Littler: Premier League triumph 'a dream come true'

Luke Littler (Kieran Cleeves/PDC)

Luke Littler admitted that his darting dreams have come true after lifting the BetMGM Premier League title on a historic night at The O2 in London on Thursday.

Littler – roared on by a record crowd of 14,000 fans in the capital - defeated Michael Smith and Luke Humphries on Finals Night to become the youngest ever winner of a PDC Premier televised event.

The 17-year-old has been a revelation on his Premier League debut, finishing top of the league phase after 16 weeks following nightly wins in Belfast, Manchester, Liverpool and Aberdeen.

The World Youth Champion continued that sparkling form in Thursday’s finale, dispatching Smith before producing a stunning nine-darter during his 11-7 success against Humphries.

Humphries famously denied Littler in January’s World Championship decider, but the Warrington wonderkid avenged that defeat in spectacular style, in the latest instalment of their compelling rivalry.

“I just can’t believe it. I’m a major champion,” beamed Littler, who joins Phil Taylor in becoming the second player to hit a nine-darter in a Premier League final.

“As soon as the double 12 went in, I thought: ‘Don’t do anything stupid, don’t let all your energy out.’

“I just gave it a little ‘come on’ and realised I was still five legs away [from the title], so I thought let’s keep going.

“There were people doubting me when I was selected [for the Premier League], but now I’ve picked up the trophy. They’re not doubting me anymore!”

Littler pockets an incredible £315,000 in total from this year’s Premier League, with his four nightly wins earning him a £40,000 bonus in addition to the £275,000 top prize.

The teenage superstar posted a ton-topping average in his 10-5 victory over Smith in the semi-finals, before powering past world number one Humphries in a staggering final.

Littler averaged 105.60 and fired in nine maximums on his way to glory, reeling off his last six legs in 9, 14, 12, 12, 13 and 13 darts to cap off an inspired display.

“I have been practising really hard today,” added Littler, who becomes the first player since Jonny Clayton in 2021 to triumph on their Premier League debut.

“I think you could see I was really focused, and I’m so happy to add my name to the list of major winners.

“It was really special to celebrate with my family, friends and my sponsors – they’ve all been so important in my journey, and I can’t thank them enough.

“This is a dream come true. I remember watching the Premier League every Thursday for many years, watching different players pick up the trophy.

“Now I’ve picked up the trophy for myself. This is the best night of my life!”

Humphries – also featuring in his first Premier League campaign – acquitted himself magnificently throughout the 17 weeks of competition.

The 29-year-old dumped out reigning champion Michael van Gerwen in Thursday’s second semi-final, averaging 101 and converting 132 and 125 checkouts on his way to a 10-5 victory.

The World Champion also averaged 102.47 in defeat against Littler, although he was full of praise for his younger adversary.

“I was trying to stick in there, but credit to Luke, he was fantastic,” reflected a gracious Humphries, who claimed £125,000 as runner-up, and walked away with a further £40,000 in bonus prize money.

“If you look at the season as a whole, Luke deserved to be Premier League champion.

“I think we’re the best two players in the world at the moment, and it was another great battle. I just love playing him, and we’re going to have plenty more battles in the future.

“I’m really proud to make the final. Of course I’m gutted not to win, but I’ve made six out of seven major finals now, and I can only build on this.”