In 2017, Luke Humphries considered calling time on his darts career.
He had made a splash on the world stage, a win over 16-time world champion Phil Taylor the highlight, but Humphries’ struggles with anxiety and panic attacks caused him some problems with competing at the top level.
He made the call to push on, fully focusing on his darts career in 2018 and since then has climbed his way to the top.
This week, he secured the title of No 1 ranked player in the world and, on Thursday, he became the sport’s newest world champion as he beat 16-year-old phenom Luke Littler 7-4 in the World Championship final.
“I could not put into words how great that feels,” Humphries told Sky Sports after winning the title.
“It makes it more incredible for myself mentally, because there was a time in my life when I was really depressed and I didn’t think this was going to be it for me. I couldn’t do it up on the big stage and went through a lot of problems.
“To go on now and be world No 1 and world champion, it’s proved a lot.”
Humphries credited his family for getting him to this point in his career, who were in the crowd to celebrate his triumph.
“All these people, they’re the people who make you who you are. As much as I got up here and won it, without them, I wouldn’t have that trophy right now.”
The 28-year-old had to fight to get the better of his teenage rival, who shot to international stardom in the sport for his impressive debut run on dart’s biggest stage.
Humphries got off to an ideal start taking out the first set 3-1 with relative ease. However, he missed a dart to sweep the second set, which allowed Littler to extend it and eventually level the match at 1-1.
The pair traded sets after that, before Littler built his way to a 4-2 set lead.
A maximum checkout of 170 for Humphries to steal the first leg of the seventh set proved to be one of two big turning points in the contest. With a three-dart average of 113 for the set, Humphries was able to fight his way back to 4-3, although it could have been a very different story, with the set’s other major turning point being a missed Littler dart for a 5-2 set lead.
From there, Humphries took over. While Littler was still scoring well - eving hitting a 170 checkout of his own - the consistency of Humphries proved to be the difference as he closed out the win in style.
Humphries finished the match with 23 180s to Littler’s 13 and a three-dart average of 103.67 to Littler’s 101.13.
See below for a recap of the action as Luke Humphries took on Luke Littler for the World Championship title.
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