Thu, 10 Jan 2019
Luke Humphries has moved up Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
LUKE Humphries has set his sights on becoming the world youth champion after a memorable few weeks at the World Darts Championships.
The 23-year-old from Newbury reached the quarter-finals of the showpiece event at Alexandra Palace, but fell short of the semi-finals after losing 5-1 to world number six, Michael Smith.
However, Humphries took a lot of the headlines last month as he beat world number 17, Stephen Bunting and last year’s champion Rob Cross on the way to the last eight.
As a result of doing so well in the competition, Humphries moved from 90th in the world to 57 – a personal best for the former Trinity School pupil.
He said: “It’s huge because my goal before the tournament was to reach the last 64 within two years and now I am ranked 57th.
“It is one of those competitions where a good run can be crucial.
“It took me from 90th to 57th and now everything that I win is going to keep adding onto the Order of Merit.”
Humphries believes that a strong year in the sport could increase his chances of rising further up the world rankings.
“I could possibly reach the top 32 if I have a good year, which would be amazing because the run to the quarter final helped me,” he said.
Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Attention has turned his way since the world championships and Humphries has made it his aim to become youth champion in his final year.
He reached the last 32 stage of the championships – for players aged between 16 and 23 – last year, but lost 6-2 to Callum Rydz.
The competition was eventually won by 24-year-old Dimitri Van den Burgh, who Humphries eliminated at Alexandra Palace.
He said: “I want to show my potential by having some good battles with some of the top players because that can show people the capability I have.
“Winning a pro-tour event would be great and even possibly becoming world youth champion because winning that would be incredible.
“I also plan to get back onto the world stage again and quite possibly qualify for a few of the majors,” he added.
Humphries played on the big stage five times before losing to Smith and with Alexandra Palace being a sell-out of 2,500 in every one of his games, the Newbury player relished the atmosphere.
He said: “I didn’t feel any nerves and I must admit, the louder the crowd was, the better it was for me because I started to play better.
“Four out of the five performances I had on that stage showed what I can do on the biggest stages and if I can do it in the world championships, I can do it anywhere.”