BRILLIANT in Belfast, now marvellous in Manchester!

Having taken nine weeks to secure his first nightly win in the PDC Premier League Darts, it is now back-to-back victories for Luke “The Nuke” Littler.

He was victorious at the AO Arena by beating Gerwyn Price 6-3 in the final to move top of the overall table and all but secure his play-off spot.

The Warringtonian earlier saw off Nathan Aspinall and Michael Van Gerwen and now leads Luke Humphries by a point going into Night 11 in Birmingham next Thursday, where he faces Rob Cross in the quarter-finals.

"I’m glad I won having just seen United concede two in two minutes," he joked, having watched his beloved Manchester United fall to a late defeat to Chelsea backstage before his final.

"I’ve definitely settled into it – I won my first game then I lost and lost, but winning last week gave me so much confidence coming into tonight.

"When I saw he was 4-0 up averaging 123 heading into the final, I was thinking “stop it, Gez” but I focused, practiced and left it until the end.

"Last week, the practice paid off and tonight, I practiced more again and it paid off.

"There’s still six or seven weeks to go, so I’ll just keep plugging away and trying to get two or three points every week and I’m sure I’ll make the play-offs."

Warrington Guardian: Littler celebrates during his victory over Gerwyn PriceLittler celebrates during his victory over Gerwyn Price (Image: PA Wire)

‘The Nuke’ melts ‘The Iceman’

Littler’s task in the finale looked a tough one against an in-form Price, who hit the first “nine-darter” in this year’s competition during his semi-final win over Michael Smith and beat Littler in their only Premier League meeting before this in the Night Three quarters in Glasgow.

However, he set up the chance of a perfect leg of his own to open up the final as he flew out of the traps and while he could not manage it, he completed a comfortable hold before setting up perfectly to break Price and establish a cushion.

The teenager was in command on his own throw again but got a little messy to open the door, but the Welshman could not capitalise and Littler rescued the leg to go 3-0 up.

Price did at least get himself on the board by holding off a confident Littler in the next, but his opponent was moving serenely through the gears and keeping the door firmly shut on his own throw.

All he needed to do was hold throw to close it out and while there was the odd wobble – Price missed a dart at double 20 to bring the match back on throw in Leg Seven – he took his first match dart to close out victory.

Warrington Guardian:

Littler edges 'local derby' against Aspinall

This was a repeat of last week’s final and with both men pretty much on home soil, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands.

And after a shaky start from both players, it was Littler who clicked into gear first with a superb “tops-tops” double to checkout on 131 for the first break before consolidating in the next to move 3-1 up.

There was better to come from “The Nuke” as he held his nerve on his own throw to check out 90 before a superb “out” of 136 put him 5-2 up and on the brink.

Aspinall, however, refused to knuckle under and broke straight back and when Littler could not quite complete an attack by taking his first match dart in the next leg, Aspinall took out 89 to hold and put the pressure on the youngster.

Another match dart came and went to bring the prospect of a last-leg decider even closer – Aspinall even had a dart at double 20 to make it 5-5 – but Littler finally closed it out on his fourth match dart.

Another victory over out-of-sorts Van Gerwen

Littler took advantage of an unusually off-colour Van Gerwen on his way to victory in Northern Ireland and in the early stages of this one, the Dutchman if anything seemed to have got worse.

While playing far from his best darts himself, Littler was able to serenely move into a 3-0 lead as he broke in the second leg and consolidated by taking out 90 on his own throw.

However, a switch seemed to flick suddenly and the reigning Premier League champion came to life, breaking back in leg five before holding off the teenager as he looked for an immediate response to level the match.

Littler was visibly unhappy with what he was serving up but having stopped a three-leg losing streak to move back in the lead, a superb visit of 168 set up the chance of another break.

Even then, Van Gerwen was inches away from hitting double 11 for a 136 check-out but Littler pinned double eight on the next visit to move to the brink of victory.

Then, he got the job done with authority, hitting a trio of treble 19s to move into comfort mode before taking his third match dart.

Warrington Guardian: Littler at the oche during his quarter-final win over Michael Van GerwenLittler at the oche during his quarter-final win over Michael Van Gerwen (Image: PA Wire)

PDC Premier League Darts, Night 10 results

Quarter finals

Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Rob Cross

Luke Littler 6-3 Michael Van Gerwen

Michael Smith 6-3 Luke Humphries

Gerwyn Price 6-4 Peter Wright


Nathan Aspinall 4-6 Luke Littler

Michael Smith 3-6 Gerwyn Price


Luke Littler 6-3 Gerwyn Price