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World Darts Championship: Teenager Luke Littler defeats Andrew Gilding to continue dream run at Alexandra Palace

Teenager Luke Littler makes it through to the third round after knocking out the experienced Andrew Gilding; the World Darts Championship runs all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 - we're back on Friday at 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Darts

Luke Littler at the World Darts Championship
Image: Luke Littler continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after recording a second win in as many days

Teenage sensation Luke Littler made it through to the third round of the World Darts Championship on his debut following a 3-1 win over UK Open champion Andrew Gilding on Thursday night.

The 16-year-old, who averaged an astonishing 106.12 in his demolition of former Lakeside Champion Christian Kist in the first round, continued his dream run on the Alexandra Palace stage by upsetting the experienced Gilding.

World Darts Championship: Thursday Evening Results

Andrew Gilding 1-3 Luke Littler (R2)
Danny Noppert 0-3 Scott Williams (R2)
Gabriel Clemens 3-1 Man Lok Leung (R2)
Damon Heta 3-1 Martin Lukeman (R2)

All you need to know about Luke Littler...

Littler was born in Runcorn, Cheshire, on January 21, 2007 and began playing darts aged nine.

He won the England Youth Grand Prix in 2019 and began to rack up tournament wins.

He became England Youth Open champion in 2021 and won his first senior title at the Irish Open later that year.

In 2022 he won the Welsh Open and this year notched further senior titles at the Isle of Man Classic, Gibraltar Open, British Open and British Classic.

The 16-year-old is a back-to-back JDC World Champion and reigning World Youth Champion. He doesn't turn 17 until January 21.

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Gilding nailed this 130 on the bullseye but still lost the opening set

Gilding produced a stunning 130 checkout to level up the first set but Littler sealed it in the decider thanks to a 13-darter, averaging 101.36 with 75 per cent on the doubles.

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Littler could not hold back his emotions after winning the second set

'Goldfinger' then squandered a pair of set darts to make it all-square with World Youth Championship Littler taking full advantage by landing double 16 with his last dart in hand to double his advantage.

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The 16-year-old continued his dream run at Alexandra Palace after upsetting Gilding

However, 53-year-old Gilding reeled off a hat-trick of legs to halve the deficit as the doubles evaded 'The Nuke'.

But the fearless Littler continued his remarkable run at the tournament by winning the fourth set 3-1 as he pinned double 10 to set up a meeting with Canadian Matt Campbell after Christmas.

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Littler plans to celebrate his sensational win over Gilding with another kebab!

"I think when I went two up I gave it a bit and lost all my energy," Littler told Sky Sports. "I was nervous as it is, I don't know how I got over the line but I've done it.

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"I said to myself this morning, but when I went 2-0 up I just put loads of pressure on my shoulders. But I've done it."

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Scott Williams was 'gutted' about missing out on a nine-darter but was happy with his win

Scott Williams came agonisingly close to an unorthodox nine-dart finish as he sealed a superb straight-sets win over seventh seed Danny Noppert.

Despite an opening 170 salvo from Dutchman Noppert, it was Williams who stormed into a 2-0 lead, and after taking first leg of the third set, 'Shaggy' struck six perfect darts before hitting treble 16, treble 19 but then landing his ninth dart millimetres below double 18 for what would have been the first perfect leg of this year's tournament.

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'Shaggy' just missed out on a nine-darter after just clipping the wire during his win against Danny Noppert

Williams, ranked 52nd in the world, didn't let it affect him, though, as he completed a 12-dart leg and he soon wrapped up the biggest win of his career with a neat 80 checkout.

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Gabriel Clemens pulled this 140 checkout out the bag en route to victory against Man Lok Leung

Last year's semi-finalist Gabriel Clemens sealed a 3-1 success over tricky Man Lok Leung with 53 per cent on the doubles and three ton-plus finishes (140, 120, 120) to set up a last-32 tie against Dave Chisnall.

Australian No 1 Damon Heta breezed past Martin Lukeman with a comprehensive display to send out a warning to his rivals.

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Damon Heta brings 'The Heat' in a bizarre walk-on for his clash against Martin Lukeman

'The Heat' took out 68 in the deciding leg to edge the opener and he steamrolled the second in three unanswered legs to double his lead.

Lukeman upped his averages to win the third and halve his deficit, but Heta quickly took control of the fourth set with two breaks to complete a 3-1 win.

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Cross says 16-year-old debutant Littler had no fear after his first-round victory against Christian Kist

Former champion Cross up and running at Ally Pally

World Darts Championship: Thursday Afternoon Results

Mickey Mansell 3-0 Xiaochen Zong (R1)
Luke Woodhouse 2-3 Berry van Peer (R1)
Madars Razma 3-1 Mike De Decker (R2)
Rob Cross 3-0 Thibault Tricole (R2)

Former World Champion Rob Cross got campaign off to a winning start in a comfortable victory against Frenchman Thibault Tricole in Thursday afternoon's session.

The 2018 champion, who has not progressed beyond the last-16 since his historic title victory against Phil Taylor in his debut year, took out a finish of 114 to secure the second set, having trailed his opponent by two legs initially, and then went even better with a 126 checkout en route to winning the final six legs.

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Rob Cross admits he wasn't at his best, despite coming through his second-round clash with Thibault Tricole

But while one Englishman progressed, another dropped out as Luke Woodhouse finished on the wrong side of a 3-2 thriller against Berry van Peer.

The Dutch debutant suffered two bruised ribs after falling down the stairs and almost couldn't practice ahead of his clash with 'Woody'.

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Luke Woodhouse and Berry van Peer traded blows with clinical checkouts in their thrilling encounter

Madars Razma, meanwhile, also impressed in his second-round match against Mike De Decker. The Latvian triumphed 3-1 to set up a post-Christmas clash with reigning champion Michael Smith.

Mickey Mansell had opened the day with what in the end proved a comfortable 3-0 win over Xiaochen Zong in the other remaining first round tie.

Steve Beaton
Image: Steve Beaton hopes to qualify for the World Championship next year and get the chance to step down on the biggest stage of all

In other news, Steve Beaton has confirmed his decision to retire from the PDC circuit at the end of next season.

"My full focus will be of course playing my best darts in 2024 in the PDC, and in 2025 I will be playing the World Seniors Darts Tour, which after turning 60 next April probably will suit me better," said 'The Bronzed Adonis'.

What's happening on Friday at the World Darts Championship?

Raymond van Barneveld at the 2022 PDC World Darts Championships (PA Images)
Image: Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld headlines the action on Friday at Alexandra Palace

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, Chris Dobey and Dirk van Duijvenbode headline the action at Alexandra Palace.

Live World Darts Championship

World Darts Championship: Friday Afternoon Fixtures

Brendan Dolan vs Mickey Mansell (R2)
Jose de Sousa vs Jeffrey de Graaf (R2)
Krzysztof Ratajski vs Jamie Hughes (R2)
Dirk van Duijvenbode vs Boris Krcmar (R2)

Elsewhere, Jose de Sousa, Krzysztof Ratajski, Brendan Dolan and Dimitri Van den Bergh will be among the high-profile names in action.

Live World Darts Championship

World Darts Championship: Friday Evening Fixtures

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Florian Hempel (R2)
Martin Schindler vs Jermaine Wattimena (R2)
Raymond van Barneveld vs Radek Szaganski (R2)
Chris Dobey vs William O'Connor (R2)

The sport's biggest event sees 96 players compete for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £2.5m in prize money at Alexandra Palace. You can watch all the action live on our dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.

Watch the World Darts Championship all the way until the final on January 3, 2024 - live on Sky Sports Darts. NOW Sports Month Membership: £21 a month for 6 months

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