History-maker Luke Humphries reflects on nail-biting win over Gary Anderson03/06/2020
Luke Humphries was not at his best as he made history as the first Premier League challenger to win a match, but he did not have to be.
The reigning world youth champion weathered a tense finish to seal victory over Gary Anderson with a 27-dart leg, rewarding a somewhat different display to his flourishing big-stage appearances seen from him in the past.
‘Cool Hand’ Luke is taking that ability to win ugly as major encouragement as he looks to establish himself on both the stage and floor.
“I put too much pressure on myself tonight, I was practising really well and unfortunately I really didn’t play my game,” said Humphries.
“I’m happy to walk off as winner. Usually I play really well and walk off as a loser so it’s nice to go up there and not play my best and still win.
Night Five Results: Westpoint, Exeter
“I always get written off, all the time. I don’t know what more I’ve got to do for people to believe I’ve got a game. I’ve proved there I can play my C game and still win.
“I think Gary probably played his D game and it was nowhere near his best. I’ve had a lot of games this year where I’ve played brilliantly and lost, it’s nice to go up there on a big stage not play so well and win.”
Humphries was making his second outing as a Premier League challenger having drawn 6-6 with Gerwyn Price last season, during which he was unable to land a match dart.
Despite that experience, the 25-year-old admits he felt an added weight on his shoulders on his way out in Exeter.
“I think I was more nervous this year than I’ve been walking up on a stage because I felt like I’ve got a point to prove,” he added.
“After my two quarter finals at the World Championship I feel like I’ve got to always go up there and play well because I’ve been looked at as this really good stage player and rubbish on the floor when this year I’ve been brilliant on the floor and not so good on the stage.
“I thought it would be nip and tuck, I thought it would be close because we’re high scorers but it was up and down a lot of the way through with missed doubles.
“It’s nice to see them games really close, people missing doubles, it adds to the drama.”
While keen to build on his latest milestone, Humphries will remain patient in his bid to compete with the world’s elite – believing he has the talent to do so eventually.
He said: “Every time you walk up on the stage it means a lot, it helps you every time. I think I’ve played 17, 18 times on the big stage now and I’m learning every time I walk up there.
“Two years as a professional, there aren’t many under 25 that can say they’ve made two quarter-finals. I just need to bide my time, I know once I get up there regularly I’ve got a decent game to challenge the best players in the world.
“I live and breathe darts, it runs through my blood, I absolutely love the game and there’s nothing more in this world I’d want more than to be successful in this game.
“I’ve put so much effort in, I practise hard, I’m dedicating myself to this game. I’m not saying I deserve to be successful but I’m just hoping all the hard work I put in one day will really pay off.”
A potential full-time future in the Premier League beckons for Humphries, who is eyeing qualification for the World Matchplay and the Grand Prix as key strides in further convincing selectors of his worth.
Night Six, March 12: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
“I think I do belong on that big stage but I’m not expecting to be a full-time participant yet, I’ve got to prove that,” he explained.
“I’ve got to start proving it to the selectors and the next step for me is to start qualifying for the Matchplay and Grand Prix and then putting in quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals in majors and giving them no option but to pick me.”
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