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Luke Littler Finishes Top of the Premier League Darts Table

On Thursday night Luke Littler became the youngest player to finish top of the Premier League Darts table and he’s done so by quite some margin. 

At just 17 years old, Littler overtakes Michael Van Gerwen as the youngest to ever finish top, with the latter being 24 years old back in 2013. 

At the time, Van Gerwen was seen as a prodigy and clear challenger/successor to the great Phil Taylor.

The darting world has quite literally exploded since Littlers emergence in late 2023 at just 16 years of age but his debut campaign in the Premier League really does cement his place as a true prodigy. 

Van Gerwen being looked at as a prodigy at 24 years old feels strange to think just a decade later. 

It’s a clear sign of how darts is evolving and growing in popularity each year.

We therefore wanted to take a look at whether there’s a trend of “successful” players getting younger in the Premier League or if Littler is just a true unicorn in the game. 

As you can see, for the first decade and a half, the Premier League was absolutely dominated by just two players.

Phil Taylor and Michael Van Gerwen. 

Taylor was a table topper for 8 consecutive years aged 44-51 and Van Gerwen went 7 consecutive years aged 24-30. 

It wasn’t until 2020 when the 2-man run finally ended. 

Glen Durrant, in his debut season finished in first position (just like Littler) and also went on to win the play-off night (TBD for Littler to do this) at the more mature age of 49. 

Now, it’s not been too many seasons since the Taylor/Van Gerwen dominance but interestingly, no one has managed to finish top in consecutive seasons since. 

More recent years look like this: 

There is likely a few possible reasons for this: 

  1. The level of competition between the top players is better than ever
  2. There is no longer a single player so good that no one can de-throne

In our opinion, the darts being thrown now are arguably the best standard we’ve ever seen. 

Nine dart finishes are expected in almost every tournament played and while the player averages aren’t shockingly higher, they are higher. 

In 2014, the weekly night average range was 93-99 with week 15 being the only week to record above 90 with a 99.57 average. 

This year, the weekly night average range was 94-100 with a 100+ average being achieved 3 times. 

In terms of the season average, there’s not too much in it. Across the 15 nights in the 2014 season the total average was 97.31. Across 16 nights in the 2024 season, the average was 97.81.

This shows that overall, players are slightly better when it comes to averages.

Van Gerwen is putting up similar averages in both campaigns but what is more noticeable is that when a top player goes off on a night now, they REALLY go off. 

The ceiling for the top players has nudged up a bit but the players aren’t necessarily better…

It just looks like it’s much more difficult for one player to be dominant week after week. 

The best example of this is Night 7 where Littler beat Van Gerwen 6-2. Van Gerwen had a 110.94 average for the game, reminiscent of his peaks in 2014, however, the main difference is that Littler beat him with a 114 average

Like we say, the standard is very similar when you look at the raw numbers but a decade ago, a 110 average was a guaranteed win.

With the caliber of player now, you can be in annihilation mode and still end up on the losing end!

Humphries alone averaged 100.46 for the entire campaign. He’s the World number 1 and that still wasn’t enough to finish top!

This brings us to the 2nd point from earlier. Currently, there’s no player good enough to dominate. 

This seems true and is likely due to the high standard of a handful of players each year.

There’s always been a close rival to the best player but now it genuinely seems that anyone is capable of beating anyone ranked inside the top 10 (or top 8 for the Premier League particularly). 

Based on this debut campaign by Littler though, and we don’t want to get too carried away… He has shown glimpses and the pedigree to be the next dominant force in darts. 

To top the table at just 17 years old, in his debut campaign is unprecedented. 

Many pundits have had to backtrack on the claims that “he’s not ready”, “he’s too young for the Premier League”, “you shouldn’t rush him or he’ll burn out”, etc… 

Well not only has he not burned out, he’s thriving!

When it comes to age, Luke Littler is an anomaly. 

Players to top the table have ranged in age from 24-51 years old so there’s nothing to show that age is an indicator of success in the Premier League. 

We did find it interesting though that lately no player can win consecutive years, whereas the previous trend was that a player would dominate year after year after year. It was the expectation. 

Our takeaway from 2024 though is that based on his age and debut campaign performance, Littler has the makings of a player that can repeat the trend of consecutive years at the top. 

If Taylor held on to it at 51 years old, that could be a lot of consecutive years for Littler 👀

Follow our previews and darts news heading into the Premier League Play-off Final on Thursday 23rd May.

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