WARRINGTON’S teenage darts sensation is finally a nightly winner in the PDC Premier League.

Luke “The Nuke” Littler broke his duck at the ninth attempt as he saw off stablemate Nathan Aspinall 6-4 in the final in Belfast.

That came after impressive victories over world champion Luke Humphries, who was denied the chance of a fourth nightly win in a row, and Michael Van Gerwen to propel him up to second in the overall table.

“I’m just happy to win. It’s my first one,” the 17-year-old told Sky Sports on stage after his win over Aspinall.

“As people may have seen, I’ve changed my throw to take that little bit of extra time before releasing the next two. I’ve practiced more and it’s paid off.

“I had a good practice game with Rob Cross before we came out tonight, we both had an average of over 100.

“It got me up for it and I’m glad I brought it out here.”

Warrington Guardian: Luke Littler with his winner's trophy after triumphing in BelfastLuke Littler with his winner's trophy after triumphing in Belfast (Image: PA Wire)

Luke Littler finally breaks his duck

This was Littler’s first final since Night Two, when he lost the decider to Van Gerwen in Berlin, while this was Aspinall’s fourth final in six weeks.

Immediately, though, Littler looked at home as he nailed a stunning checkout of 136 to take the opening leg.

That seemed to spark Aspinall into life, however, and he reeled off three consecutive legs to establish himself as favourite for a second nightly win of 2024.

Just as it looked like more frustration was coming for Littler, he recomposed and reeled off a superb bull-25-bull finish of 125 to break back and level the match at 3-3.

Aspinall looked shaken and Littler took advantage, consolidating the break to check-out 70 on his own throw before breaking Aspinall again with a 51 check-out to move to the brink of victory.

The Belfast crowd sensed their hero was close to providing the moment of glory and he had to calm them down as they booed Aspinall to the oche as he looked to break, with the Stockport man taking out 70 to stay alive.

Littler would not be denied, however – he missed his favoured double 10 for a 140 check-out that would have sealed the match in style but on his next visit, he took his fourth match dart.

Warrington Guardian: Littler is congratulated on his victory by beaten finalist Nathan AspinallLittler is congratulated on his victory by beaten finalist Nathan Aspinall (Image: PA Wire)

'Luke The Nuke' beats MVG again

Littler’s last meeting with Van Gerwen saw him produce perhaps his best individual display of the Premier League season thus far, averaging 114 to hammer the Dutchman in the Night Seven quarter-finals in Nottingham.

And while this last-four showing was not quite as spell-binding, it was equally as dominant as he eventually punished an off-colour MVG.

Littler held the scoring advantage but the struggles both players had in finding trebles was epitomised by the fact the game’s first maximum did not come until the fifth leg, which the teenager won to take a 3-2 lead with the match on throw.

That proved his cue to take full command, punishing Van Gerwen’s sloppiness to come up with the first break and as MVG looked to hit straight back, an excellent checkout of 110 consolidated Littler’s advantage and drew a roar of delight from the teenager.

Van Gerwen kept himself alive in the next leg, but it proved only a temporary reprieve as an authoritative hold from Littler then saw him close out the victory with his first match dart at double 12.

Warrington Guardian: Littler celebrates taking a crucial 4-2 lead in his semi-final win over Michael Van GerwenLittler celebrates taking a crucial 4-2 lead in his semi-final win over Michael Van Gerwen (Image: PA Wire)

Littler ends Humphries' run of victories

Although Littler is not usually one for getting too carried away on stage, the celebrations that followed the double 10 that saw off Humphries told you just how much stock he put into that particular game.

The chips seemed stacked against him against the man who had won the past three nights, but from early on it was clear the teenager was dialled in.

He capitalised on some uncharacteristically sloppy doubling from Humphries to go 2-0 up early on and when he started the third leg with a 180, he looked to be in the mood.

However, Humphries is not the world champion, world number one and Premier League leader for nothing – he stormed back with a break of throw and then held off a fighting Littler to hold in the next leg to level the match.

Humphries sensed his moment to attack, but Littler stayed with him as both men traded ever-increasing check-outs to protect their throws.

First it was 64 from Littler, then 84 from Humphries and after Littler went 4-3 up with a check-out of 85, he attacked but a match-high “out” of 148 saw Humphries hold him off.

It was then the Newbury man’s turn to attack and he had a dart at bull for a decisive break, but Littler held on and in the next leg, his seventh 180 set him up for a match dart at double 20, but he just missed on the high side to allow Humphries to take it to a decider.

Littler had the darts and took full advantage to end Humphries’ chances of an unprecedented fourth nightly win in a row, with the Warringtonian finishing with a match average of 102.02.

Warrington Guardian: Luke Humphries congratulates Littler following the teenager's quarter-final win in BelfastLuke Humphries congratulates Littler following the teenager's quarter-final win in Belfast (Image: PA Wire)

PDC Premier League Darts, Night Nine results, SSE Arena, Belfast

Quarter finals

Luke Humphries 5-6 Luke Littler

Michael Smith 4-6 Michael Van Gerwen

Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Gerwyn Price

Rob Cross 3-6 Peter Wright

Semi finals

Luke Littler 6-3 Michael Van Gerwen

Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Peter Wright


Luke Littler 6-4 Nathan Aspinall