Luke Littler discussed the prospect of ‘burning himself out’ after losing to Michael van Gerwen at the Dutch Darts Masters, with the Premier League Darts’ opening night just days away. The 17-year-old enjoyed a deep run in the Netherlands before coming up short in Saturday evening’s gripping final.
After beating Luke Humphries in the quarter-finals and Gerwyn Price in the semis, Littler faced Van Gerwen in a repeat of the Bahrain Darts Masters final earlier this month.
Littler won on that occasion but ultimately lost out in Den Bosch, where the Dutchman prevailed 8-6 in front of his home fans. “Hopefully I haven’t burnt myself out for the Premier League next week,” said Littler in the aftermath.
“But I’ll take this as match practice and it goes into my World Series ranking, but I can’t wait to go down to Cardiff.”
Littler once again performed at a level well beyond his years in the Netherlands, where he avenged his defeat to Humphries in the World Darts Championship final and outclassed 2021 world champion Price for the second time in the space of a month.
He averaged a staggering 106.71 against Van Gerwen – considerably more than the 34-year-old – but couldn’t convert when it mattered most. “I just went leg by leg, hold by hold, I took out 180s and he’d come back with one,” said Littler.
The teenager was a wildcard selection by tournament organisers as he’s currently ranked outside the world’s top eight. And their decision to call him up on the basis of his Alexandra Palace heroics now looks justified.
Littler’s Premier League campaign is set to start with a bang as he faces Humphries in Cardiff, with the pair now at one win apiece. The 17-week darts bonanza counts Belfast, Dublin, Rotterdam and London’s O2 Arena amongst its glitzy 2024 venues.