Luke Littler beats his own idol Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 to reach the World Darts Championship quarter finals… with 16-year-old guaranteed £50,000 pay-out after another Alexandra Palace masterclass

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The ‘Prince of the Palace’ is not satisfied with his title. Instead, Luke ‘The Nuke’ Littler wants to be crowned the ‘King of Ally Pally’ after reaching the World Darts Championship’s quarter-finals on Saturday night.

Given the dominance with which he swept aside a legend of the game in Raymond van Barneveld, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see who will deny the newest wonderkid on the block his wish.

Now guaranteed at least £50,000, this was an outrageous performance from the Warrington phenomenon who some are saying is now the most famous 16-year-old on the planet. 

Van Barneveld was added to the growing list of humbled in a 4-1 loss, following on from Littler’s wins over Christian Kist, Andrew Gilding and Matt Campbell in the previous rounds.

Michael van Gerwen was the youngest winner of this PDC event at 24 in 2014 but Van Barneveld suspects Littler can smash that record, telling his opponent on stage: ‘You can go all the way.’

Luke Littler produced a masterclass to reach the World Darts Championship quarter-finals

The teenage phenomenon (left) defeated legend of the sport Raymond van Barneveld (right)

The teenage phenomenon (left) defeated legend of the sport Raymond van Barneveld (right)

Fans inside Alexandra Palace have been in awe of Littler, who has dominated on the doubles

Fans inside Alexandra Palace have been in awe of Littler, who has dominated on the doubles

Littler was born 20 days after Van Barneveld defeated Phil Taylor 7-6 in the greatest World Championship of all time. There are even videos of the English youngster, at three years old, copying his counterpart’s arms wide celebration in his living room.

That made Saturday night all the more special for Littler as he faced the 56-year-old Dutchman he describes as his idol. 

After averaging 105, Littler said afterwards: ‘It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what to say. I’ve done it. I fancy myself. I do fancy myself. Let’s focus on Brendan.’

That is Brendan Dolan, the 50-year-old Northern Irishman nicknamed ‘The History Maker’. His next objective is to stop something historic from happening.

Seeing as Littler is so good with numbers, perhaps that is the best way to sum up his newfound fame. He had 4,000 followers on Instagram at the start of this tournament but 134,000 as of Saturday night; 7.8million views of a picture of him opening his presents on Christmas morning, posted on social media by his mum, Lisa; two starstruck England internationals in Declan Rice and Aaron Ramsdale who stopped him for a selfie in his hotel lobby; one offer from a PR firm to give him ‘free kebabs for life’ if he can become world champion.

Littler raced into a three-set lead and showed no signs of nerves against one of his idols

Littler raced into a three-set lead and showed no signs of nerves against one of his idols

He attacked at the oche and never gave Barneveld chance to settle and get into his groove

He attacked at the oche and never gave Barneveld chance to settle and get into his groove

Five-time World Darts Champion van Barneveld was left stunned by the 16-year-old sensation

Five-time World Darts Champion van Barneveld was left stunned by the 16-year-old sensation

Dozens upon dozens of television interviews, too, which might have unsettled more than a few teenagers. 

But sensing that Littler was special, the Junior Darts Corporation prepared him for becoming mainstream by having him conduct media chats while he was trouncing everyone else his age, hence his relaxation in front of camera. 

There was certainly no indication of nerves as he walked on stage, nailing a 180 with his second throw of the match en route to taking the opening set.

There was a wry smile from Van Barneveld when Littler took the second and third sets. As John Parts remarked on commentary, Littler looked as if he knew the local kebab shop was closing and did not want to miss out on his trademark celebratory meal.

Yet at 2-2 in the fourth set, Van Barneveld won the deciding leg, making sure he would at least avoid the ignominy of a whitewash.

The fifth set likewise went to 2-2 and this time, Littler was throwing first. Needing 170, his first two throws landed in treble 20. With Van Barneveld trailing on 273, however, he did not go for bullseye.

He has guaranteed at least £50,000 in prize money, and will double that if he wins again

He has guaranteed at least £50,000 in prize money, and will double that if he wins again

Littler has shot to stardom in recent weeks after the impressing at Alexandra Palace

Littler has shot to stardom in recent weeks after the impressing at Alexandra Palace

Instead, he threw for 20. There were boos from the crowd who wanted a big finish but Littler tapped his head, as if to say: ‘I know what I’m doing.’

That he does. With a single dart, he nailed double 15.

There were no tears upon victory. He will save them for if and when he wins the Sid Waddell Trophy and the accompanying £500,000 cheque. But first, Dolan awaits.

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