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Luke Littler inspires new darts fans who ‘loved watching final’

A father whose daughters, aged nine and 12, became hooked on darts thanks to the “inspirational” Luke Littler’s exploits, has said they were “sad” he lost the World Darts Championship final but “loved” watching it anyway.

Littler, 16, took the sport by storm by reaching the final at Alexandra Palace, where he was beaten by world number one Luke Humphries on Wednesday night.

“I hope I have caught lots of young people’s minds to get on a board and just try it out,” he said afterwards, and that has certainly been achieved.

Lyla Edwards, nine, enjoys the darts final
Lyla Edwards, nine, enjoys the darts final (Adam Edwards)

Polly said: “He’s only 16 and the rest of them are much older, it’s amazing,” while Lyla added: “I think he’s inspirational, and it just shows that you’re never too young to do something – except driving.”

Mr Edwards, a civil servant, said: “At least it helps them with their maths.”

After the final, which Littler lost 7-4, Mr Edwards said of his daughters: “They were sad Luke Littler lost, but they loved watching the final all the same. They knew how well he did to even be there.

“They’d definitely be up for giving (darts) a go, yes, though the little one is so sporty she’d have a crack at anything!”

Others, meanwhile, are ready to teach the next generation the art of darts.

Peter Breen, 37, said his daughter Lucie Breen, nine, has been “amazed” that “someone so young can be so good at darts”, prompting her to ask for her own set of arrows.

Mr Breen, from Glasgow, said he has started to play in a local darts league, adding it has been “amazing” that his daughter has also taken an interest and can learn the sport alongside him.

“As I’ve been watching the darts over the last few weeks, I’ve been amazed at how well Luke Littler has been doing for someone so young,” he told PA.

“I explained to (Lucie) that he was only 16, and at first she couldn’t believe he was 16.

“She couldn’t believe someone so young can be so good at darts.

“I play in a local league and got a dart board for Christmas so she asked if she could have her own darts to learn the game with me.”

Michael Hollenbeck, 45, meanwhile told PA his 12-year-old son Brody Hollenbeck has also been encouraged to play darts after watching Littler, adding that he has been using a dart board in their garage at home “every day”.

Michael Hollenbeck with his son Brody
Michael Hollenbeck with his son Brody (Michael Hollenbeck)

“I try to pass on as much information that I can to him and I am encouraging him as it helps with his maths as well.

“I have had a dart board in the garage for over a year and this is the first time he is going to play on it even by himself.

“I don’t know if there are any clubs local to me, but (I) will have a look and see what is local to us and see what he thinks about trying the sport properly.”

After the final, Mr Hollenbeck said his son “loved the game and thought Luke Littler played great, but Luke Humphries played amazing and he loved his 170 checkout.”

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