LITTLER DENIES NINE-DART PRICE TO TRIUMPH IN MANCHESTER

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Luke Littler celebrated back-to-back nightly wins in the BetMGM Premier League with victory on a memorable night in Manchester on Thursday.

Littler clinched his first nightly win of the competition in Belfast last week, and the teenage phenom followed that up with Night Ten success to move top of the Premier League table.

The Warrington wonderkid defeated Gerwyn Price 6-3 to claim the spoils at the AO Arena, after the Welshman had raised the roof with a sensational nine-darter in his semi-final victory over Michael Smith.

Earlier in the night, Littler booked his place in the semi-finals with a 6-3 success against Michael van Gerwen, defying a mid-game fightback to secure a third successive win over the Dutchman.

The 17-year-old then overcame Stockport star Nathan Aspinall in the last four, converting stunning 131 and 136 checkouts on his way to a hard-fought 6-4 victory.

This set up a fascinating showdown against nine-dart star Price, and Littler threatened to replicate the Welshman’s heroics in the opening leg of the final, kicking off proceedings with six perfect darts.

Back-to-back 13-darters powered Littler into an early lead, and although Price recovered from a sluggish start, the teenager wrapped up victory with a 100.48 average to extend his winning run to six matches.

“The atmosphere was amazing, and I’m just really glad I won,” reflected Littler, who has enjoyed a dream start to his debut campaign.

“I think I’ve definitely settled into the Premier League now.

“In the first five to six weeks I won my first game but I kept losing in the semi-finals, although winning last week gave me so much confidence coming into tonight.

“I was watching Gezzy in the semi-finals and he was 4-0 up averaging 123, but I just made sure I focused and I saved my best performance until last.

“There’s still six weeks to go, so I’ve got to still keep plugging away, and hopefully I will make the Play-Offs.”

Price performed magnificently to leave Manchester with three points to his name, producing ton-topping averages in wins over Peter Wright and Smith.

The 2023 runner-up defied a 109.52 average from Wright to prevail in a staggering quarter-final contest, averaging 107.88 and pinning six of his eight attempts at double to advance to the last four.

Price then powered his way through to the Night Ten showpiece with victory over Smith, producing the first nine-darter in the Premier League since his brace of perfect legs in Belfast back in February 2022.

Smith moved to within two points of the Play-Off places with an impressive 6-3 win over Luke Humphries in the quarter-finals, defying a late rally from the world number one to triumph.

Elsewhere, Aspinall leapfrogged Van Gerwen into third spot with victory over Rob Cross in the evening’s opener, producing a ton-plus average to secure his fifth straight win over the 2018 World Champion.

The BetMGM Premier League continues in Birmingham next Thursday, as the Utilita Arena plays host to Night 11 of the darting roadshow.

Littler will begin his bid for a third consecutive nightly win against Cross, as Humphries aims to return to winning ways against a resurgent Wright.

Price and Smith will renew their rivalry in the West Midlands, while Van Gerwen and Aspinall also collide in a crucial clash between the two Play-Off contenders.

The 2024 BetMGM Premier League will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2024 BetMGM Premier League

Night Ten – AO Arena, Manchester

Thursday April 4

Quarter-Finals

Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Rob Cross

Luke Littler 6-3 Michael van Gerwen

Michael Smith 6-3 Luke Humphries

Gerwyn Price 6-4 Peter Wright

Semi-Finals

Luke Littler 6-4 Nathan Aspinall

Gerwyn Price 6-3 Michael Smith

Final

Luke Littler 6-3 Gerwyn Price

 PointsNights WonMatches Won+/-Legs WonLWAT
Luke Littler23213+1711134
Luke Humphries22313+3010841
Nathan Aspinall18111+29934
Michael van Gerwen17310-18329
Michael Smith1519-58625
Rob Cross1106-67216
Gerwyn Price1006-127123
Peter Wright402-254313

Night 11 – Utilita Arena, Birmingham

Thursday April 11

Quarter-Finals

Peter Wright v Luke Humphries

Rob Cross v Luke Littler

Gerwyn Price v Michael Smith

Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall

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