Fri, 06 Dec 2019
PIC: LAWRENCE LUSTIG/PDC
NEWBURY darts ace Luke Humphries has spoken of his joy after being crowned World Youth champion for the first time.
The 24-year-old secured a 6-0 win over the Czech Republic’s Adam Gawlas in the final of the event in Minehead on Sunday.
The Youth Championship is open to anyone between the ages of 16 and 23, and with Humphries being 23 when the tournament started earlier this year, he was eligible to enter.
He said: “It feels like the best thing ever because I am world champion and it’s been my dream since I started playing darts.
“Everyone dreams of becoming a world champion and I am happy to have that title around my name because for as long as I am playing darts, it will never leave me.
Sunday was the second time in three days that Humphries had taken part in a competition in Minehead, as he had faced Michael van Gerwen in the Players Championship finals on Friday.
Van Gerwen, who beat Gerwyn Price in the final of the competition, secured a 6-3 win over Humphries in the first round.
Although the 24-year-old was beaten, he felt his performance was something to be proud of.
He said: “I thought I played well and I felt I was unlucky to be 4-0 down during the early stages because I had some missed double opportunities.
“I had a chance to checkout with 54 and level the game, and then it would have been a different game, but I couldn’t quite hit it.”
On Sunday, Humphries came up against 17-year-old Gawlas, who was in the competition for the first time.
The Newbury ace said: “It was an edgy start as we both missed doubles, but then I hit a 112 checkout and it was the big moment in the game.
“As soon as I hit that, I hit a 180 and I could see that Adam was affected by some nerves.
“From there I felt I was in control so I know I needed to be steady.”
Humphries knew this would be the last chance for him to win the coveted prize.
“It felt like fate,” he admitted. “In 2017, I missed a bullseye against Dimitri Van den Bergh to get to the final and that really hurt because I didn’t know if I’d get the chance again.
“It was always my dream to get to a world final and I think it was meant to be because I have been in good form during these past few years.
“I think it would have been a failure if I hadn’t won a world title because I have been on top,” he added.
The success in the youth finals has brought more confidence for Humphries, who is preparing for his third straight world championship appearance at Alexandra Palace, London.
Humphries will face Devon Petersen, the world number 60, in the opening round of the competition.
He said: “It is not an easy draw and he is probably one of the hardest players that I could have been paired against.
“It won’t be easy and it will be similar to last year because it was a tough draw for me then, but I know it’s a game I can win.
“No game is easy. It will be tough and I think it could be one of the best games of the first round because both Devon and myself are playing well.”