Luke Littler says he has what it takes to return to the Alexandra Palace stage and win the World Darts Championship in the future after his historic debut dream ended in a final defeat to Luke Humphries.
The 16-year-old has set Alexandra Palace alight over the last fortnight and was one win away from producing one of the greatest sporting stories of all time by becoming the youngest world champion.
But he fell at the final hurdle as Humphries showed why he is the new world No 1 with a scintillating 7-4 victory, which saw him lift the Sid Waddell trophy for the first time.
He may have fallen just short of achieving sporting immortality, but this is just the beginning for Littler and his time will surely come, with many tipping him to become a multiple world champion.
He said: “It’s been unbelievable, I just wanted to win one game and come back after Christmas, that was the only goal I set, “No one likes losing, I have not really lost much, so to lose on that stage I can’t really be angry, the only thing I am angry about is that I lost a lot of legs on my throw and I was just chasing Luke.
“I have won six games here so why can’t I go and win seven here in years to come? I have gained a lot of experience and stage experience, I am in the top 32 now so I could be in everything.
“The past three to four weeks have been unbelievable and now I just can’t wait to go home.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t give the crowd what they wanted.”It is a landmark success for Humphries, who has now won four of the last five major tournaments after an incredible few months.
But the 28-year-old knew he had to seize his chance because with Littler around, he might not get many more.
“I could not put into words how great this feels,” he said. “I was thinking I had to win this one because he is going to dominate world darts. When I was on the brink of winning he was relentless.
“He is an incredible talent and I had to win this one tonight, he is going to win plenty that’s for sure.“We will never ever see the likes of him again at that age, to go up on the world stage and produce those darts in the final, I love the kid to bits, he is a real credit.
“I hope he plays in everything because it is special.”