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World of Sport

03rd Jan 2024

Luke Humphries explains why he doesn’t expect Ally Pally boo-boys to be out on final night

Niall McIntyre

“I had 99 per cent of the crowd against me and a section of them whistling at my every shot.” – Luke Humphries.

When Luke Humphries defeated Ricardo Pietreczko in Round three of the World Darts Championships, he says that he did so in the face of one of the most difficult atmospheres he’s ever encountered.

A vast German contingent took over the Alexandra Palace on that occasion, in support of their country-man, and Humphries admitted that he felt the pressure as the boos and whistled boomed from the standing zone.

Having fallen 3-1 down, he then pulled off a huge comeback to eventually win out 4-3. The World Number one hasn’t looked back since, defeating Joe Cullen in Round Four, Dave Chisnall in the quarter final before taking out Scott Williams on Tuesday night.

Humphries produced one of his greatest ever performances in that semi-final, lighting up the London stage with a whopping 108.74 average and he knows that he’ll need something similar to defeat teen sensation Luke Littler in Wednesday night’s final.

Humphries is aware that his opponent may be the fan favourite on Wednesday night, but he none-the-less expects the crowd to be fair to both players.

“The Ricardo game was a different prospect,” said Humphries.

“The crowd may be supporting Luke Littler, but I don’t think it will over-awe me.

“I don’t think I’ll get the amount of boos I got against Riccardo. They’ll want a fair game tomorrow because they’re going to want to see an amazing final.

“And why wouldn’t you? If you’re going to come here and pay lots of money to be here, you’re going to want to see the best game ever, so if they allow that, they may see it,” he said.

Humphries, who was elevated to World Number one with his whitewash over Scott Williams, admits that says he never envisaged earning such a title. At the same time, he says that it doesn’t compare to winning a world title.

“It feels amazing. I would never have imagined myself to be world number one, and to do it in style. I was really pleased with that performance.

“Like I’ve said in many interviews, World number one can last a couple of months, world champion is forever. So I’ve got a really tough task tomorrow.”

Many have been surprised with his opponent Luke Littler’s blistering run throughout this tournament, but Humphries isn’t, and he doesn’t expect the 16-year-old will be overcome by the occasion.

“I’ve seen it many, many times.”

“When you come up on this stage, it can be a lot tougher but he’s just proved that he’s (Luke Litter) got a lot of bottle.

“Nothing is going to faze him. He played like that tonight, so tomorrow’s not going to faze him. I’m probably going to have to play the game of my life to stand a chance of beating him.

“It’s an uphill task.

“I’ve got to play at my best tomorrow. But I’m hoping I make him play his best as well and hopefully we produce one of the best world finals anyone’s ever seen.

“One of our lives will change forever tomorrow.”

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