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Newbury's Luke Humphries hails 'incredible weekend' after finishing runner up in UK Open

The 26-year-old has significantly moved up the world rankings

Luke Humphries - Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Luke Humphries - Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

NEWBURY darts player Luke Humphries suffered an 11-5 defeat to James Wade in the final of the UK Open, in what was his first-ever major final.

The 26-year-old made it into the final of the competition after an incredible semi-final 11-5 win over Michael van Gerwen earlier in the night, while Wade beat Gerwyn Price 11-6.

Wade raced into a 4-1 lead after the first interval, which also include a stunning 150 checkout.

Humphries continued to give it his all, but missed doubles proved costly as Wade took a 7-3 lead into the halfway stage of the final.

Wade, who was chasing his third success at this tournament, remained clinical on his doubles until the end and completed the victory.

Despite falling to defeat, Humphries explained how much his performances over the weekend has helped his confidence in the sport.

"It has obviously been an incredible weekend and an emotional one too.

"I have said before about the World Championships how it hurt my confidence, but to get to a major final is the most unbelievable feeling and I can't put it into words.

"I don't think I had enough time to prepare," he said. "Gerwyn Price is number one in the world and I played Michael van Gerwen, who I believe is the best and I beat him and had five minutes to prepare [for the final].

"I tried my best to prepare, but I think James is the best player in the world when under pressure and he showed that in the game."

As well as beating van Gerwen in the semi-final, the 26-year-old upset the odds by beating Dave Chisnall 10-9 in the last-eight and it's certainly a boost for his career in the sport.

"I strive for big things in darts," admitted Humphries. "It's not just a one off final for me because it puts me into the Grand Slam for me and it's another tournament I can look forward too.

"It's coming to the time where I want to start progressing now by winning major titles.

"I had my chance tonight, I didn't take it, and now I want to be in the Premier League and that's what I strive for because I want to play the best players in the world.

"I think I have the game and although tonight wasn't my night, I am very proud with what I have achieved."

Meanwhile Wade, who has moved up to fourth in the world rankings, said: "What I would like to say about Luke is that he's been up and down for the last four years, but he bashed Michael out the way and he made it look really easy.

"He is quality and he is a gentleman."

For a full report and reaction, see next week's Newbury Weekly News, out on Thursday.

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