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Luke Littler V Rob Cross: PDC World Darts Championship Semi-Finals – Live

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Cross 2-5 Littler (legs 2-2) Cross hangs on again, hitting D18 for a 13-darter. He’s done very little wrong tonight.

Now Littler is throwing for a place in the World Championship final.

Cross 2-5 Littler (legs 1-2) Littler is one set away from glory beyond his wildest dreams! He takes out D8 for a 13-darter, having already missed one at double, and Rob Cross has the purest view from the precipice. He’s averaging 102 in the match, and he has been battered.

Cross 2-5 Littler (legs 1-1) Cross stays alive with a 14-dart hold, yet even then Littler has a dart at D12 to break. Cross has spent the last hour on a spin cycle.

Littler takes out 132!Cross 2-5 Littler (legs 0-1) If you’re a budding darts player, I would advise you to take up snooker. There’s nothing here for you, not for the next 30 years.

Littler has just held throw by taking 132 with two bulls and double 16. There’s nothing left to say.

The players are back after the break. Littler has the darts in the eighth set. Three holds of throw and he is in the World Championship final.

Littler averaged 114.17 in the seventh set. I’m sorry, this is obscene. Cross, the man who has made his fortune grinding more obviously talented players down, started this game flawlessly and was throwing for a 2-0 lead in sets. Littler sulked for about five seconds, then went into overdrive. Since that moment he has won 16 legs to Cross’s 8.

The word ‘unprecedented’ is wholly inadequate to describe what we’re watching.

“Hi Rob,” says Matt Burtz. “This is the only clip anyone ever needs when the sound of potential booing comes up.”

Littler wins the seventh set!Cross 2-5 Littler (legs 1-3) Luke Littler is one set away from a World Championship final. He is playing astonishingly well, and I haven’t a clue what to say. Even after making a Horlicks of 87, he holds throw comfortably. Cross walks off and pulls a funny face. He is the king of miraculous comebacks; this is surely beyond him.

Littler breaks and is throwing for a 5-2 lead!Cross 2-4 Littler (legs 1-2) Littler is pulverising Cross with the relentlessness of his treble-hitting. He misses two at D18 for a break, but Cross is on 170 and gets nowhere. Littler has the [redacted] to split double 16 so that he can throw at his beloved D10 – and he hits it first dart. My word.

Cross 2-4 Littler (legs 1-1) The speed of this game is dizzying for your humble liveblogger, so goodness knows how Cross feels. He’s back on 287 when Littler bulldozes his way to another 12-darter. He’s playing astoundingly well; it’s his best performance of the competition by a mile.

“I actually left the footy coverage for your breathless dart-based prose and I know you’re busy and all that,” says Shane O’Leary, “but I will lean in and ask you to ask the millions of people hanging on your every word… why not ask the guv’ of your local ‘Can we have a dartboard?’

“PS; I have scored 180 twice. Totally ratted on both occasions; First up, The Farmers in Purley, playing doubles, I ask my mate ‘Whatta we need?’ he says ‘A lot’. I bang out the 180 and jig around ‘Y’see that, Mike, eh, eh, eh?’ He is not impressed, ‘Bust, ya radge.’

“Second… last year, grudge match in my shed, playing Killer and I am only open on trebles, my oppo’ is ahead and delighted to point out that I need three treble twenties and he needs one treble anything. I fluke the 180 and leap into the air with the traditional ‘In your face’ victory speech, land badly, gash my knee on a stray nail, lashings of blood and medicinal Calvados all round. Wot larks.”

Cross 2-4 Littler (legs 1-0) Littler misses the bull for a 132 and a break, though the first 25 was a horrible blocker. Cross turns to his best friend, D18, and gives him a big pointy hug.

The averages in the sixth set

Cross 91.58

Littler 107.13

Cross is the man who breaks his opponent’s will; now a 16-year-old could be doing it to him.

Littler wins the sixth set and leads 4-2!Cross 2-4 Littler (legs: 1-3) Littler misses tops for the set, only for Cross to miss two at D16. Littler calmly takes a drink, ignores the ‘Luuuuuuuuuuuke’ chants and goes out with his second dart.

Cross 2-3 Littler (legs: 1-2) Littler’s scoring and cover-shooting are phenomenal. He misses D8 for a 130, which he set up with two more laser-focussed T19s. Cross is back in the 200s and Littler completes another 13-darter. This is wonderful.

Cross 2-3 Littler (legs: 1-1) Cross starts with five perfect darts, on his own throw, yet he still almost loses the leg. Littler misses two at tops for a break; Cross returns for a 13-darter. He’s back in this game, just about, and the next three legs could be pivotal.

Cross 2-3 Littler (legs: 0-1) Another 180 for Littler, who leaves tops after 12 and completes a 13-dart hold.

“I hope we all appreciate what we’re seeing,” says Gregory Phillips, “because we’ll never get to watch Luke Littler in his maiden worlds again, before life and darts and being 17 can grind him down.”

That’s a great point. It was the same with Kevin Pietersen in 2004-05. He’ll become a more accomplished player, but he’ll never be as exhilarating to watch as he is right now.

The match averages

Cross 104.25

Littler 102.29

Cross wins the fifth set!Cross 2-3 Littler (legs: 3-2) Littler misses a dart at tops for the set and Cross takes out 60 in two darts. There’s no celebration, just an almost melancholy sigh of relief. By heaven he needed that. I wonder if that Littler dart at tops will be his equivalent of MvG’s D16 to go 5-2 up against Phil Taylor in the 2013 final.

Cross 1-3 Littler (2-2) The ebb and flow of this game – sometimes subtle, sometimes a sledgehammer to the noggin – is a joy. Cross smashes a 180 on the Littler throw but Littler is still first to a finish: 132 after nine. He sets up a shot at the bull and then politely declines, hitting 18 to leave D16.

Cross pressures it by leaving 62. Littler misses all three at double – but then Cross misses two of his own and Littler does the necessary for a crucial 16-darter. Now Cross is throwing for the set. If he loses this deciding leg he’ll be in all sorts.

Cross 1-3 Littler (2-1) Cross has stemmed the tide for now. He almost takes out 144 on D18 but has time to return and clean up.

Cross breaks back!Cross 1-3 Littler (1-1) This is currently, by a distance, the best performance of Littler’s life. He hits a 12th 180 to take his average above 106 – but it’s the context of the performance, from being on the cusp of going 2-0 down, that makes it so special.

Littler’s monstrous scoring means he can afford a couple of missed darts at double. But then he misses again on his next visit and Cross, who was 202 points behind at one stage, takes out 138: T18 T18 D15. Littler nods respectfully and congratulates Cross.

Luke Littler reacts with dismay. Photograph: Ian Stephen/ProSports/REX/ShutterstockLittler breaks again!Cross 1-3 Littler (0-1) This is amazing. Littler hits two more maximums, his 10th and 11th of the match, to set up a 12-dart break on D8. At the moment he is taking an in-form Rob Cross to the cleaners.

There’s a break before the fifth set. Talking of great timing, Cross declining a shot at the bull in the fourth set brought to mind this glorious piece of commentary from Wayne Mardell.

Cross averaged 114.47 in that set and lost it. Littler averaged 112.28 and hit all three darts at double.

Cross’s match average is 108.16, Littler’s 103.88. He has the timing of a masmter opportunist like John Part.

Littler wins the fourth set and leads 3-1!Cross 1-3 Littler (legs 2-3) Luke Littler storms into a 3-1 lead with a nerveless 11-darter. It was a stunning leg of darts.

Littler 140

Cross 180

Littler 140

Cross 180 (on a nine-darter)

Littler 140 to leave 41 after nine

Cross misses T19 with his first dart and leaves 78 after nine

Littler hits single 9, takes a breath and pins D16 with a dart to spare.

He is utterly astonishing.

Cross 1-2 Littler (legs 2-2) The speed of this match is dizzying. Cross, who looks to be getting over his mini-slump, takes us to a deciding leg with a calm 14-darter.

Littler takes out 149!Cross 1-2 Littler (legs 1-2)

Littler’s first two visits are trebleless, allowing Cross to take the darts. This time he does go for the bull with Littler on 149 – but he misses and Littler returns to punish him with a devastating finish!

It’s only a hold, but it’ll feel like a break to both players.

Cross 1-2 Littler (legs 1-1) Hello! Cross declines a shot at the bull with Littler on 164. He has done it before, yesterday in fact, as he doesn’t love the bull, but it’s a helluva risk to take.

And it pays off. Littler doesn’t get a shot at double and Cross holds on D16.

Cross 1-2 Littler (legs 0-1) A brutal 11-dart hold from Littler, who has won six of the last seven legs. He’s pummelling Cross from pillar to post. I’d love to see his average since he had that mini-tantrum in the second set: I suspect it’s around 110.

Incidentailly, when Littler went that set-winning double, the crowd chanted “Luuuuuuuke” in the Joe Root/Ruud van Nistelrooy. As Wayne Mardle says on Sky, it sounds like they’re booing him. Not that it affected him, mind.

Littler wins the third set and leads 2-1Cross 1-2 Littler (legs 1-3) And now he’s in front! Both players missed darts at double, two in Littler’s case, before Littler returned to take out D10 with his first dart. Moments ago he was facing a 2-0 deficit; now he’s 2-1 up and has the darts in this set.

Cross 1-1 Littler (legs 1-2) A comfortable and much-needed hold for Cross. Now Littler is throwing to take the set against the darts.

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