Teenage star Luke Littler will stick with his diet of cheese and ham omelettes and pizza as he tries to complete his history-making World Championship dream.

The 16-year-old debutant continued his amazing Alexandra Palace journey by becoming the youngest-ever finalist when he destroyed 2018 champion Rob Cross in the semi-final.

He is now on the cusp of producing one of the greatest sporting stories of all time, with new world number one Luke Humphries standing in his way.

Littler has made history with some unconventional preparations, with his love of kebabs also a theme of his run to the final, but it is working for him.

“I’ll keep doing what I have been doing,” he said. “I don’t wake up until 12, in the morning go for my ham and cheese omelette, come here and have my pizza, and then go on the practice board.

“It is what I have been doing every day – if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

Littler has already proved he is the real deal but produced his biggest statement yet as he downed eighth seed Cross 6-2 in stunning fashion.

He bombarded the treble-20 for 16 180s, produced three 130-plus checkouts and averaged 106.05 in a nerveless performance.

“I haven’t got the words. It’s crazy,” he said. “I have just settled on that stage.

“It has not even sunk in yet. I have surprised myself.

“I have just got to stay focused and be Luke Littler. I have got to be mature and be myself.

“It would be unbelievable if I won it, I only wanted to win one match.”

He will come up against his toughest opponent yet in Humphries, who is the form player in the world.

The 28-year-old came into the tournament by winning three of the last four majors and produced one of the best ever performances at Ally Pally to whitewash Scott Williams 6-0 in his semi-final.

In doing so, he overtook Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith to become the new world number one – but he says becoming world champion would be more meaningful.

He said: “It feels amazing, I would never have imagined myself to be world number one and I did it in style, I was really pleased with the performance.

“I have always said world number one can last a number of months, world champion is forever.”

Luke Humphries shrugged off a sluggish start to his PDC World Darts Championship campaign despite a 3-0 win over Lee Evans at Alexandra Palace.

Third seed Humphries is seen as one of the strongest contenders for the title after overall wins at the World Grand Prix, Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals in recent months.

But he admitted he had been let off the hook by Evans, who hit a 170 check-out in the second set but hit only five of 24 checkouts.

Humphries told Sky Sports: “I was not at my best but the most important thing is it felt good, and the first game is always the toughest.

“I am through to the next round and I won’t play the same in the next round. I am not disappointed because I won 3-0 which is what I wanted.

“I feel like that is the hardest game in the whole tournament to get through, so I’m happy and in the next game I will be so much better than that.”

There was no repeat performance for Fallon Sherrock four years after she made history by beating Ted Evetts to become the first woman to win a match at the championship.

Sherrock took the first set against opponent Jermaine Wattimena, making his 10th appearance in the tournament, but fell away badly and lost the next three sets.

Sherrock admitted: “Obviously, I’m gutted with the result. I had spells when I played well tonight but I missed chances at key moments and they cost me.

“Full credit to Jermaine, he was the better player on the night and he punished me when I missed chances.”

Jim Williams shrugged off a mathematical blunder to whitewash Guyana’s Norman Madhoo and cruise into the second round.

Williams posted no score in the first leg of the third set when he wrongly checked out on 70 rather than his required 68 but still recovered to win all nine legs in a comfortable 3-0 victory.

The Welshman, who was the runner-up in the final BDO tournament in 2020, will next face former champion Peter Wright in the second round on Wednesday.

Matt Campbell claimed his first win on the Alexandra Palace stage after surviving a gutsy comeback from Lourence Ilagan to clinch a 3-2 win.

Campbell eased through the first two sets but missed double five to seal a 3-0 win and instead Ilagan checked out on 100 to take the set and prolong the match.

Another three-figure check-out saw Ilagan level the match, but Campbell came on strong in the deciding set, winning all three legs in a row, finishing with a flourish as he took the match with a 128 check-out.

Ricky Evans beat Simon Adams 3-0 while in the solitary second-round match played on Sunday afternoon, 14th seed Joe Cullen proved too strong for Darren Penhall as he also racked up a 3-0 win.

Also in Sunday’s late action, Florian Hempel came back from behind to beat young Irishman Dylan Slevin 3-1, while Niels Zonneveld beat Darren Webster by the same score.

Rob Cross believes he is playing the best darts since his 2018 title as he targets another World Championship crown.

Cross announced himself in style five years ago as he stunned Phil Taylor in the final to become world champion in his maiden outing at Alexandra Palace.

He has not been able to reach the same heights since, as he suffered a self-diagnosed “low period”, but he is looking back to his best in 2023, getting to two major finals.


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Although the silverware has eluded him, he thinks he is in the best shape he has ever been to claim a second title.


“It is the pinnacle of the game, when you win it you realise that,” Cross told the PA news agency.

“For me to win it again, I couldn’t put it into words. It’s that big. After winning it before, to lift it again would just mean everything really. This is the tournament when people look back and say how many World Championships did this guy win. It would mean everything for me.

“I would always like to win more, we are all pretty greedy and want to win. You can’t win them all.

“I’ve probably had a low period for 18 months and two years, so I could have done better there. But the way I have played this year, my performances seem to be getting better and I am in a better place than I was a couple of years ago.

“I am enjoying the game more and looking forward to it. This year for consistency I suppose and what I have achieved, I have played some really good darts.

“Performances are better, I believe I have played the best I have played since winning the worlds, since 2018 this is the most consistent.”

The 33-year-old Englishman would have had a major title to show for his form this year had he not run into an unstoppable Luke Humphries at the Grand Slam of Darts last month.

Humphries, 28, has also won the World Grand Prix and the Players Championship and will head to Alexandra Palace as the favourite.

Cross said: “I think he is favourite overall. Luke is very wise and is definitely up there with the best in the world.

“He will take everything in his stride, he is a great guy. He is calm and collected, I can’t see him going in there and panicking. He is playing too well. Whoever is going to beat him will have to play well.”


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This year’s tournament will see sponsors Paddy Power donate £1,000 to Prostate Cancer UK every time a 180 is thrown, and with over 900 thrown last year, Cross reckons 1,000 will be reachable.

“For me this campaign is just thrilling for everyone and the support you can give for such a good charity,” he added.

“We will try and hit as many 180s as we can, we always do. It usually goes up every year so it will be exciting if we can get up to 1,000, which would be a £1million.

“In this case I don’t think there is the awareness of it, one in eight men will suffer from prostate cancer. It will be great to get that reach out, it is a great cause.”

Peter Wright admits he “created a monster” by allowing Luke Humphries to claim his first major in October, but does not think the hottest player on tour will win the World Championship.

Wright missed three match darts to beat Humphries in the quarter-finals in Leicester, allowing the 28-year-old to take victory and go on to win the tournament.

He quickly followed that up by lifting the Grand Slam of Darts and the Players Championship last month, which means he will head to Alexandra Palace for the season-ending spectacular as favourite.

‘Snakebite’, who ended a near two-year major trophy drought by winning the European Championship recently, thinks it could be too soon for Humphries this year.

“He is favourite because he has won three out of the last four majors, and I won the other one,” two-time world champion Wright told the PA news agency.

“I was the only other person to get close to him. It’s my fault, I created a monster because I had three darts at the Grand Prix to beat him and that was his first major. If I’d done that things would have been different.

“He’s a great darts player but I think it is a little bit too soon. Yes, I think he will win the worlds but just not yet.”

Wright’s second world title won at the start of 2022 must seem like a long time ago for the 53-year-old, who has struggled for consistent form.


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He still remains confident he can become just the third person to win more than two world crowns and says his winning know-how gives him an advantage.

“I believe I can win it, I am not playing until December 20 so it gives me three weeks tinkering with my darts to make them 95 or 98 per cent perfect, that’ll do.

“There is potential to become a third-time world champion. That is in my sights and I am looking forward to it.

“It puts a lot of pressure off my shoulders to know I have won it twice. I think I have got a lot of advantage over a lot of the field.

“I am nowhere near my best at the moment, but I know what it takes to win. I decided to go and put the practice in and I went and won the European. I have put my focus on the Worlds, to be prepared for winning it one more time.”

Tournament sponsor Paddy Power have teamed up with Prostate UK and will donate £1,000 for every 180 thrown.

Wright believes there will be more maximums than ever before as a result and urged men to answer three simple questions to check their risk for a disease which affects one in eight men.

“It’s a great cause, the sponsor putting up £1,000 for every 180 hit, there was 901 last year and I think there will be more this year,” Wright added.

“I think players won’t switch down to 19, they will stay up there and try and get another 180 for Prostate Cancer UK. It affects one in eight men. I’m 53 so I need to be getting checked.”

:: It takes 30 seconds to answer three questions to check your prostate cancer risk. Do it now by clicking on the following link: prostatecanceruk.org/180-risk.

Luke Humphries continued his rise to the top of the darting scene by winning the Grand Slam of Darts and proving himself the most in-form player in the world.

Just six weeks after winning a maiden major title at the World Grand Prix, the 28-year-old followed it up with a second after he steamrollered Rob Cross in Wolverhampton, cruising to a 16-8 victory.

‘Cool Hand’ made waves on the European Tour last season but has transitioned that form to the PDC Tour this year and is now a real contender for World Championship glory at the end-of-year pinnacle, which begins next month.

Cross, who was gunning for his biggest title since 2021, will look back and think he did not do a lot wrong other than being unable to match Humphries’ unbelievable standard.

At one point ‘Voltage’ was averaging more than when he beat Phil Taylor to win the World Championship in 2018, and finished with an average of 103.61, but that was bettered by Humphries.

He averaged 104.69, threw eight 180s and operated with a 59 per cent success rate on doubles, which meant he lifted the Eric Bristow Trophy.

Humphries, who earlier beat James Wade in the semi-finals, was happy to prove a few people wrong and says he can get even better.

“It feels just as good, obviously the first one, nothing can ever beat that, the second one does feel good, especially with the way I was playing there,” he said.

“It was a really tough, tough game, it is a long gruelling slog today. We both played really well, it was a contrast from the semi-final to the final, I played much, much, better.


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“I was just happy to make a second final, so to pick up a second is fantastic. The European Tour is where I get all of my success, apparently I can’t do it on the big stage, but I can I promise.

“I feel like a new player, people have been telling me I have got no personality apparently but I don’t care, as long as I keep picking up trophies.

“I am a lucky boy, I have always dreamed of being up on this stage and winning. I am very blessed and lucky to be a two-time major champion, I just can’t believe it.

“I have been on a journey, it has not been easy. I have lost a lot of weight, battled a lot of things in my head to get these moments, these are the things that make me believe. I think I can get a lot, lot better.”

Cross would have been feeling confident after he landed the big fish in the third leg, with a majestic 170 finish, but Humphries kicked into gear and reeled off five successive legs, sealing a 7-2 lead with a 144 checkout.

Another three legs in a row soon gave him a 10-3 advantage as the triple-20 took a battering and Cross could do nothing but smirk at his predicament.

The lead was extended to 14-5 and there was no way back for Cross and Humphries wrapped it up.

Cross added: “The best man won on the night, he was quality. The best man won, no doubt about that. I’ve had a good week, I enjoyed it and we go again.

“To lose is a little bit hurtful but he was excellent, the best man won and that is all I can say about it.”

Luke Humphries is gunning for a second major title in two months after setting up a final showdown with Rob Cross at the Grand Slam of Darts.

Humphries won his first crown at the World Grand Prix in October and has brought his good form to Wolverhampton, beating James Wade 16-10 in Sunday’s first semi-final.

It was a tense affair for the majority of the match but he clinched victory by winning six of the last seven legs, including the last four, finishing with six 180s and an average of 95.8.

The world number four, who is looking a strong contender for the World Championship which begins next month, must get past Cross later.

The 2018 world champion has never been past the quarter-final at this event but put himself one win away from the title after ending Stephen Bunting’s good run with a 16-13 victory.

The pair were tied at 7-7 after 14 legs, but Cross reeled off three successive legs, including one on Bunting’s throw with a 110 checkout.

He never relinquished the lead after that and always held Bunting, who beat Peter Wright earlier in the week, at arm’s length.

If Cross were to win it would be his biggest title since winning the European Championship in 2021.

Luke Humphries claimed his first major title as he beat Gerwyn Price with a stunning performance to win the World Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old has been a star on the European Tour over the last 18 months, winning five titles, but has now transferred that to the PDC Tour.

He proved he belongs on the biggest stage after producing the performance of his life in Leicester, taking down the 2020 champion Price 5-2.

The foundations of the win were laid when he claimed 10 out of 12 legs, including a stunning 170 checkout, to move 3-1 clear and then he sealed his title with a sumptuous 138 finish.

Victory moves him up to fourth in the world and is the biggest title of a blossoming career, with a £120,000 payday.

Former world champion Price was the heavy favourite for a second Grand Prix crown, but could not keep up with Humphries’ heavy scoring.

And the triumph allows Humphries to give his son a special present on his first birthday on Monday.

“It is one of those feelings you can’t put into words,” he said. “I have imagined this moment all my career and to actually finally do what I have always dreamed of, you can’t put it into words.

“There are no superlatives to say, it’s unbelievable.

“Taking out 138 out under the most pressure that I have ever been under, just made the whole thing a lot better, there was no better way for me to win. I am so proud of myself.

“It’s my son’s birthday tomorrow, as much as he won’t know it his life has changed because his dad is a major champion now and that is quite massive.

“I would have loved to have him here, but he’s going to have a very good present, I’ll have to wrap the trophy up so he can see how great dad is.”

Price had to endure the usual hostility from the crowd, who were pro-Humphries in their support and will now be hit in the pocket after swearing during his on-stage interview.

“It’s one of those games, I am absolutely gutted but it’s what happens,” he said.

“I wish we could play these games in Wales, it’s frustrating sometimes. I didn’t help myself early on, Luke played fantastic, he’s a worthy winner. But I think I played better overall.

“He had a lot of support. I’ve got a good man cave to go back to, I don’t give a s**t.”

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