Luke Lands With a Bang

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Teenage superstar Luke Littler produced a record-breaking performance on a night of history at the Paddy Power World Darts Championship

Littler – the fourth youngest player to compete at the World Darts Championship – registered the highest ever average by a debutant in the sport’s flagship event, on a remarkable night in the capital.

The 16-year-old celebrated Winmau World Youth Championship glory in Minehead last month, and he reaffirmed his credentials with a breath-taking display against former Lakeside Champion Christian Kist.

Littler sent out an early statement with a blistering three-leg burst, reeling off 14 and 15-dart holds, while pinning a clinical 91 combination on the bull to draw first blood with a 110 average.

The Warrington thrower continued his rampant run in the second stanza, following up legs of 13 and 14 darts with a fourth maximum and an 11-darter to move to the cusp of a famous victory.

Despite Kist’s spirited resistance, Littler refused to relent, kicking off set three with a brace of 180s, before backing up a 106 outshot with a 15-darter on tops to round off a dream debut.

“It was an amazing experience,” reflected Littler, who averaged 106.12, crashed in seven maximums and pinned nine of his 18 attempts at a double.

“I knew my practice was going well, but I didn’t think that I would take that on to the stage.

“To hit the highest average on debut at the World Championship – this definitely ranks at the top of my achievements so far. It’s unbelievable.”

The first round action will draw to a close in Thursday’s double-session, with Littler returning to the stage to face UK Open champion Andrew Gilding for a place in the third round.

2018 champion Rob Cross will also get his campaign underway, as world number seven Danny Noppert and last year’s semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens enter the fray.

2023/24 Paddy Power World Darts Championship

Wednesday December 20
Afternoon Session
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Radek Szaganski 3-2 Marko Kantele (3-1, 2-3, 2-3, 3-1, 3-0) (R1)
Steve Lennon 3-2 Owen Bates (1-3, 2-3, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1) (R1)
William O’Connor 3-0 Bhav Patel (3-0, 3-0, 3-0) (R1)
Ross Smith 3-1 Niels Zonneveld (3-0, 3-2, 2-3, 3-1) (R2)

Evening Session
3x First Round, 1x Second Round
Ryan Joyce 3-1 Alex Spellman (0-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0) (R1)
Richard Veenstra 3-0 Ben Robb (3-2, 3-1, 3-2) (R1)
Luke Littler 3-0 Christian Kist (3-0, 3-1, 3-1) (R1)
Jim Williams 3-0 Peter Wright (3-2, 3-2, 3-0) (R2)

Thursday December 21
Afternoon Session (1230 GMT)
2x First Round, 2x Second Round
Mickey Mansell v Xiaochen Zong (R1)
Luke Woodhouse v Berry van Peer (R1)
Madars Razma v Mike De Decker (R2)
Rob Cross v Thibault Tricole (R2)

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
4x Second Round
Andrew Gilding v Luke Littler (R2)
Danny Noppert v Scott Williams (R2)
Gabriel Clemens v Man Lok Leung (R2)
Damon Heta v Martin Lukeman (R2)


Images: Simon O’Connor / PDC


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