2024 UK Open: Damon Heta Knocks Out Teenage Talent Luke Littler

Damon Heta squared off against Luke Littler in a test of skill and resolve. Heta confronted not just Littler but also the fervent support from the crowd, predominantly behind the rising sensation. As Heta sought his inaugural major semi-final and Littler aimed for back-to-back semis, the match unfolded with a mix of intensity and brilliance. Ultimately, Heta's tenacity triumphed over Littler's spirited performance, marking a captivating chapter in the tournament's narrative.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-03-03

Wade McElwain

5 minutes read

Heta and Littler Face Off

Australia’s number one, Damon Heta, not only confronted rising star Luke Littler in the quarterfinals of the 2024 Ladbrokes UK Open but also battled against the overwhelming support of the 5,000-strong crowd solely there for Littler's spectacle. 


Like Ricky Evans in the previous quarterfinal, Heta aimed for his debut major televised PDC semi-final, contrasting Littler's quest for his second consecutive semi-final following his remarkable run to the 2024 World Championships final just two months earlier.

Fireworks at Butlin’s Minehead

The match ignited with fireworks as the 17-year-old sensation, Luke Littler, kicked off the proceedings with two flawless 180s. His dominance was evident as he clinched the first leg with an impressive 12-darter, although he narrowly missed the double in the subsequent leg, allowing Damon Heta to hold his throw. 


The intensity escalated as both players displayed extraordinary scoring abilities, maintaining averages well above 115 in the early stages, quickly captivating the audience and overshadowing the previous match's slower pace. Heta showcased his prowess with an astonishing average of 125.64 yet found himself trailing 3-2 due to Littler's equally impressive performance.



Image credit: PDC

As the match progressed, the phenomenal standard persisted, highlighted by a breath-taking 10-dart leg from Littler in response to Heta's dominant hold of throw, demonstrating the young prodigy's exceptional skill and composure under pressure.


At 4-4, Littler faltered slightly, missing a crucial dart at double 19. Seizing the opportunity, the Australian capitalised, securing the first break of throw in the match and claiming his initial lead. Displaying exceptional form, Heta continued to excel, maintaining his advantage by holding throw and extending his lead to 6-4.

Nail-biting Turns

Opting for a more conservative approach, Littler chose to set up double 20 instead of attempting the flashy bull finish with 161 remaining. However, he missed the subsequent three darts at double, providing Heta with an opportunity to further extend his lead. Heta capitalised on this chance, breaking Littler's throw for the second time, followed by another successful hold to surge ahead 8-4.


In a brief resurgence, Littler managed to claim the next two legs, breaking Heta's throw for the first time in the match. Yet, the question remained whether this marked the beginning of a potential comeback for the young contender.

Heartbreak for the 17-year-old

Heta broke Littler's throw once more, putting himself on the brink of a spot in the semi-finals. However, Littler fought back fiercely, breaking Heta's throw again and showcasing his unpredictability with an unusual checkout of 60 via double 20, then double 10. He repeated the same remarkable finish in the subsequent leg, narrowing Heta's lead to 9-8.


In the end, Heta's resilience proved decisive as he sealed the deal with a double 16, clinching victory over the valiant teenage sensation 10-8. Despite Littler's opportunities for a remarkable comeback, he fell just short of crossing the finish line.



Image credit: PDC

A Repeat of Morning Woes

As the curtain falls on the thrilling quarterfinal clash, it's evident that the rigorous schedule of the UK Open may have taken its toll on the 17-year-old prodigy. In a candid interview with SportsBoom.com the day before, he admitted his struggle with morning fixtures, revealing his discomfort with the demanding schedule. 


Nonetheless, this revelation does little to diminish the exceptional display from Damon Heta, who undoubtedly delivered the best performance of his career thus far. 

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.