Littler and van Veen will contest the 2023 PDC Winmau World Youth Championship

Gian van Veen and Luke Littler, who won Sunday’s star-studded 96-player field in Milton Keynes, will compete in the 2023 PDC Winmau World Youth Championship final in Minehead.

Van Veen and Littler placed first and second on the 2023 Development Tour Order of Merit, respectively, and they furthered their reputations in the Marshall Arena with a string of brilliant performances.

The round-robin format of the £60,000 competition started with the division of 96 of the best young athletes in the globe into 32 groups of three, with the group winners moving on to the knockout stage.

Littler and van Veen will contest the 2023 PDC Winmau World Youth Championship
Littler and van Veen will contest the 2023 PDC Winmau World Youth Championship

Surprisingly, 14 of the top 32 seeds lost in the first round, including the trio of Lewy Williams, Rusty-Jake Rodriguez, and Owen Roelofs, three of the 11 PDC Tour Card Holders competing.

Along with 2019 finalist Adam Gawlas, a semi-finalist in the UK Open in March, last year’s runner-up Nathan Girvan also failed to get past the opening round.

The Cazoo Players Championship Finals will be held on Sunday, November 26 at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, but it was Van Veen and Littler who stole the show to advance to this year’s finale.

In a thrilling semifinal matchup, Van Veen, who has won six Development Tour championships this year, defeated his countryman Wessel Nijman to go to a mouthwatering final versus Littler.

In a match full of talent, the Dutchman averaged over 103 to defeat Nijman, only seconds after knocking out the defending champion Josh Rock in the quarterfinals of another long encounter.

Van Veen also defeated Dominik Gruellich and Dylan Slevin 6-3 in the elimination rounds after cruising through the group stage with convincing victory over Jack Male and Tavis Dudeney.

“I’m over the moon. It was such a great day,” reflected Van Veen, who has taken by the PDC circuit by storm over the last 12 months.”I did it the hard way but I knew that was going to be the case. I was really happy with my game today, and I played well all weekend, so I’m very happy.”This gives me so much confidence. I think it’s going to be a fantastic game against Luke and I’m really looking forward to Minehead.”


Littler, on the other hand, will become the youngest player to participate in a World Youth Championship final after defeating Sebastian Bialecki in the semifinals while average nearly 102.

In his matchup with Bialecki, the 16-year-old star wired double 12 for a nine-darter, defeating the Pole’s back-to-back 12-darters to seal a 6-3 triumph.

The previous day, Littler beat South Africa’s Stefan Vermaak in a rout to advance to the round of 32 after surviving a scare in his first round-robin match against Kalem Marsh.

The JDC World Champion dominated Owen Maiden 6-1 there, averaging 99, before defeating the second seed Keane Barry and Jacob Gwynne to carry on his extraordinary run.

“This is a massive achievement in my career,” admitted Littler, a winner of five Development Tour titles in 2023.”It’s my first year on the Development Tour and my ambition at the start of the year was just to win one Development Tour event, and now I’ve finished the year as runner-up and I’m in the World Youth Championship final!”It’s been tough but I’m so happy to get through. I love playing on the big stage in front of a crowd, and hopefully it will be packed out when I play against Gian.”

On his route to the semifinals, Bialecki defeated 2020 champion Bradley Brooks 6-1, but only after mounting an incredible comeback to defeat Daniel Perry in the round of 32.

The former UK Open quarterfinalist fell behind 5-0 at one point before pulling off a miraculous comeback by converting skin-saving checkouts of 148, 164, and 141.

While Nijman continued his scorching form on Sunday by achieving three ton-plus averages, he was left to regret missing match darts against Van Veen in the thrilling conclusion.


With a 106 average in the last 16, the 23-year-old defeated former finalist Nathan Rafferty before eliminating Owen Bates with a 102 average in the final eight.

Nijman lost to Van Veen, but he can be consoled by the fact that he qualified for the World Championship and received a PDC Tour Card for the 2024–25 season on Saturday.

On November 26 at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, the 2023 Winmau World Youth Championship final will take place as Van Veen and Littler compete for the £10,000 top prize.


2023 PDC Winmau World Youth Championship

Sunday August 20, Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes

Last 16

Josh Rock 6-4 Jarno Bottenberg

Gian van Veen 6-3 Dylan Slevin

Owen Bates 6-4 Moreno Blom

Wessel Nijman 6-0 Nathan Rafferty

Luke Littler 6-3 Keane Barry

Jacob Gwynne 6-3 Jurjen van der Velde

Jitse Van der Wal 6-3 Viktor Tingstrom

Sebastian Bialecki 6-1 Bradley Brooks



Gian van Veen 6-5 Josh Rock

Wessel Nijman 6-2 Owen Bates

Luke Littler 6-3 Jacob Gwynne

Sebastian Bialecki 6-5 Jitse Van der Wal



Gian van Veen 6-5 Wessel Nijman

Luke Littler 6-3 Sebastian Bialecki



Gian van Veen v Luke Littler

Best of 11 legs

To be played on Sunday November 26 at Butlin’s Minehead Resort