- By Bill Cartwright
- BBC Sport
England's Luke Humphries won his first PTC World Championship title by defeating youngster Luke Littler 7-4 in the final at Alexandra Palace.
Littler, 16, was aiming to become darts' youngest world champion after a remarkable run to the final.
But Humphries, who became world number one on Tuesday, saw his challenge for the £500,000 first prize.
Trailing 4-2, the 28-year-old reeled off five straight sets to seal the victory.
“I can't put into words how good it feels,” Humphries told Sky Sports.
“In the back of my mind all day, I was thinking, 'Get this now, because he's going to dominate the world darts very soon.'
“That double eight [to win], my hands were shaking like crazy and it fell into me. I'm world champion and world number one, I can't ask for more.”
Humphries has now won four of the last five major televised tournaments in the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation).
Littler's progress on his World Championship debut has captured the public's imagination over the past three weeks and he produced another exceptional, composed performance in the final.
However, Humphreys' brilliance meant the youngster failed to complete what would have been a wonderful sporting fairytale.
Littler said: “I lost a lot of leg on my throw so Luke would break me, then catch and I'd be 2-0 down. [in the set].
“Fair play to Luke, he deserves it.
“I've made it to the final and I might not make another final for the next five to 10 years, we don't know, but I can say I'm runner-up and now I want to go and win,” added Littler, who has climbed more than 130 places in the world's top 32. .
As the first four sets were shared, Humphreys settled the two finalists quickly, with Littler finding his range by landing 142 and 120 in the second.
The teenager was seeded fifth for the first time and kept his more experienced opponent on the ropes as he raced to the sixth set.
But Humphreys got the impetus from 170 early in the seventh and took advantage when Littler missed a double attempt to lead 5-2, leveling the match with a 121 checkout on the bull before moving clear.
Littler scored himself a 170 checkout in the 10th set, but Humphreys held his nerve, sinking to his knees after hitting a shot at double eight to claim the biggest win of his career.
Humphreys hit 23 maximums and averaged 103.67 in the final, compared to Littler's 13 180s and average of 101.13.
Crewe-based Humphreys enters the World Championship as the in-form player of the game, breaking his major trophy duck with wins at World Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Players Championship finals.
At Alexandra Palace, her path to the final was not a straight one.
He had to win twice in deciding sets – and a sudden-death deciding leg in the case of the last-16 tie against Joe Cullen – and it was Humphreys' only wins in his quarter-final and semi-final victories over Dave Chisnall and Scott Williams respectively. Full display of his dominant recent form.
Wednesday's victory over Littler was his 19th in a row and, after steadily improving over the past few years, it firmly places him at the top of his game as world champion and world number one.
One step away from Teen Star Littler
Littler has earned £200,000 for his efforts at Alexandra Palace – a sensational financial windfall for a youngster who just finished his GCSE exams just months ago.
Littler, a PTC world youth champion who threw his first javelin at 18 months, had only played four senior matches in PTC premier events before the tournament, so his run to the final was particularly remarkable.
His ambition entering the tournament was to win a match and became the youngest player to do so at a world championship when he defeated Christian Kist in the first round.
He defeated two former PDC world champions, Raymond van Barneveld and Rob Cross, and won 25 of the 31 sets he played.
Even more impressive than his amazing ability on Och is how he handled the incredible interest in him and his story as the matches progressed.
Along with additional media commitments, Littler has been invited to Premier League football matches at Tottenham and Arsenal and has received messages of support from stars across the sporting landscape.
When the world championships began on Dec. 15, an unknown spearhead, Littler made it to stardom; It has become popular on social media, attracts a huge fan base and dominates the news agenda for broadcasters, print and online media.
Littler's semi-final win on Sky Sports Cross recorded a viewing figure of more than 2.3m, a record for Sky's world championships coverage, and it is unthinkable that that number will not be surpassed on Wednesday.