GOOD sport Wes Newton was happy to present Betfair World Matchplay opponent James Hubbard with a birthday cake ... but the Fleetwood darts ace insists there will be no more presents for the World Youth Champion when they clash in Blackpool tonight.
Hubbard celebrates his 20th birthday today by making his Winter Gardens debut against Professional Darts Corporation world no.5 Newton at 8pm.
Qualifier Hubbard from Norfolk turned professional in November and can’t wait to take to the Blackpool stage on the final night of first round matches.
“It’s a dream for me to be playing in this event,” said Hubbard. “Winning the World Youth Championship was special but this is the biggest stepping stone of my career. This time last year I was here playing in an amateur tournament, and now I’ll be on stage in the second-biggest event in darts.”
Newton, a quarter-finalist last year, is a strong favourite but is taking nothing for granted. He said: “I’ve known James since he was a cheeky kid and it’s great to see him in the World Matchplay... but I’m there to do a job.”
Blackpool’s Ronnie Baxter plays Dave Chisnall in the last of the first-round ties at 10pm.