Friday, May 18, 2012
Wymondham teenager James Hubbard is £10,000 richer after becoming the PDC Unicorn World Youth Darts champion.
Hubbard, 19, produced an impressive display in front of 10,000 fans at the O2 Arena to see off young Dutch dynamo Michael van Gerwen.
He showed very few nerves in a fantastic opening spell in which he hit an 11-dart leg as he raced into a 3-0 lead.
Van Gerwen fought back but Hubbard, who only turned professional in November, kept his cool to clinch a 6-3 victory.
“It feels amazing,” Hubbard said. “When you start playing darts, this is what you dream of, and to play in front of 10,000 people is a dream come true for me, and to come out as world champion is amazing.
“I was nervous before the game but Simon Whitlock was brilliant and gave me lots of advice, and the start I made on stage was terrific and settled me down.
“I didn’t think I’d win it to be honest because Michael’s so experienced and such a brilliant player. You always believe in yourself, but when I hit that double top it was the most amazing feeling of my life.”
Hubbard hit scores of 140, 180 and 145 in the opening leg and he finished with double nine for an 11-darter.
He then scored 171 to leave 32 in the next as he broke thrown and an 81 finish of treble 15, double 17 for a 14-dart leg moved him 3-0 ahead.
Van Gerwen won his first leg before Hubbard hit two 140s and a 120 before finishing off on double 10 to move 4-1 in the lead.
His only real blip came in the next leg when he missed five darts at a double and Van Gerwen took advantage before impressing in the next leg to make it 4-3.
But Hubbard found his game again and finished 51 before taking out 88 in the final leg to land the title.
Whitlock lost in the final of the main event, the McCoys Premier League play-offs, 10-7 to darts legend Phil Taylor.