'You're not doubting me anymore': Luke Littler answers critics in stunning Premier League Darts final win

Champion: Luke Littler (Getty Images)
Champion: Luke Littler (Getty Images)

Luke Littler took aim at the doubters as he produced a stunning performance, including only the second nine-darter in Premier League Finals history, to beat Luke Humphries 11-7 and win darts’ second richest prize.

In a re-run of the World Championship final, the players were closely matched at 5-5 at the break but, when Littler returned to the oche, he proved a class apart including a nine-darter to gain revenge for his Ally Pally defeat to Humphries.

It earned the 17-year-old, too young to be eligible to vote in the General Election on July 4, an additional £275,000 to an already burgeoning bank balance and he cut an emotional figure as he hugged his girlfriend and parents in celebration.

There had been some critics when Littler was announced in the eight-man line-up for the 17-week Premier League darts in the wake of his Worlds performance but he topped the standings and it was him that a record 14,000 crammed into the O2 had primarily come to see.

“For all the doubters, hello,” he said following the win. “I’ve just picked up this. You’re not doubting me anymore.”

Littler was marginally off his game in the first half and later admitted he had needed the toilet since the second leg. Relieving himself combined with some practice off stage seemed to flip the match entirely and Humphries could not stay with him.

“It’s so good to win in front of my family and girlfriend,” added the teenager, who will play in New York next week before a family holiday to Disney World. “I’ve been practising really hard today. I’m a major winner now.

Luke Littler and Luke Humphries (Getty Images)
Luke Littler and Luke Humphries (Getty Images)

“It is 100 per cent the best night of my life. I went over to Luke and he said, ‘go and celebrate with your family’, and I did. I just burst out crying and hugged them All the emotions come out because my mum and dad, they put their own money into me, got me the sponsors I have today, and I can’t thank them enough.”

Only Phil Taylor has managed a nine-darter in previous finals history and, following his own perfect leg, Littler added: “I just thought to myself, ‘don’t do anything stupid, don’t let all your energy out’, so I gave myself a little ‘come on’ and I still had five legs to win.”

In the aftermath, Humphries, who readily admitted he was second best of the pair on the night, rightly labelled him and his rival the top two in the sport on current form.

“He played much better and he’s a fantastic player,” said the world champion. “Me and Luke are the two greatest players in the world right now. I love playing him and we’ll have many battles in the future. He deserved to be Premier League champion.”