Raymond van Barneveld set up a mouthwatering clash with teenage sensation Luke Littler after fighting through to the last 16 of the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Van Barneveld was far from at his best but still beat Jim Williams 4-1 to secure a Saturday clash with 16-year-old Littler, who was born 21 days after the Dutchman won the most recent of his five world titles in 2007.

Van Barneveld told Sky Sports: “I will love to play Luke Littler. When I was 16 I was playing with Lego and Playmobile, we didn’t have the internet or whatever.

Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2023/24 – Day Twelve – Alexandra PalaceRaymond van Barneveld eased past Jim Williams at Alexandra Palace (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“This guy is amazing, and I am looking forward so much to that game. He is a quality player and I can’t wait to meet him tomorrow night.”

Van Barneveld was not required to find top gear against Williams, a former BDO runner-up who finished with a higher average but managed to hit only seven of his 28 doubles.

Having nudged into a 3-1 lead and moved one leg from victory at 2-0, Van Barneveld missed five match darts and allowed the Welshman a glimmer of hope as he pulled back to level in the set.


But backed by the sizeable Ally Pally crowd, Van Barneveld nailed double eight for the match to book his place in the last 16 for the first time since 2018.

He added: “I was lucky to win this afternoon’s game. You have to be clinical and if you’re 2-0 up (in legs) you have to hit that double 16, and I let him back in at 2-2.

“The crowd were helping me but in the end you’re the one who throws the darts. I was in control but I felt a little bit nervous and I’m happy to go through.”

Paddy Power World Darts Championship 2023/24 – Day Ten – Alexandra PalaceSixteen-year-old Luke Littler is next up for Raymond Van Barneveld (Steven Paston/PA)

Littler, the world youth champion, is the youngest player to reach the last 16 after reeling off three impressive victories, including averaging over 106 in his first round win over Christian Kist.

Jonny Clayton joined Van Barneveld in the last 16 as he saw off Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski 4-2, while Australia’s Damon Heta edged to a 4-3 win over Dutchman Berry van Peer.