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Littler suffers Players Championship 3 exit to inspired Rydz

Luke Littler’s hopes of adding to his Players Championship success suffered a blow at Leicester’s Mattioli Arena on Monday with a quarter-final exit to Callan Rydz.

World Youth champion Littler, who won Players Championship 1 on debut last week, headed into the event having lost to Gerwyn Price in the quarter-finals of Premier League night three in Glasgow on Thursday.

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The Warrington ace took on Rydz, who produced an astonishing comeback from 5-0 down to defeat Daryl Gurney 6-5, surviving four match darts in the process to set up a last-eight meeting with the 17-year-old.

‘The Riot’ continued where he left off by surging into a 3-1 lead with Littler appearing visibly frustrated.

An unconventional 113 in the seventh leg kept Littler in the contest but an 11-darter from Rydz put him on the cusp of victory.

Littler survived a match dart before landing a haymaker of a 158 finish to make Rydz serve it out, but his opponent duly obliged thanks to another stunning 11-darter to complete a 6-4 win, firing in five 180s and averaging over 103.

Littler recovered from 5-3 down in his opening match to deny Keane Barry, after the Irishman spurned five match darts in a dramatic last leg.

He was far from his best against Cameron Menzies as well, with ‘The Nuke’ winning 6-3 despite missing 13 darts at doubles.

Littler went 2-0 up then 3-2 down, before he reeled off four legs on the spin to close out the win against Scotland’s Menzies.

He eased into the last 16 after upping his average to 95.25 in a 6-2 success against Dutchman Kevin Doets to set up a mouth-watering encounter against Dirk van Duijvenbode, who saw off Chris Dobey 6-1 to progress.

However, it was Littler who won through 6-4 thanks to a stunning 145 checkout against ‘Aubergenius’, averaging 101.34 in the process before bowing out to an inspired Rydz.

Where does the Premier League head next?

Michael Van Gerwen celebrates with the trophy after winning against Gerwyn Price in the final during the Cazoo Premier League Play-Offs. Photo credit should read: Steven Paston/PDC ..RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Image: Michael van Gerwen is the seven-time Premier League champion

Premier League Darts now heads to the Newcastle’s Utilita Arena next Thursday night.

Price stars on Night Four as he takes on Michael van Gerwen in a repeat of last year’s final, while Littler faces Peter Wright, Michael Smith goes up against Nathan Aspinall and Rob Cross battles world champion and No 1 Luke Humphries.

Fixtures: Night Four, Newcastle’s Utilita Arena, Thursday February 22

Quarter-finals
Michael Smith vs Nathan Aspinall
Rob Cross vs Luke Humphries
Peter Wright vs Luke Littler
Gerwyn Price vs Michael van Gerwen

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2024 Premier League Darts schedule

Night 4 Utilita Arena, Newcastle Feb 22
Night 5 Westpoint Exeter Feb 29
Night 6 The Brighton Centre March 7
Night 7 Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham March 14
Night 8 3Arena, Dublin March 21
Night 9 SSE Arena, Belfast March 28
Night 10 AO Arena, Manchester April 4
Night 11 Utilita Arena, Birmingham April 11
Night 12 Rotterdam Ahoy April 18
Night 13 M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool April 25
Night 14 P&J Live, Aberdeen May 2
Night 15 First Direct Arena, Leeds May 9
Night 16 Utilita Arena, Sheffield May 16
Play-Offs The O2, London May 23

Premier League Darts continues on Sky Sports on Thursday with Newcastle the next stop on the 17-week extravaganza all the way through to the Play-Offs at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday May 23. Stream Sky Sports Darts without a contract through NOW

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