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World of Sport

01st Feb 2024

Luke Littler makes Michael van Gerwen eat his words on Premier League debut

Patrick McCarry

Luke Littler

“The kid who can do no wrong, wins again!”

Luke Littler was warned, ahead of his Premier League Darts debut, by Michael van Gerwen that he was in ‘with the big boys’. After the first quarter final stage of the new season, the teenager had avenged a world championships defeat, while MVG was on his way home early.

Van Gerwen was facing Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith while, in his quarter final, Littler faced Luke Humphries, who had defeated him in the PDC World Final, last month.

Ahead of the action, in Cardiff, the Dutch maestro was asked if he felt in any way protective of Littler. He replied, “Really? Of course not. Welcome to the big boys.‌ He is not a youth player any more. Those days are gone. Of course, he’s still only a kid, but now you have got to battle against each other on the stage and there cannot be any mercy whatsoever.

“It’s not hard at the moment because he doesn’t have any scars. Whatever he does, being a runner-up is good, winning is good. Whatever he does, whatever he says, everybody loves everything about him. But during a game, if he looks at his watch and says, ‘How can I miss again?’, in five years’ time they will boo you. That’s the way darts works now.
“At the beginning everything goes well, but then everything gets normal. Guys like him only get born once in so many years and he’s a special talent, of course, but he still has to do it every year. He is with the big guys now.”

Luke Littler

Luke Littler had perfect response to MVG claim

Luke Littler was asked about those comments and replied, “Big boys’ league? Surely I am one of them now. I have joined them in the big boys’ league. This is what I have signed up for – to play with the best of the best. I am looking forward to playing these boys, week-in, week-out.”

When it came to those win-or-go-home last eight encounters, Michael van Gerwen went 2-0 down before storming into a lead against Michael Smith, only to falter in the final two legs and lose 6-5.

Littler vs. Humphries was the next match out. The scores were tied at 1-1 when a Humphries 180 forced Littler into a sloppy score of 26. He rallied from that position, though and held on his throw before breaking the world champion when he had the honour of throwing first.

Humphries had some issues with whistling fans that Sky sports commentator Wayne Mardle referred to as “imbeciles”. After he fell 3-1 behind, Littler’s started off with a 180 and never looked back. He closed out a 6-2 win to set up a semi-final against Smith.