Luke Littler secures play-off spot in Premier League Darts with victory in Aberdeen

Image caption, Luke Littler has reached the final in six of the fourteen weeks so far

  • Author, Callum Matthews
  • Role, Senior BBC sports journalist

Teenager Luke Littler secured his place in the Premier League play-offs by beating Rob Cross 6-4 in the final on night 14 in Aberdeen.

The 17-year-old’s victory was his fourth of the season and he has defeated the 2020 Cross World Champion in consecutive weekly finals.

Littler will be joined in the four-man play-offs at London’s O2 Arena on May 23 by world number one Luke Humphries, who has secured his place due to the remaining matches.

Warrington-born Littler is eight points ahead of world champions Humphries and is well placed to take top spot with just two weeks to go in the regular season.

“Now that I’m ready, I can just play with a free throw. I play to win, but if not, it’s about getting ready for London,” Littler told Sky Sports.

When asked if he is the best player in the world right now, Littler replied: “No. I don’t know who that is.”

Despite not believing he is, Littler is in phenomenal shape.

Littler was scratchy in his quarter-final against Nathan Aspinall, surviving match darts and a checkout rate of just 24% to claim a win in the final leg.

Annoyed by the audience’s continued whistling, he ran to the side of the stage and silenced them after sealing the victory.

However, his semi-final performance was scintillating as he brushed aside 2023 world champion Michael Smith to win 6-1.

Littler averaged 110.1 and hit six of seven doubles, reaching his fifth nightly final in six weeks.

He exchanged breaks with Cross twice in the first six legs, before claiming the ninth leg against the throw to move to within one.

Cross, keeping his play-off hopes alive, missed double six to force a decider before Littler hit his favored double 10 to secure victory.

Elsewhere, Smith gained two points over Aspinall and Michael van Gerwen as the race for the final two play-off spots intensifies.

However, Gerwyn Price is out of contention after withdrawing from night 14 due to a pinched nerve in his back.

In the final weekly round in Sheffield on May 16, fourth place becomes fifth and that could well determine the last place.

Premier League Darts Night 14 results

Peter Wright 4-6 Michael Smith

Luke Littler6-5 Nathan Aspinall

Michael van Gerwen 5-6 Rob Cross

Luke Humphries bye (Gerwyn Price withdrew due to injury)

Premier League darts table

Premier League Darts format and points system

Premier League Darts is played over 16 initial weeks in the competition phase, with quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final each evening.

Each of the eight players is guaranteed to face the other seven in the quarter-finals in weeks 1-7 and 9-15, with the matches from weeks 8 and 16 off the table. It means we will finish fourth versus fifth in Sheffield on the final night of the league stage, with the play-off spots potentially on the line.

Players earn two points per quarter-final win, an additional point if they win the semi-final and five for winning the night.

The top four players after the group stages will advance to the play-off night at London’s O2 Arena on May 23, with the first facing fourth place and the second facing third in a best-of-19 leg match. Then follows the final, the best of 21 legs.

If players have the same number of points after the 16 weeks, places will be determined based on nights won and then matches won.

Playing order Premier League Darts Evening 15

Michael van Gerwen against Gerwyn Price

Luke Littler vs. Peter Wright

Luke Humphries vs Rob Cross

Nathan Aspinall vs. Michael Smith