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Newbury's Luke Humphries is ready to shine at the World Darts Championship

The 25-year-old has reached the quarter-final for two years running

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886629

Newbury's Luke Humphries is ready to shine at the World Darts Championship

Luke Humphries - Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

LUKE Humphries is relishing another opportunity to shine on the big stage when the World Darts Championship begins.

The showpiece, at London’s Alexandra Palace, begins on Tuesday as 96 players from around the world attempt to win the coveted prize.

Humphries, who will be making his fourth appearance at this year’s tournament, will face the vastly-experienced Paul Lim in the opening round on December 18.

Speaking about the draw, which was made earlier this month, the Newbury man said: “I know it will be a tough game because Paul is a legend of the game and I will show him a lot of respect, but I am going to have to be very clinical and bullish.

“I love playing on the World Championship stage and it brings me to life,” he said. “I can’t imagine playing on any stage better than I do when I am playing there.

“He is a slow player and I am going to have to find a way of playing against someone slow because I always play well against people who are fast.

“I need to find an in-between, so I think the most important thing will be dealing with the pace.”

If Humphries can overcome the 66-year-old, he will face Belgium’s Dimitri Van Den Bergh in the second round.

He said: “You have to take it as one game at a time, but my first game is a big test and, if I get through, my second round is an even bigger one.

“The good thing about the draw is that I play well against the quick players and I have good memories of playing Dimitri on this stage.”

Humphries will be coming into the competition full of confidence, having had some strong performances in both the Grand Slam and the Players Championship.

The 25-year-old has reached the last eight in the previous two years and he would love to make it happen once more.

“This year I feel confident, I am really happy with my throw and my mentality is much better than it has ever been and if you feel good, then you play good.

“I feel like I can have another good run this year,” he said.

“I said in a previous interview that I would like to reach a semi-final this year, but looking at the draw, it’s very hard.

“I always set myself the target of winning the first game, because if you do that then you go into the second game as the underdog against a seed.

“I would love to make the quarter-final again this year, but it’s a really difficult draw and like I said the goal is to win that first game.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that 1,000 spectators would be able to watch each session at this year’s tournament and Humphries is excited about the prospect of this.

He said: “There won’t be as many fans this year, but I love the support and the atmosphere because that makes me feel good on stage.

“Having the fans back will be huge to help me enjoy being up there and it is great to have them and have some kind of normality in the darting world.

“I am used to playing without fans on the floor, but not on the stage and it was a new experience for me.

“I think I coped really well with it, but with the interaction of the fans and the atmosphere it will help drive me on.”

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