HAVING occupied a play-off spot for the majority of the PDC Premier League Darts campaign, Luke “The Nuke” Littler is now on the outside looking in.

A Night Eight quarter-final defeat to Michael Smith in Dublin last week saw Warrington’s Littler leapfrogged by the St Helens man into the final top-four spot – the two men are tied on 13 points, but Smith leads by virtue of having a nightly win to his name.

It was only the second time Littler had failed to make it past the first hurdle in darts’ annual roadshow and if he is to avoid that fate for a second consecutive week on Thursday, he faces a herculean task.

As the Premier League hits Belfast for Night Nine, Littler opens the show against Luke Humphries – the man who beat him in the World Championship Final in January who currently leads the Premier League table.

Humphries has been in irresistible form having won the past three nights but since their Alexandra Palace meeting, Littler has been victorious in the past three matches between the pair.

They are due on stage at 7.15pm in the first of the four quarter-finals, with the winner facing either Smith or Michael Van Gerwen in the semis.

PDC Premier League Darts, competing players

Luke Humphries, Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith, Nathan Aspinall, Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross, Peter Wright, Luke Littler.

Schedule for PDC Premier League Darts Night 9, SSE Arena, Belfast, live on Sky Sports, Thursday, March 28:

Quarter-final 1: Luke Humphries vs Luke Littler, 7.15pm

Quarter-final 2: Michael Smith vs Michael Van Gerwen, 7.45pm

Quarter-final 3: Nathan Aspinall vs Gerwyn Price, 8.15pm

Quarter-final 4: Rob Cross vs Peter Wright, 8.45pm

Semi-final 1: Winner of QF 1 v Winner of QF 2, 9.15pm

Semi-final 2: Winner of QF 3 v Winner of QF 4, 9.45pm

Final: Winner of SF1 v winner of SF 2, 10.30pm

Interesting fact:

Since the pair met in the World Darts Championship final, Luke Littler has three wins in as many matches against Luke Humphries.

He triumphed over the world number one on his way to winning the Dutch Darts Masters and on Nights One and Two of the Premier League.

A reminder of what happened last week:

Results for PDC Premier League Darts Night 8, 3Arena, Dublin, Thursday, March 21:


Luke Humphries 6-1 Peter Wright
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith 6-4 Luke Littler


Luke Humphries 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Michael Smith 6-5 Gerwyn Price

Luke Humphries 6-2 Michael Smith

PDC Premier League Order of Merit:

Warrington Guardian:


Format for PDC Premier League nights 2024:

Each night will see quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final played over the best of 11 legs (first to six).

Players will face each other twice in quarter-final ties throughout the season, with the fixtures being balanced for players to be in opposite halves of the draw in an equal number of weeks.

The fixtures for Night 8 and Night 16 will be based on the league table following Night 7 and Night 15 respectively.

The top four players from the final league table will progress to the Play-Offs, which will feature the semi-finals over the best of 19 legs and the final over the best of 21 legs.

The order of throw for all league night matches will be decided by a bull-off, which will be conducted beforehand in the practice room. For the Play-Offs, the semi-finals will see the higher-placed player from the final league table throw first, with a bull-off for the final.

League Points per Night:

Night Winner - 5 points + £10,000 bonus

Runner-Up - 3 points

Semi-Finalists - 2 points

Prize Fund:

Winner - £275,000

Runner-Up - £125,000

Semi-Finalists - £85,000 each

Fifth in League Table - £75,000

Sixth in League Table - £70,000

Seventh in League Table - £65,000

Eighth in League Table - £60,000

Nightly Winner Bonus - £10,000 x16

Total - £1,000,000

Schedule for remaining PDC Premier League Darts 2024, quarter final fixtures:

Night 9, Belfast, March 28: Humphries v Littler, Smith v Van Gerwen, Aspinall v Price, Cross v Wright.

Night 10, Manchester, April 4: Aspinall v Cross, Littler v Van Gerwen, Smith v Humphries, Price v Wright.

Night 11, Birmingham, April 11: Wright v Humphries, Cross v Littler, Price v Smith, Van Gerwen v Aspinall.

Night 12, Rotterdam Ahoy, April 18: Smith v Littler, Cross v Price, Wright v Aspinall, Van Gerwen v Humphries.

Night 13, Liverpool, April 25: Littler v Price, Humphries v Aspinall, Wright v Van Gerwen, Smith v Cross.

Night 14, Aberdeen, May 2: Wright v Smith, Littler v Aspinall, Van Gerwen v Cross, Price v Humphries.

Night 15, Leeds, May 9: Van Gerwen v Price, Littler v Wright, Humphries v Cross, Aspinall v Smith.

Night 16, Sheffield, May 16: Fixtures confirmed following Night 15.

Play-Offs: The O2, London, May 23: The top four players after 16 nights.

Story of 2024 so far for Luke Littler:

PDC World Darts Championship runner-up

Bahrain Darts Masters Champion, including first leg nine-darter in quarter-final

Dutch Darts Masters runner-up

Premier League Night 1 (Cardiff) semi-finalist

Premier League Night 2 (Berlin) finalist

Players Championship 1 (Wigan) winner, including nine-darter in the last 32

Premier League Night 4 (Newcastle) semi-finalist

Premier League Night 5 (Exeter) semi-finalist

UK Open quarter-finalist

Premier League Night 6 (Brighton) semi-finalist

Belgian Darts Open Champion, including nine-darter in final

Premier League Night 7 (Nottingham) semi-finalist