Thu, 06 Dec 2018
NEWBURY will again have a representative in the World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace later this month when Luke Humphries enters the first round of the competition.
The 23-year-old has been handed a tie against Adam Hunt in the evening session on December 16, three days after the tournament begins in North London.
It’ll be the second time that Humphries will be playing in the sport’s showpiece as he made his debut in last year’s tournament against Canadian qualifier Jeff Smith.
“Last year was a bit too soon,” he said. “I only found out three weeks before the event that I was playing because I had won a development tour.
“Obviously, I was never going to turn it down – I was always going to play – and now this year, I know how it will feel like because I know how big it is and what preparations I will have to do.”
The former Trinity School student began playing the sport aged 13 before taking a break between the ages of 17 and 20.
However, Humphries regained interest and joined the PDC development tour.
He said: “I joined the tour to sort of break myself in and during my second year, I had five development tour wins which gave me my tour card.”
Humphries is currently sponsored by Modus Darts and will be playing in the Lakeside ‘Night of Champions’ on Saturday evening, his final exhibition before the Championships.
He said: “It’ll be a great experience and practice too because I’ll be playing against some of the best names in the world.
“Modus have helped me massively. They have let me get on with playing the games, while they sort everything else out.
“They’ve put me in a number of exhibitions, which has given me practice and stage experience against legends of the game.
“I have played Phil Taylor in two recent exhibitions and beaten him on both occasions,” he added.
But although Humphries is ranked in the top 64 of the PDC order of merit, he has targeted slow progression.
“I’m not going to push myself a lot,” he said. “In this game it’s all about making progression in small percentages.”
“The best way is to move forward a little bit every year and my personal aim is to stay in the top 64 of the world.”
However, Humphries has set a goal to be in the top 32 of the world within the next five years, but at the moment, his focus is to keep hold of his tour card.
Both of his parents were keen darts players when he was growing up and his priority is to keep making them proud.
“I’m not even 24 yet and I have already qualified for two World Championships and for me to be a professional darts player makes them proud.
“I am getting more stage experience now and I am feeling comfortable, so the nerves are certainly going.”
If Humphries is successful in beating Hunt on December 16, he will face world number 18, Stephen Bunting in the second round.