Dartoids World


Thursday, May 30, 2024
Column HR456

What?  Yes, superlatives.

According to the dictionary there are over 100 superlatives used in everyday language. “A superlative is used to show that someone or something has more of a particular quality than any other of their kind.”

The odds are better than even that before the year is out everyone one of those 100, plus a few more, will be used to describe Luke Littler.

It will be a necessity.

In today’s culture the words “amazing” and “unbelievable” are used so often that their impact has been weakened in the word salad that spews forth in everyday conversation.

Luke Littler is playing a different game of darts than anyone else. In his mind he has his own outshot chart – one that used to be exclusive to exhibitions. When used in a proper game the opponent would whine that he was being “shown up.”

Not with Littler. If Einstein believed “pie(s) are square” when we know they’re round, then Littler’s approach shots to a double make sense too.

Many have memorized outshots. For instance, with T20 left it’s t20, 20 d20. For Littler it’s d20, d20, d20.  He uses the Red Bull for a set up like an Italian Chef does garlic.

Littler’s most recent display was in the Premier League playoffs last week in London at the 02. Littler had the #1 seed – facing Michael Smith who had defeated Nathan Aspinall on the last night of regular Premier League play for the final playoff spot.  In the best of 19, Littler and Smith each held when a pair of 12-darters gave Littler the lead at 4-1. The score would evolve to 6-2 when Smith couldn’t convert from 50 with 7 darts. Littler tossed in a stinker as Smith got his 3rd leg in 21 darts.

After winning a 4th leg, Smith missed a dart at d20 allowing Littler to check T07 (19, t16, d20). Smith got a 5th leg in a smooth 11-darts before Littler closed the show for the 10-5 win.

Luke Humphries would prevail by a similar 10-5 score over Michael van Gerwen. Humphries built a 7-2 over a faltering MvG.  van Gerwen got a couple to narrow to 8-4 with a T05 (50,15, d|20) and 8-5 in 12-darts. Humphries got to 9 with 125-finish of 25, t20, d20. He closed the show with an unspectacular 16-darter after MvG missed one at 32.

With Luke Littler stealing much of the thunder the other Luke (Humphries) is kind of lost in the shuffle. If there was no Luke Littler then the darting world would be talking about Humphries who, like Littler, is something exceptional – bad timing for Luke “The Elder.”

The Premier League final started out as just another final that promised much but turned out to be kind of ordinary.  After 10 legs, the pair were level at the break. There were some very good legs but no WOWs. Upon further review, Humphries’ T16 to level at 4 with Littler on 20 would qualify as a minor WOW.

Humphries hit an 11-darter with Littler adding a 12 and 13. In the race to 21 there was a pause for the cause after 10 legs.

Those that follow darts area keenly aware that there are times that the break causes a change of momentum, especially for new players. Concentration is broken and “Old Mo” changes playing shirts. Consider that both Lukes had a helping of the break at the World Championships which Humphries won.

Littler had the darts after the break and opened with a T80 which Humphries mirrored with one of his own. The 14,000-plus fans when bananas. Littler followed with yet another T80 which raised the volume even louder, if that was possible. Humphries solid ton didn’t diminish the crowd fever – especially when Littler tossed his first dart into then t20, then followed with t19 and d12 for the 9-darter.

This was the first 9-darter in a Premier League final sine Phil Taylor’s in 2010.  Well, “Boy Howdy” sports fans!

Littler would use a pair of 12- and a 14-darters to build a 9-6 lead at which point the fat lady was preparing to sing.  Humphries fought back to 9-7 when he used 12 darts with a stylish T34 stylish finish of t18, d20, d20. A pair of Littler 13-darters finished the match.

It’s difficult at this time to find fault with either Luke. One can though fault Littler for the worst haircut in the history of the world since the 15th Century.

It’s oft said that “getting to the top is easier than staying on top.”  The Gov, Roger “the Dodger” Dixon points out that this may be much more difficult in this era…

“I agree about the 2 Lukes dominating at the moment, but in 1981 there were about 20 full time professional art players, today around 600 in Britain alone and about half that elsewhere. The standard is rising all the time, and a 9-darter is hit at least once a week. I think staying at the top is going to get tougher all the time. No chance of anyone getting near Taylor’s record.”

You’ve got to love this post: “I have nothing against young Luke, but I prefer the old players who probably didn’t have the so-called natural talent like John Lowe, Bob Anderson, Jocky Wilson and Phil Taylor – who had other jobs and had to work a lot harder to get where they were.” 

The Sultan of Sittingbourne, Dave Whitcombe, set the lad straight. “If Lowe and Wilson had turned pro at 17 that would have been about 1962 and 1967 respectively. What pray was about then to turn pro into? The first big tournament was the World Masters in ’74, and the World Champs didn’t start till ’78. So, at 17 or even 27 Lowe and Wilson had nothing to turn pro into.” 

The Colonies will get a chance to watch the two Lukes when the PDC World Series invades the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden on Friday and Saturday. The PDC is sending an all-star contingent of the two Lukes joined by MvG, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross and Peter Wright. The North American group includes Matt Campbell, Jules van Dongen, Danny Lauby, Stowe Buntz, Alex Spellman, David Cameron, Jeff Smith and Adam Sevada.

The event will be shown on PDC TV for those that can’t be there.

Tune in on Saturday for a spectacular, gigantic, monumental, extraordinary, stupendous, unbelievable, astonishing, breathtaking, heart-stopping “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT” about Darts in Paradise.

Stay thirsty my friends.




  • Howie Reed

    Astute, often controversial, and always humorous, the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed (a former rodeo cowboy and advertising executive), is heralded as the Dean of Darts Chroniclers - the most prolific and widely followed writer ever about our sport. He goes back decades with the legends and knows where the skeletons are buried (just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers!). Here are four well-known facts about the Old Dart Coach: 1) he is a Republican, 2) he loves the ladies, 3) he can drink most anybody under the table, and 4) he throws darts as bad as Dartoid.

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