Published on 29 March 2024 at 19:00

After a rollercoaster night of darts at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Luke Littler has found himself in a precarious situation in the BetMGM Premier League table, with his chances of reaching the top four and qualifying for 'Finals Night' looking too close to call right now. Will the 17-year-old sensation manage to continue his landmark debut professional year and qualify for the playoffs on his Premier League debut? Or will the more experienced names edge out the Warrington wunderkind out this season?


'The Nuke' blew away his competition on the latest night of Premier League action, first ending World Champion Luke Humphries impressive three night win streak in Thursday night's opening clash to prevail 6-5.


Another World Champion awaited in the semi-finals in Michael Van Gerwen, but in a slightly easier win for Littler, he managed to enact a measure of revenge on one of the only men who, at that point, had a positive win-loss record against him.


And despite a slow start against a resurgent Nathan Aspinall, a sublime 125 checkout combination (Bullseye, Outer Bull, and another Bullseye) kick started the comeback that gave Littler his first full 5 points and nightly win, seeing him soar up the table in the process and break into the top four. 


Read More: 'Queen of the Palace' Fallon Sherrock Dominates PDC Women's Series In Wigan


The top four in the Premier League at the end of night 16 will qualify for 'Finals Night' at the O2, and Luke Littler currently finds himself in 2nd place in the eight man league. Since the 'tournament' format was introduced, 24 points has been the minimum amount of points need for reaching 'Finals Night'.


Having only tasted defeat in the quarter final stage twice in this year's Premier League, one can predict that Littler isn't likely to defeat many more first round defeats for the rest of his league campaign. So currently sitting in 2nd place with 18 points, Littler would realistically only need six more points: the equivalent of three quarter finals on separate nights, or two semi-final wins on separate nights) to advance to the O2 in May for a shot at his first Major trophy. 


And who is likely to join Littler in reaching 'Finals Night'? Luke Humphries, after his three night win streak from weeks 6-8, is sat comfortably atop the table, four points clear of Littler and if history is any indicator, just one win away from qualifying on his very debut Premier League campaign.


The aforementioned Michael Van Gerwen, the greatest player in Premier League history and the reigning/defending champion, is due to bounce back from recent shortcomings (just one win from his last five gameweeks, which came in Belfast), and should never be excluded from the running. If MVG finishes 3rd and Littler finishes 2nd, the pair will play each other in one of the semi-finals on Finals Night, where Van Gerwen has only lost once at that stage of the competition (against Jonny Clayton in 2021).


And given the tournament form of the bottom three players (Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross), it's likely coming down to one of Nathan Aspinall or Michael Smith to secure that coveted fourth spot. Aspinall is the more in-form player at the moment, and cruelly just missed out on the top four last year by the number of night wins he had, but 'Bully Boy' Smith's best Premier League performances in recent years have come as the tournament approaches its climax, so it's truly a coin flip between the pair. 



By Jaspar Shepherdson 

(@jasparshepmedia on X/Twitter Instagram)


Image Credit: Darts Actueel on YouTube via Wikipedia

Add comment


There are no comments yet.