Littler shines in Belfast as the Nuke wins his first Premier League night.

Luke Littler won his first nightly title in the 2024 BetMGM Premier League, defeating Nathan Aspinall 6-4 in Belfast’s Night Nine final on Thursday.

The adolescent wonder has had inconsistent results in the Premier League so far, but he returned to form in Northern Ireland, defeating World Champion Luke Humphries, defending champion Michael van Gerwen, and Aspinall.

Littler took the lead with a stunning 136 checkout in the first leg of the final under pressure, but Aspinall rallied quickly to lead 3-1.

Littler then drew level at 3-3 with a stunning 125 (bull-25-bull) finish against the throw, before the 17-year-old consolidated his lead and got within one point of victory at 5-3 with another leg against the darts.

Aspinall responded with a 70 checkout to cut the lead to one, but then missed a dart at D18 to force a deciding leg, allowing Littler to find D5 with his final dart in hand to win the £10,000 nightly prize.

Littler shines in Belfast as the Nuke wins his first Premier League night.
Littler shines in Belfast as the Nuke wins his first Premier League night. (Michael Cooper/PDC)

“I am so happy to win my first night,” reflected Littler, who moves up to second in the table.

“I changed my throw tonight, just taking that little bit of extra time. I practiced a lot more tonight and it has paid off.

“We’re halfway [through the season] and there is still a lot of work to do, but to win one night going into the second half of the season has really got my hopes up and gives me confidence.”

However, Littler’s path to victory in Belfast was not smooth.

He had to first break Luke Humphries’ run, which had seen the World Champion win the Premier League for the past three nights in a row.

When it came down to a decisive leg, Littler hit a 68 to hand Humphries his first Premier League defeat in ten games, eliciting a raucous cheer.

Van Gerwen had shone in his quarter-final match against Michael Smith, averaging 105.79 as he came back from 4-2 down to win.

However, the Dutchman was unable to match Littler’s performance, as the teenager cruised into the final with a 6-3 victory, average just under 100 and sinking a magnificent 110 finish along the way.

28/3/24: BetMGM Premier League. Night Nine – SSE Arena, Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper
Michael van Gerwen v Luke Littler

Littler then made further history when he defeated stablemate Aspinall in front of an 8,000-strong audience at the SSE Arena.

“The crowd were unbelievable tonight, just like they have been in the previous eight weeks,” added Littler.

“Now I am just really looking forward to the big one [in Manchester] next week.”

Littler’s victory moves him up to second place in the table with 18 points, four behind leader Humphries.

Despite the defeat, Aspinall has had a successful season, reaching his fourth final in six weeks.

The Stockport star is presently fourth in the leaderboard with 16 points, three ahead of Smith in fifth.

The World Matchplay champion advanced to the final in Belfast after defeating Gerwyn Price 6-5 in his opener and beating Peter Wright 6-2 in the semi-finals.

Wright reached the last four after defeating Rob Cross in his opening game, marking only his second win in the Premier League this year.

2024 BetMGM Premier League

Night Nine – SSE Arena, Belfast

Thursday March 28


Luke Littler 6-5 Luke Humphries

Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Michael Smith

Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Gerwyn Price

Peter Wright 6-3 Rob Cross