James Hubbard earns place in World Matchplay darts

Phil Taylor and James Hubbard
Hubbard (right) with multiple world champion Phil Taylor

Teenager James Hubbard is relishing the prospect of one of the biggest matches of his career to date after qualifying for the World Matchplay in Blackpool.

The 19-year-old from Wymondham clinched a place in the elite 32-man event by reaching the quarter-finals at the European Open in Germany.

And he will face world number five Wes Newton on 24 July - his 20th birthday.

"For my first year as a professional, it's a pretty amazing achievement really," he told BBC Radio Norfolk.

"I went there (to Germany) knowing I'd have to win three, maybe four, games. Luckily a couple of people lost around me in the places for the Matchplay and I managed to win three and sneaked in."

Hubbard's run at the European Open was eventually ended by Richie Burnett - but victory over Mark Walsh earlier in the day was enough to secure his spot for the Matchplay, which starts on 21 July, three days before his showdown with Newton.

"I've known Wes since I was a kid and it will be nice to play him.

"He's obviously going to be favourite, he's playing really well at the moment but I've just got to enjoy it," he said.

Hubbard played multiple world champion Phil Taylor at last year's Grand Slam of Darts, losing 5-1, but is still getting used to razzmatazz of televised events.

"These European tour events are played in front of thousands of people, but I'm taking it step by step and hopefully I'll get used to playing on TV soon," he continued.

Top Stories