Luke Littler hit a nine-darter as he won his first European title on his debut with an 8-7 victory over Rob Cross in a thrilling final at the Belgian Open in Wieze.

The 17-year-old produced the perfect leg to move 6-5 ahead and, despite losing the next two, fought back to emerge victorious against the former world champion.

Littler’s victory included six maximums compared to his opponent’s five in a see-saw battle.

Cross averaged 108 for the match and Littler 104, but it was the latter who collected the £30,000 winner’s prize.

Littler, who also hit a nine-darter when winning on his World Series debut, said afterwards: “I’m just glad to get over the line.

“I hit the nine and then lost the next two legs, so I’m just glad to get over the line. It’s always good to be involved in a good game.

“Like Rob said just then, I bring the best out of him and he’s thankful for that, so we always push ourselves to the last leg.”

Cross, competing in his ninth European Tour final after beating Gerwyn Price 7-3 in the last four, could not hide his disappointment, but saluted the victor.

“He really pushes on,” Cross said. “I wanted a big display and got a big display. To be fair I missed a few chances, but I’ve loved this crowd this weekend.

“This young man has got such a bright future in front of him. The nine-darter was impeccable, amazing. This boy’s special.”

Earlier on Sunday, Littler beat Damon Heta 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals and after seeing off Jermaine Wattimena 6-2, he overcame Ricardo Pietreczko 7-3 in the last four.

Littler’s maiden European Tour win was tarnished following stinging criticism of him by Pietreczko after the German’s semi-final defeat.

The pair appeared to exchange words on stage after their match and Pietreczko later said in a post on Instagram: “So I appreciated him a lot, that you can play such a game at such a (young) age, but I hope the arrogance punishes him.”

Littler responded on Twitter by saying: “No idea what I did wrong, no idea what he said, something then don’t do it again.”