Littler secures second Development Tour crown at Event Five

Luke Littler (Taylor Lanning/PDC)

Luke Littler secured his second Winmau Development Tour title in as many days to cap off an incredible opening weekend of action in Milton Keynes.

Littler only became eligible to compete on the Development Tour after celebrating his 16th birthday in January, and he made a terrific start by claiming Event Three success at the Marshall Arena on Saturday.

The 16-year-old topped the embryonic Development Tour Order of Merit following Saturday’s double-header, and he extended his lead at the summit with Event Five glory.

The reigning JDC World Champion defeated German youngster Kevin Troppmann 5-3 in Sunday’s showpiece to claim the £2,500 top prize and secure his second PDC title in the space of three events.

The Warrington thrower – who also reached the fourth round on his UK Open debut last month – produced a series of consistent displays to become the first player in 2023 to claim multiple Development Tour titles.

Littler began his campaign with a whitewash win over Robbie Chalmers, and also saw off Dutch Tour Card Holder Owen Roelofs and former World Youth Champion Bradley Brooks to reach the last 16.

He then overcame Jurjen van der Velde in a repeat of Saturday’s Event Three decider, before recovering from 4-2 down to edge out Sam Cromwell in the quarter-finals.

Littler averaged over 99 in his 5-2 victory over Owen Bates in the semi-finals, and he fought back from 3-1 down to deny Troppmann in the final, featuring an 11-darter in the penultimate leg.

Troppmann impressed in reaching his maiden Development Tour final, dumping out Event Four winner Gian van Veen and UK Open qualifier Lewis Gurney in Sunday’s latter stages.

Gurney accounted for three Dutchmen in reaching the semi-finals, while Bates whitewashed UK Open semi-finalist Adam Gawlas before crashing out at the same stage.

Following the opening weekend of Development Tour action, Littler has claimed £7,000 in prize money after reaching at least the quarter-finals in all five events.

The 16-year-old is almost £4,000 above his nearest challenger Dylan Slevin, with Van Veen and Event One winner Christopher Toonders in third and fourth spots respectively.

The Winmau Development Tour continues from April 28-30, as Wigan’s Robin Park Tennis Centre plays host to Events 6-10.

The top two players from the final 2023 Development Tour Order of Merit will win a PDC Tour Card for 2024-25 and a place in the 2023/24 World Darts Championship.

The event draws and results are listed in the Match Centre.

Live match stats can be followed through DartConnect.

2023 Winmau Development Tour
Sunday April 2
The Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Event Five

Kevin Troppmann 5-3 Gian van Veen
Lewis Gurney 5-1 Charlie Manby
Luke Littler 5-4 Sam Cromwell
Owen Bates 5-3 Connor Hopkins

Kevin Troppmann 5-2 Lewis Gurney
Luke Littler 5-2 Owen Bates

Luke Littler 5-3 Kevin Troppmann