Luke Humphries took glory in the 2019 PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship with a superb 6-0 whitewash of Adam Gawlas in Minehead on Sunday night.
Newbury’s Humphries, competing in his final game at youth level, followed up his success in topping the PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit in 2018 and 2019 by claiming the £10,000 World Youth Championship title.
Humphries was in ruthless form against Czech teenager Gawlas, a 17-year-old who only took up the sport in February and was making his first appearance in front of the TV cameras.
Two missed doubles from Gawlas in leg one allowed Humphries in to break throw, and he took out 112 for a 3-0 lead before a trio of 14-darters – each begun with a 180 – secured the coveted title.
“It’s been a dream of mine so I’m over the moon,” said Humphries. “In the last three years, in my opinion, I’ve been the best youth player and this has been a long time coming.
“There was a lot of pressure on me and I had to be ruthless. To win 6-0 is amazing and it was a great win for me. I played well but maybe the scoreline is a little bit harsh on Adam.
“He’s a great talent and it’s amazing to think that he’s only been playing the game for nine months, and I’d love to see where he is in five years.”
Humphries added: “The Development Tour has made me the player I am and I want to thank the PDC for what they’ve done to bring this system in.
“This is my last ever youth tournament and it’s time to take the step up, but it’s a fitting end. It’s special to lift this trophy in my last ever youth tournament.
“I worked hard to win this and I think it was my destiny to win this in my final year as a youth player. It’s my ambition now to be the first player to win the World Youth Championship and then the World Championship so the hard work starts now.
“It’s time to start upping my practice because on my day I think I can live with anyone, and on the big stage is where I play my best game.”
The 24-year-old has spoken publicly about his struggles with anxiety this year, and hopes that his triumph can be an inspiration to those in a similar situation.
He said: “A lot of people out there give up and six months ago I could have walked away from darts so I hope people can look at this and realise what you can achieve.”
GAWLAS & HUMPHRIES REACH UNICORN WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Luke Humphries and Adam Gawlas will meet in the 2019 PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final on Sunday November 24 after winning through Monday’s early stages in Wigan.
The £60,000 tournament featured a 96-player field, including qualifiers from as far afield as New Zealand, Japan, China, America and Canada.
However, it was one of 2019’s shooting stars who secured his place in the final as Gawlas, a 17-year-old from the Czech Republic, booked his spot in the final in Minehead.
He will take on Humphries, a two-time Development Tour champion bidding to claim the World Youth Championship title before moving full-time onto the senior circuit next year.
Gawlas defeated Dan Read and Rhys Griffin in the initial round-robin stage, before starting the knockout phase with an impressive 6-4 defeat of 2015 World Youth Champion Max Hopp.
He then beat Harry Ward and Callan Rydz both by a 6-2 scoreline, and was then a 6-3 winner against Suffolk’s Ryan Meikle in their semi-final.
Humphries, meanwhile, followed up his two Development Tour wins over the weekend at the Robin Park Tennis Centre by defeating Xiaochen Zong and Keelan Kay in the group stage.
He then edged out former World Youth Championship finalist Berry van Peer 6-5 in the last 32 before seeing off two other Dutch youngsters – Niels Zonneveld and Jeffrey de Zwaan – to reach the semi-finals.
There, Humphries overcame fast-emerging Irish teenager Keane Barry 6-2 to ensure his place in the final.
Gawlas has already reached the JDC’s Junior World Championship final – where he will take on Barry – in December, and could still secure a place in the 2019/2020 William Hill World Darts Championship should he defeat Humphries in the final.
A £10,000 top prize is also on offer for the eventual World Youth Champion – who will succeed 2017 and 2018 winner Dimitri Van den Bergh – while both Humphries and Gawlas have now qualified for the 2020 Grand Slam of Darts.
The World Youth Championship final will then take place on Sunday November 24 in Minehead between the semi-finals and final of the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals.
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