Luke Littler withdraws from darts final as teenage star reacts to mixed Premier League debut

Luke Littler withdraws from darts final as teenage star reacts to mixed Premier League debut

WATCH NOW: Luke Littler reacts to his nine-darter at the Bahrain Masters

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 02/02/2024

- 12:50

The 17-year-old has decided against playing in the final of a youth tournament

Luke Littler has pulled out of the final of a youth darts competition that he was set to play this weekend.

The teenager was in line to face 14-year-old Joseph Westby in Milton Keynes on Sunday but has decided to withdraw.

Littler made his Premier League debut on Thursday, beating world No 1 Luke Humphries in a repeat of the World Darts Championship final.

However, he lost to night one's eventual winner Michael Smith at the semi-final stage, meaning he collected two points from his first appearance.

Luke Littler

Luke Littler has pulled out of the final of a youth competition


Littler won the hearts of the nation at Alexandra Palace at the beginning of the year with his record-breaking run at the age of 16.

He then beat Michael van Gerwen in the final of the Bahrain Masters to win his maiden professional title two days before his 17th birthday.

Littler lost to Van Gerwen in the final of the Dutch Darts Masters a week later but his form proved his run at Ally Pally was not a one-off.

The youngster has not qualified for this weekend's Masters in Milton Keynes but he was still set to play at the tournament's venue.

The final of the Junior Darts Corporation's Super 16 competition will take place on stage before Sunday's afternoon session at the Marshall Arena.

Littler had qualified for the final and was due to play against Westby, three years his junior.

However, the PDC have confirmed that Littler has decided to withdraw following his busy start on the professional tour.

Littler beat Cayden Smith in the semi-final of the tournament last November and it will be 16-year-old Smith who replaces him this weekend.

Littler is now set for a few days off before he prepares for night two of the Premier League in Berlin next Thursday.

Reacting to his opening-night performance, he wrote on X: "Proud to make my Premier League debut. Plenty more to come over the next few weeks."

Littler's absence in Sunday's final may come as a disappointment to 14-year-old Westby.

Keith Brunt, the director of Blackburn Youth Darts Academy, said in January that he was looking forward to facing Littler.


Luke Littler

Luke Littler was set to play against 14-year-old Joseph Westby this Sunday


Brunt told the Daily Mail: "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity really, because in no other JDC event has a final ever been played where a kid is playing now what is a professional player like Luke.

"[Westby's] excited. Obviously, he knows it's going to be a challenge. He's going to work hard to prepare which he is doing. He is practicing three hours a day.

"He's confident and he's looking forward to it. He knows what Luke's like as a player.

"He knows he has got a challenge on his hands but he is up for it, and he is fairly confident which is great for his age.

Luke Littler

Luke Littler had a mixed first night in the Premier League


"He's only been at the academy for about a year and a half.

"He's been playing darts for about two years. He's progressed and developed really quickly on a really fast scale due to having natural talent.

"Out of all the kids I've ever come I've come across, he's one of the best I've ever seen."

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