into a decider with the arrows in his favour but Heta nailed double 16 on his next visit to seal it.

Littler’s average finished on 105, Heta on 106, and between them they achieved 180 scores 16 times in a match considered one of the best games ever played out on live television.