Thu, 30 Jan 2020
Luke Humphries PIC: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
NEWBURY’S Luke Humphries believes it was important to have another good run at the World Darts Championship.
The 24-year-old reached the quarter-final of the competition for the second successive year, before being knocked out by eventual winner Peter Wright.
And Humphries believes the run to the last eight helped develop him further as a player.
He said: “It was a great achievement and I think I was more consistent against the harder opponents.
“Like I have said before, it was important for me to do it again because of what happened the previous year and I’m glad I didn’t go out in the first round.
“I needed to make an impact and I think I did that – it showed my capabilities on the big stage and two quarter-finals in two years is decent.”
Humphries has now moved up the PDC Order of Merit to 35th in the world, just three off a top-32 spot.
He said: “For any player, the ultimate goal is to be in the elite rankings and the top 32 is part of the elite bit for us all.
“I am within touching distance. When I got my tour card two years ago, the aim was to stay in the top 64 and retain the card.
“But now, I have exceeded expectations and this year I am going to have a huge push so I can get into the top 32 and get seeded for the next world championships.”
Humphries enjoyed a strong end to 2019, which saw him win the World Youth Championship at the final time of asking.
Now the 24-year-old wants to use this momentum to kick on, but he admitted: “In my eyes, it was the perfect ending to what wasn’t a good start to the year.
“I didn’t have the most amazing year with the struggles and also dipping in and out of events when I had to.
“But to end it by becoming World Youth Champion was the most amazing feeling and to have another run in the world championships was brilliant.
“Now I want to have a good year from start to finish and getting to that second quarter-final made me realise that I am good enough for this game.
“I want to push on and get into a lot more of the major tournaments.”
For the second straight year, Humphries will be playing in the Premier League of Darts as he has been confirmed as one of the ‘challengers’.
Last year, the Newbury man was one of nine ‘contenders’ and he faced Gerwyn Price in Exeter, clinching a thrilling 6-6 draw.
This time, he will face Gary Anderson in Exeter on March 5.
Humphries said: “I wanted to play either Peter Wright or Michael Smith because they have both knocked me out of the world championships.
“It will be nice to play him because he has done a lot for darts, but he is a fantastic player and a great scorer so I will have to be on my game.
“Having that big game and playing on the big stage can help my confidence.
“It’s also an opportunity to prove that I am good on TV too.”