Luke Littler was agonisingly beaten by Michael van Gerwen in the final of Premier League Darts night two in Berlin. The teenager missed two darts at his favourite double 10 to clinch the match and the £10,000 weekly winner bonus on Thursday, with Van Gerwen responding in ruthless fashion to put valuable points on the board.
Littler held his own on the Premier League‘s opening night last week in Cardiff, where he lost to the evening’s eventual winner Michael Smith. The teenager has now followed that up with an outstanding performance in Berlin.
‘The Nuke’ won eleventh-leg deciders against Rob Cross and reigning world champion Luke Humphries to set up a blockbuster meeting against Van Gerwen, which certainly didn’t disappoint.
As with Littler’s previous two matches, the clash with ‘Mighty Mike’ went the full distance. And the high-quality contest eventually went the way of Van Gerwen after his prodigious opponent missed two darts at double to come out on top.
Littler notched a break of throw in the very first leg of the match, before hitting a 171 to leave double 16 and take a 2-0 lead early on. Van Gerwen weathered the storm, however, and the three-time world champion was averaging a dizzying 114 by the seventh leg of the tie.
Although MVG was on top form, Littler had opportunities to streak into the distance, including a missed dart at tops to break his opponent and throw for the match. It eventually went to a thrilling decider as Van Gerwen and the 17-year-old traded maximums right to the death.
Littler started his Berlin trip with a maximum against Cross, before firing in a pair of ton-plus checkouts to take a 3-1 lead. ‘Voltage’ took it the distance, but Littler came through to set up his third clash with Humphries since losing the World Darts Championship final last month.
‘The Nuke’ will have been brimming with confidence after defeating ‘Cool Hand’ at the Dutch Darts Masters and in Cardiff. Littler went a break behind in the early exchanges, with Humphries relentlessly pummelling the treble, but he hung in there to force a decider, smashing in a 162 to leave double 10 which, unlike in the final, went at the first time of asking.