Luke Littler: Leighton Bennett targets epic rivalry with fellow darts wonderkid

Leighton Bennett made waves by winning the BDO World Darts Youth Championship in 2019 at just 13 years old (Picture: Getty Images)

Leighton Bennett has already played fellow teenage darts sensation Luke Littler ’50 or 60 times’ and now wants an epic rivalry to build in the professional ranks.

18-year-old Bennett came through the notoriously difficult Q School last week to book his spot on the PDC tour for the next two years.

The teenager has long been on the radar of darts fans, winning the BDO Youth World Championship at just 13 in 2019 and beating Phil Taylor in an exhibition at the same age.

However, he admits he fell out of love with darts a bit after bursting onto the scene and his progress has not been quite as rapid as expected since then.

He is now a professional, though, and feels he is getting back to the standards he showed as a kid when he was attracting so much attention.

Boom Boom Bennett says Littler’s stunning performances, including the run to the World Championship final earlier this month, have helped him get his game back in order.

‘Seeing Luke do so well at Ally Pally gave me the kick up the backside I needed,’ Bennett told The Daily Star. ‘When I was 12 or 13, I was probably was playing the best darts of my life – but this week has seen glimpses of the old me. I’ve got the old confidence.’

Leighton Bennett

Bennett came through the perilously difficult Q School last week (Picture: PDC)

The Nuke and Boom Boom have long battled it out in youth tournaments and now they are both professionals, Leighton hopes they can build a rivalry for the ages over years to come.

‘I’d love it if Luke and I became a new Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld sort of rivalry,’ he said. ‘I think I’ve played Luke 50 or 60 times. I’ve got a better record over him, only because I was a bit older probably. Over the past two years he has battered me more. I beat him last time though, I need to say that obviously.

‘I wanted to get back to where I knew I could be and, to be honest, it’s come much sooner than I thought. Although I’m so glad with everything I did before with Phil Taylor and the exhibitions when I was 13, I did lose a bit of love for the sport. I’ve got back into it like mad and now winning a Tour card has made me want to succeed even more than ever before.’

MORE : Luke Littler: PDC chief exec speaks out on ‘huge duty of care’ for teenage star

MORE : Ronnie O’Sullivan sends message to Luke Littler: ‘I’d definitely choose to do things differently.’

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