The Gibraltar Darts Association were once again given a spot at the PDC World Youth Championship, which we would like to thank the PDC for giving Gibraltar this spot again and give the opportunity to one of our youngsters to participate in this prestigious event.
Justin Hewitt won the Gibraltar Qualifier. He recorded wins over Joseph Ward, Jarvis Bautista & Sean Negrette to claim his spot at the PDC World Youth Championships for the first time.
This event features the Top 96 players from around the World from the age of 16 up to 24. 17 year old Justin Hewitt was in a field of players which included Germany’s Number 1 and current World Number 25 Max Hopp, World Matchplay Semi-Finalist and World Number 22 Jeffrey de Zwaan, England’s Ted Evetts who finished first in the 2019 Development Tour winning a total of 8 events this year and many many more amazing players.
The World Youth Championship is played in 32 groups, with three players in each group. The winners of each group progress to the Last 32 stage. Justin was drawn against Scotlands Number 1 youth player Nathan Girvan and England’s Adam Paxton.
In Justin’s first game he faced Adam Paxton. Adam managed to get himself a 2-0 lead in the match but Justin managed to win the third leg and cut the deficit to 2-1. Adam won the fourth leg to give him a healthy 3-1 lead in the game. However, this fired Justin up as he won the next three legs in a row to lead the game for the first time 4-3 and be one leg away from victory. Adam won the next leg to level the game 4-4 and send the game to a last leg decider. Justin managed to hold his nerve and won the final leg to win the match 5-4. A great result for Justin and a boost for him going into his final group match.
Nathan Girvan defeated Adam Paxton 5-3 so that meant that Justin’s game against Nathan would be a deciding match to see who progresses to the Last 32.
Nathan fired himself into a 3-0 lead leaving Justin with a lot to do. Justin won the next leg and reduced the deficit 3-1. Nathan crucially won the next leg to lead the match 4-1 and be one away from victory. This did not bring Justin down as he managed to win the next two legs in great style and get within one leg of his opponent 4-3. In the following leg Justin was sat on 58 to level the match 4-4 but Nathan managed to hit a brilliant 120 finish to win the match 5-3. A great performance from Justin despite the defeat.
Jeremy Cruz caught up with Justin to reflect on his World Championship experience.
Justin, first of all congratulations on qualifying for your first ever PDC World Youth Championship, this must be one of your greatest achievements to date?
“Yes, this is my first ever time participating at the PDC Youth World Championship, and it is definitely one of my greatest achievements so far in my career.”
You played a total of 4 Development Tour events before the main event, do you think these events helped you get ready for the World Championship?
“Yes the 4 Development Tour events I played were definitely a great warm up for World Championships, it really helped me get a feel of playing in such a big event.”
You played amongst a field of top world class youth players, which some are even full time professionals already, this must have been exciting for you to be playing in the same tournament as them?
“Well yes to be honest when i was playing i wasn’t really thinking about the Professional players around me as I was just concentrating on my game, but after the tournament it did hit me and it was a great experience.”
In your first group match you faced Adam Paxton, a player who has been playing on the Development Tour since 2017 and has reached the Last 32 & Last 16 several times. You managed to defeat him in a last leg decider 5-4, you must have been over the moon with this brilliant result?
“Yes that win was amazing especially how I managed just to win the last leg with all the nerves, i was really pleased with that win.”
In your second group match you faced Nathan Girvan, Scotland’s No.1 Youth player, and x2 BDO World Youth Championship finalist. A really tough game for you especially as the winner of this match would progress to the Last 32. Unfortunately Nathan won the match 5-3 and progressed, despite this defeat i am sure you are still happy with your performances throughout the weekend?
“Yes that match was a really good and close match, but the nerves managed to get the best of me. But i was still really happy with the way i played.”
Finally Justin, what’s next in the pipeline for you? Have you started looking into some events you are going to play abroad in 2020?
“2020 is going to be a big year for me as i have my new management team and they are going to fly me out to play the whole circuit of the development tours which I am really excited for.”