Luke Littler frustrated after 'something switched' during Premier League loss to Michael Smith

Luke Littler frustrated after 'something switched' during Premier League loss to Michael Smith

WATCH NOW: Luke Littler confronted by opponent during Belgian Darts Open

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 21/03/2024

- 22:29

The teenager was unable to add to his tournament points tally on Thursday

Luke Littler suffered a rare quarter-final defeat on night eight in the Premier League on Thursday, losing 6-4 to Michael Smith in Dublin.

The 17-year-old has now dropped out of the top four in the table, with Mark Webster claiming 'something switched' during his defeat.

Littler had won six of his seven quarter-finals in the tournament before Thursday's trip to the Republic of Ireland.

He had racked up 13 points and sat third in the table despite not yet picking up a nightly win in the four-month-long competition.

Luke Littler

Luke Littler was beaten in his quarter-final on night eight in the Premier League


Littler took the early initiative on Thursday, claiming the first break and moved into a 3-1 lead.

But Smith then won the next three legs to pull himself back into the match against the below-par teen.

Littler was struggling to hit the treble 20 in particular and at one point switched focus to treble 18.

Smith moved into a 5-4 lead, ensuring he would at least throw for the match.

But he then broke Littler for a second time to see out an impressive win for the 2023 world champion.

Littler looked subdued as he made his way off stage, failing to register any points for just the second time.

Former BDO world champion Webster noticed something changed in Littler's game after he went 3-1 up.

But the pundit says Littler must not let the defeat affect him ahead of next week's night in Belfast.

Webster said on Sky Sports: "He got 3-1 up and something switched. It wasn't as if Michael Smith blew him away.

"He got a bit slack and he was sort of working on his technique in legs. It just didn't happen for him there.

"He can't dwell on that, he's still in a great position, he's got to go again next week.

"He'll be disappointed with the fact he was 3-1 up but he's in a good position in the league phase. He regroups in Belfast."


Luke Littler

Luke Littler was far from his best as he lost to Michael Smith in the Premier League


Littler now sits fifth in the table after Nathan Aspinall picked up two points with a win over Rob Cross.

Smith also leapfrogged Littler after beating Gerwyn Price in the night's second semi-final.

Webster was pleased with the Bully Boy's performance having struggled in recent weeks.

He said: "I was impressed with his demeanour throughout the match. When he went 3-1 down he threw a few loose darts and he split a 25 and made a mess of it.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith was too good for Luke Littler in his Premier League quarter-final


"There was a little head shake but it was like 'Let's get on with it'. The attitude of Michael Smith in this Premier League - it hasn't gone all his own way - but he's found a way to get himself 12 points.

"He's still in the mix tonight and I just felt he looked really focused.

"He can be really satisfied with the way he's got some of his points because it's not always been playing on his terms, he's had to dig deep.

"But he was excellent in that match and deserved to win."

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