Thu, 13 Jun 2019
Luke Humphries Ref: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
NEWBURY darts player Luke Humphries believes his break from the sport will benefit him in the long-term.
The 24-year-old returned to the development tour in spectacular fashion over the weekend by beating Greg Ritchie 5-4 in the final of Event 11 in Milton Keynes.
It’s the ninth time that Humphries has tasted victory on the development tour and the Newbury man is targeting a strong second half of the year.
Humphries has been in-and-out of the sport recently after opening up about anxiety and struggles with mental health issues.
He said: “I haven’t been practicing a lot because I have been going through a lot, so I didn’t really expect to get that win, but it was important.”
“I think the time off has helped my mental awareness of playing darts and I feel that I made the right decision.
“It was right for my mind and sometimes a little bit of time off can help.”
The World Championship quarter-finalist whitewashed Jordan Singh in the opening tie before beating Justin van Tergouw and former youth champion Corey Cadby.
And in the clash with Singh, Humphries was inches away from hitting a nine-darter.
“It was my second leg back,” he said. “I have missed about eight or nine since being on the PDC tour and I think it was the closest I have come.”
Humphries then saw off George Gardner, Robbie Lickiss, Justin Smith and Callum Matthews before he edged out Ritchie in the final.
Humphries hit a 14 dart-leg before scoring two 13-dart legs to take a 3-1 lead in the final, only for Ritchie to hit back and level the score.
Another 13-dart leg saw the 24-year-old regain the lead, but Ritchie hit back with a finish of 76 to force a final leg.
However, Humphries held his nerve to hit double-top and claim the £2,000 prize money on Sunday evening.
He said: “It’s not as busy as the start of the year, but if it comes to stage where I don’t feel great, I will pull out if I need to.
“However, I am hoping after the weekend’s win I won’t need to as I coped really well and I am in a really good place.”