LUKE ‘The Nuke’ Littler paid the price for two misses at double as he lost the Premier League Darts Night 2 final against Michael van Gerwen in Berlin.

The Warrington 17-year-old set himself up to check out on his favourite double 10 against the throw in the deciding leg.

All inside the Mercedes-Benz Arena rose to their feet in anticipation of ‘The Nuke’ winning his first Premier League nightly round.

But he was a whisker on the outside and an inch inside with two match throws, leaving the way for the Dutchman and reigning Premier League champion to clinically clinch the £10,000 prize and five league points.

It was Littler's third match of the night to go to a decider, having fended off Rob Cross and Luke Humphries on his way to the showdown with Van Gerwen.

Such is the expectancy surrounding Littler starting games fast, when his very first arrow pins treble 20 eyebrows raise and cheers in the crowd are roused.

This is, of course, on the back of his amazing nine-darter in the very first leg of his opening game in his Bahrain Darts Masters triumph last month.

So when ‘The Nuke’ landed 180 with his first three darts in his quarter-final against Cross at the 10,000-seater venue, there was more than a hint of ‘surely not’ in various languages being remarked inside the venue as well as lounges across the world as fans from afar were glued to their television screens.

There was almost a moan when he missed the treble on his return to the oche but he soon cleared up and took control, breaking Cross in the fourth leg with a second successive ton-plus checkout for 3-1.

At that stage Littler was averaging 114.5 and the man he beat in the World Championship semi-finals could have been excused for thinking ‘oh no, not again’.

But Cross punished Littler when the teenager’s scoring dropped in the fifth and then held his throw to put the match all level again at 3-3.

The contest then stayed with throw until the end, with the Warrington wonderkid averaging 104 and converting two ton-plus checkouts in overcoming Cross 6-5.

Littler’s rivalry with Humphries continued in the semi-final, having lost to ‘Cool Hand’ in the World Championship final but going on to beat him in the Dutch Masters and Premier League Night 1 in Cardiff.

But he had to do it the hard way in Berlin, falling behind 4-2 and looking like he could be in a bit of trouble when he opened with 58 in the next leg.

However, three treble 18s put him on a good footing and he held his nerve to take the next three legs and restore control to ensure he had the darts first if it went to a decider – which it did.

Starting leg 11 with 59 wasn’t the best, but Humphries couldn’t cash in and then treble 18 from Littler left him with double 10 to finish and he showed again why it is his favourite way to exit a leg.

Van Gerwen had also won his semi-final 6-5, defeating Cardiff winner Michael Smith, so it brought about a repeat of the Dutch Masters and Bahrain Masters showdowns of last month.

Littler broke MVG with a 12-dart first leg, held his throw in 14 for 2-0, but then came the comeback.

The three-time World Champion responded with a three-leg burst to seize the initiative, pinning double six before following up a 13-dart break with an 11-dart hold as his average climbed above 113.

After that, the pair exchanged five consecutive holds but Littler missed double 20 in the ninth leg when a break was on.

And as it went down to the wire 'The Nuke' threatened to complete a famous victory after producing successive visits of 180 and 128 to leave 80 after 12 darts.

However, he spurned two darts at double ten and Van Gerwen capitalised by pinning double four with his last dart, with all the drama capping a night of close matches that whet the appetite for the weeks ahead.

“To have games like this against Luke Littler is always good,” reflected Van Gerwen, who moved up to second in the embryonic Premier League table - level on points with third-placed Littler.

“I think it was a fantastic night for darts, and I’m really pleased with my own performance.”

Premier League Darts continues with the third round in Glasgow next Thursday.

Results 2024 BetMGM Premier League Night Two, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin:


Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Nathan Aspinall

Michael Smith 6-5 Gerwyn Price

Luke Littler 6-5 Rob Cross

Luke Humphries 6-4 Peter Wright


Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Michael Smith

Luke Littler 6-5 Luke Humphries


Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Luke Littler

2024 BetMGM Premier League Order of Merit after two nights:

Warrington Guardian: