16-Year-Old Luke Littler Falls Short Against Luke Humphries at World Darts Championship

Luke Littler, a 16-year-old darts prodigy who surged to fame in recent weeks after breaking into the world’s top players’ ranks, has had an incredible journey, to put it mildly. Littler lost to Luke Humphries (7-4) on Wednesday in the World Darts Championship finals, after breaking records and defeating opponents twice his age to become the youngest contender to reach that far.

He has defeated even the most skilled darts players in recent weeks, including past world champions. In the finals on Wednesday, Littler will take on world No. 1 Luke Humphries.

In addition to Littler’s recent rise to prominence, there has been a renewed interest in the relatively obscure professional sport—better known as a beloved past time at bars. Here’s all you should know about the World Darts Championship and Luke Littler.

Luke Littler: who is he? 

Known by his nickname “The Nuke,” Littler created history last week when he became the youngest player to ever advance past the semifinals of the World Darts Championship. This week, he broke that record by making it all the way to the championship. 

Prior to Littler’s arrival, Kirk Shepherd, the 2008 runner-up, held the record for being the youngest World Championship finalist at age 21.

In the Tuesday semifinals, Littler stunned onlookers by upsetting former world champion Rob Cross 6-2. After Littler’s triumph, Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle said, “He’s got the darting world at his feet.” The child was “probably the most naturally gifted player I have ever seen in my life,” Mardle said of the young person.

“I have no words, it’s just crazy to think I’m in a World Championship final in my debut,” Littler said to Sky Sports. “I was happy winning one game but I could go all the way.”

“Rob told me ‘God bless, you’re a step away, do it,'” he went on to say. Six years ago, Cross won the World Championship on his debut.

Littler advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating five-time world champion Raymond Van Barneveld on Saturday. Littler named Van Barneveld, 56, who has been playing competitively since 1984, as one of his idols.

Littler, who lives in the English town of Warrington, began shooting darts on a magnetic board when he was just 18 months old. He’s been playing “non-stop” since then, he told the BBC.

Who exactly is Luke Humphries?

Since October, the 28-year-old, nicknamed “Cool Hand Luke,” has swept major titles at the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts, and Players Championship Finals. After a 6-0 victory over Scott Williams in Tuesday’s semi-finals, he was named world No. 1 for the first time in his career.

Moreover, despite Littler’s relative inexperience, Humphries did not relax his guard against his youthful competitor in the finals.”Nothing will bother him. If he plays like he did today, tomorrow won’t phase him at all, therefore I’ll probably have to play the game of my life,” Humphries said before of the matchup to Sky Sports.

The World Darts Championship: What is it?

The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Darts Championship, which was first staged in 1994, is one of the major competitions on the darting calendar. It usually begins in December and lasts into the new year. 

The darts tournament has been held in Alexandra Palace, a historic entertainment venue, since 2008. The mood there is usually more glass-clinking than nail-biting.

Following the entertaining custom of the competition, fans have attended the matches dressed in bizarre costumes, such as elves, dinosaurs, or King Charles. The majority of them have been drinking pints throughout the evening.

One fan told CNN, “You’re just cheering when something good happens; you’re not supporting anyone.” “Sport comes second.”

However, darts is a serious sport that demands skill for elite players. 

almost flawless accuracy. Each player begins with 500 points, and the goal is to be the first to subtract all of those points to zero. To do this, they throw three darts each round, and the sum of the three scores is subtracted from their overall amount of points based on where the darts land on the board. Players must finish the game by throwing a double, or receiving the same score twice in a succession, in order to win.

The winner of the PDC World Darts Championship will receive £500,000 ($631,000), while the runner-up will receive £200,000 ($253,000). The semi-finalists will get £100,000 (126,000 USD).

The PDC World Darts Championship winners also get the Sid Waddell Trophy, named for the late commentator known as the “Voice of Darts.”

Even if Littler did not win the championship this year, it is clear that his career is only getting started. As he put it, “All day, in the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking, ‘Get this won now because he’s gonna dominate world darts soon!'”

Littler, on the other hand, is already anticipating the next tournament. “I just want to go and win it,” he remarked after the match. “I might not get to a final for another 5–10 years, we don’t know.”