Luke Littler has Premier League darts streak ended after Wayne Mardle raised concerns | Other | Sport

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Luke Littler‘s streak of Premier League victories came to an abrupt end in Birmingham as Michael van Gerwen finally halted the 17-year-old’s incredible run. Littler had won each of the previous two meetings but was denied a third in as many weeks after Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle raised concerns about his temperament.

Littler edged past Rob Cross with a 6-5 scoreline in the quarter-finals but was not performing at his best for large parts of the match. He was struggling to find trebles early on and grew increasingly hot-headed after Cross won two of the opening three legs.

After being left frustrated by a bounce-out while trailing in the fourth leg, Littler angrily threw his last dart at the board without too much precision. Mardle, on commentary duties for Sky Sports, suggested that Littler was in danger of losing focus as he struggled to contain his visible fury.

“I think his head has gone for a second,” said Mardle. “He was annoyed at the second dart falling out and the third dart was just thrown. Luke Littler has just got to watch himself here and recompose. I’m not sure he’s actually composed, he’s just throwing and they’re actually going in. He’s lost his mind for a second.”

It did not take long for Littler to settle down before rallying back in style, hitting a nervy double nine with his match dart to reach the last four. He went on to maintain his strong record against Luke Humphries with a 6-5 win, during which he attempted two nine-darters but fell short on both occasions.

Littler raced into a 4-2 lead but a late surge from Humphries took the game to a deciding leg, with both players on five each. It was The Nuke who prevailed on double 14 to register his sixth straight win over Cool Hand and set up a showdown with Van Gerwen in the final.

It was a tight affair in the opening six legs, with neither player giving an inch as they traded blows in the early exchanges. Van Gerwen moved within sight of victory when he broke Littler with a double 10 before holding his throw in the next leg to claim the spoils.

Littler stayed at the top of the Premier League table despite the result and looks almost certain to make the playoffs at the O2 Arena in May. He will be desperate to keep picking up plenty of points over the coming weeks, with momentum set to play a huge part in deciding who goes away with the top prize.

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