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Humphries aims for first major win at World Matchplay

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Newbury's Luke Humphries is in the form of his life ahead of the World Matchplay Championships which take place at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, beginning on Saturday, July 16.

Humphries, who is chasing his first major title, faces a challenging first round match against world number 18, Nathan Aspinall.

"It's a very, very tough opening game, he's one of the most challenging opponents I could've drawn," said Humphries.

"These are the sort of games I play darts for, I want to be in that environment where everyone's eyes are on my game.

"If I can get through the first game, which I believe I can, hopefully I can go on a run and maybe even pick up the title, I believe I can do it."

Luke Humphries. Pic: Kais Bodensieck
Luke Humphries. Pic: Kais Bodensieck

Humphries has already won five times this year – most recently, he came from 4-0 down to beat Rowby-John Rodriguez 8-7 in the final of the European Darts Matchplay in Trier, Germany.

"It was a different final to the other four, it was the first one where I had to come from behind," he said.

"I had to show a bit of bottle, I didn't panic.

"18 months ago, I can almost guarantee I'd have lost that final.

"Now, I believe that once I go behind, I can come back and win – that's the biggest difference, my mindset and mentality."

Humphries, who leads the European Tour Order of Merit, will go into the World Matchplay, one third of darts' prestigious Triple Crown, full of confidence.

"I think it's fair to say I'm playing the best darts of my career," he said.

"I've been consistent, and it's consistency that wins you titles.

Cool Hand Luke will be hoping he can remain consistent in Blackpool – if he can, there's no reason he can't follow in the footsteps of Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright and be crowned champion.

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