Exclusive: Thank Evans For “Mad Ricky”.

RAPID Ricky Evans admits he’ll always be a bit “mad” as he aims to finally shake off the oche joker tag with major titles. The Kettering ace is never short on laughs as arguably the wackiest star of the oche and has spent lockdown dressed as a cheerleader and in a blue morph costume on social media.

As per usual with the World No.29 it has been a wacky few months as he’s got kitted up for the Clap For Carers every Thursday night. Evans, 29, said:

“My dad and I have done three Clap For Carers dressing up nights. He collects masks and anyone who knows us knows I am just my dad 30 or 40 years ago. He’s nuts. “He’s got at least 100 masks. He’ll go on ebay and see a Donald Trump mask and buy it. He’ll buy any old rubber latex mask. 

“On one Thursday night, I was in a blue morph suit, wearing a PDC shirt on an exercise bike. I’ve been a cheerleader so far as well.” “My dance I did at the Ally Pally in December has been watched a few times and turned into a GIF. I still don’t know what happened then.”

Evans – who threw a 180 in 2.16 seconds in the Worlds three years ago – also also feared he’d be too quick for his own WiFi in the PDC Home Tour.

He added: “My board is in a little darts room that my mum and dad made for me when I was a teenager. I had to tell my mum and dad to stay off WiFi after 6.30 pm.

“Because I’m a quick player it was hard. Usually, I’m always on my tiptoes ready to throw against my opponent. It was weird having no one in front of me. It slowed me down a bit and certainly upset my rhythm.

“The biggest problem was that my phone camera wasn’t able to keep up with my throw, my throw is too quick for WiFi to trust me.

“I was looking forward to all the tournaments and trying to qualify for the big TV events. I’m usually away for 40 weeks a year, I was in 2019 and that was very successful for me.

“I had hit form for a few months just before the lockdown. Now it’s a weird one whether to practice hard or not.“Last year was awesome for me, I qualified for everything apart from the Grand Slam. I was a seed for the Europeans which was great.

“I ran into Michael (van Gerwen) in the Worlds. It wasn’t a 4-0 defeat game, I missed some big chances. But that’s why he’s World No.1 and I’m World No.29.”

Evans also admits that he’s unlikely to stop being the oche madman – unless he starts winning majors. He said: “I’m just me and that might not change ever. I’m serious on the oche. I’m never going to be the most serious player in the world. If I started making semi-finals and finals that jovial stuff would wear off a bit I’m sure. “I think people would get bored of my silly walk-ons and facial expressions. Maybe I could wear a mask!

“Until then I won’t change, I’ll always be a bit mad.”

Saved By The Bull? Aspinall Thanks Price For Kick-Starting His Rise.

NATHAN ASPINALL goes into the BetFred World Matchplay as a title favourite but admits his career changed by a missed bullseye.

The World No.7 became the inaugural PDC Home Tour lockdown champion three weeks ago and is fired-up for the first major back on the big stage in a month’s time.

But the Stockport ace, 28, revealed he doesn’t think he’d be the latest star of the oche if Gerwyn Price had beaten him at the Worlds two years ago.

He said: “I often do wonder what would have happened if he had hit the bull to beat me three-nil in sets in the second round of the World Championships two years ago. Would I be wear I am now as World No.7?

“Hand on my heart I don’t think I would be. I really really don’t. I do think that game, me beaten someone of his calibre, he was pretty much the best player in the world at that time. To beat him on the biggest stage made me think I am actually good enough.

“I do think that moment and that game changed my whole career. So thank you Gerwyn Price!

“Our sport is 10 per cent ability, 90 per cent in the head. I’m quite strong minded. There’s some players that are and some aren’t. When you are confident and everything is right in your head and at home, it flows.”

Aspinall also admits that other pivotal moments came when he lost the 2015 World Youth Championships to Max Hopp in a deciding leg and then winning his first Players Championship three years later when he was penniless.

He added: “Not many speak about the Youth final to be fair, it absolutely broke me. For six months I couldn’t win a game, I was a broken man. It proper screwed me up. If I hadn’t lost that title I would have got a place in the Worlds and I would have retained my tour card. But I think that’s helped me be the player I’ve become now.

“It means I can dig deep and come back from positions that not many other players can come back from.

“I think that stems from games like that against Max

early on in my career where I’ve had a right good uppercut and now I’ve become stronger”.

“I won my first Players Championship in Barnsley and I didn’t have any money to get a taxi from the Metrodome to the train station. I had no money left but I had just won 10 grand!

“I walked to the train station with a suitcase on the train. I got home and thought ‘wow I can’t wait for that to clear because I’m skint’.

“I was buzzing, it was another moment in my career that I thought I am good enough to make a living out of darts.”

Now Aspinall can’t wait to get back onto the big stage for the Matchplay and he’ll start as a real contender for the title.

He added: “I’m just hoping I can kick off where I left off before lockdown. I’ve upped my practice, I’m playing really well.

“I never thought I’d miss the darts as much as I have. I’ve missed the darts, the lads, the craic, all the things that come with the darts tour.

“We’ve got the Summer Series on July 8 before the Matchplay which is a great idea with the PDC.

“You can play at home in matches and hit big averages but they count for nothing, it’s what happens on the big stage.

“To put the five days of Players Championships on before is a great shout and hopefully that will get rid of some rust and get us ready for the Matchplay, wherever that will be.

“Personally I’d love it to be at Blackpool but I can’t see it. Obviously we’ll have to see what happens on July 4 when the Government announces the next move. But I do think it’s going to be at an alternative venue and likely to be Milton Keynes.”

Pictures by Taylor Lanning

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The Asp & Snakebite To Displace MVG As No.1? Aspinall Confident.

NATHAN ASPINALL believes that Michael van Gerwen can finally be toppled off the World No.1 spot over the next year. Stockport star Asp reckons MVG’s six-year reign on the throne could be ended by Peter Wright in the coming months.

Nathan Aspinall is climbing the rankings at a rapid pace, can he make the top spot?

Aspinall, PDC Home Tour champ from a week ago, is then wanting to follow World Champion Scot Snakebite to the top of the sport. He revealed on the Target Darts podcast:

“That is my target. Obviously Van Gerwen has been there for as long as my kids have been alive! 

“He’s been there a long time and it’s time for someone to knock him off.”

I think it could be Peter (Wright) if he has a good year and another good World Championships. I do think that Peter could take that No.1 spot in the next 12 to 18 months.

The Asp get serious!

“ it’s not going to be in the next year or two, I doubt it, but I do believe that I can be the World No.1 and a World Champion.“But it’s believing in it and I’ve got to do it. At the moment I am doing it and proving that these wins that I’ve had, these good runs, aren’t just lucky tournaments. I’m doing well and I do believe in the next five years certainly I can get to that No.1 spot which would be a dream come true.”

Aspinall, a World Championship semi-finalist two years in succession, is also hoping that the World Matchplay goes ahead in Blackpool from July 18. The tournament will definitely be the comeback to the big stage on TV for the sport but the PDC has been unable to confirm whether it will be at the legendary Winter Gardens.

He added: “To be fair I was itching to get back after two weeks. It’s been nice to spend some time at home doing things around the house that I wouldn’t have done if lockdown hadn’t happened. I’ve done all my garden up and spent some good time with the kids.

“It’s hard work for me because I’m not used to manual labour, I was originally an accountant. Digging and stuff isn’t my cup of tea!

“Obviously the Matchplay being the second biggest tournament of the year I think that’s a great way to kick it all back off.” “Personally I hope it goes ahead in Blackpool because the reception I got last year was phenomenal, even though I got beat the first game. It’s my home tournament, I’m only 45 minutes away from Blackpool.“Fingers crossed we can have some kind of audience there, even if it’s only 500 people, that’s better than nothing.”

Aspinall was also delighted to land the Home Tour title, defeating Gary Anderson, Jonny Clayton and Jelle Klaasen in the final group.He said: “It was a tough night, some quality players involved. So hopefully the first and only ever winner of the lockdown event. Even though it was nice to win it, I don’t want to have to retain it. Hopefully I’m the one and only.

“It was hard. The key part of it being hard was the rhythm, looking in the other player’s eyes, getting their reaction.

All you hear is the scores and the occasional comments.

“Luckily for me I did the trial run so going into the third group game I kind of knew more than anyone what to expect.“But I’d also played in a few online games with my mates in Stockport, I wasn’t doing particularly well. 

“I did find it tough but I think it was my fifth night involved when I won the final. So I’d got used to the format and how to play the game differently.”


Pictures by Taylor Lanning

Clayton Is Key. Welshman Helps Out In Covid Crisis.

JONNY CLAYTON reckons he’s ready for the new normal on the oche of playing with a stage ‘lollipop social distancing’ man. The World No.16 Welshman has become a key worker for Carmarthenshire council making sure the self-isolating get their shopping during the coronavirus crisis.

The Ferret was gaining moment in 2020. Covid-19 has arrested that for now!

Clayton, 45, resumes his lucrative hobby of darts to bid for a semi-final place in the Low6 Home Tour online streaming event tonight (Tues) against Scott Waites, Max Hopp and Carl Wilkinson. In a recent German tournament, it was played with a ‘stop and go’ stage referee to tell the players when to step forward to the oche.

He said: “If the Matchplay goes ahead then, as far as I know I’m in it. If there is a stage lollipop man, it’ll be funny and different!“It’s just something that we are going to have to do. It will be strange but it’s important for the sport to get going again if it’s safe.

“Without a crowd, it’s always going to be strange, you get fired-up with the fans and the banter. The fans do play a big part but we need to get used to it if we have to.

“I played in the UK Open a couple of years ago behind closed doors because of the Beast From The East cold weather.”

“I remember it being quite odd, but I remember more being freezing cold playing in Minehead, that’s what bothered me the most, not there being any fans. “But it’s important to get back playing. It’s been boring not being so busy with the darts”.

“I’ve been delivering food to the vulnerable every Wednesday and also doing emergency work for the council like water leakages or ceilings have come down”.

“I’m always busy me. I don’t sit still for long. I’ve bought a second home and that will be where we live and sell this one. So I’ve been doing lots there as well. The only problem is that I’ve not been able to get any building materials, so it’s been frustrating.

“I like keeping darts as a hobby. If I gave up my job, I don’t know what I’d do all day. Playing darts to earn a living is extra pressure and I don’t need that!”

Clayton kicked off 2020 in epic fashion, beating Michael van Gerwen in his first TV match of the year at the Ladbrokes Masters in Milton Keynes – before hitting a nine-darter at the UK Open in early March.It has been suggested that the Matchplay could be run at the Marshalls Arena where he beat MVG, the same venue as where the snooker is being played this week.

But he admits that the pandemic has flushed his momentum down the pan, adding: “I started off the year pretty well. Don’t get me wrong, my floor tournaments weren’t the best. But my TV performances were really good. I beat Michael (Van Gerwen) and got a nine-darter, I felt I was going in the right direction for a big year.

“You build confidence obviously and this has put a stop to it. How dare coronavirus do that to me!“

Seriously though, sport is sport. Nothing is guaranteed. I personally think I’m more than capable of beating anyone with a bit of luck and consistency.

“If everything sits in place, I know I can get results in any tournament. But nothing in sport is set in stone so you need to keep going and battling.

“Maybe I should live up to my nickname The Ferret in darts. I got it from my rugby days, because I was quiet and small in the scrum.“ In darts I’d be happy to win trophies when I’m not expected to. Just the quiet one who sneaks up to win majors.”

Clayton, who has racked up over £250,000 in prize money in two years as an oche part-timer, faces an interesting last 32 Home Tour group against Waites, Hopp and Wilkinson. But thus far the online tournament has been all about the underdogs.

He said: “I just play in my spare room, that’s where my dartboard is. So I’ve no had anything special to do to get set up for playing live at home.“I’m not a massive practice player, I’ve not got any routines. So basically I don’t know how to take this Home Tour event but it was good to win my group. It’s a weird feeling to be doing this live in my spare room.“I just find darts a weird sport.

If you are on form you can beat anybody but if you’re not you could be the worst player ever. It just depends if you turn up on the night.”

Exclusive – The Special One Talks To Darts World!

JOSE DE SOUSA is already known as The Special One but hopes he can become bigger than Ronaldo on the oche.

The Special One? Jose De Sousa Hopes to be the darting Mourinho or perhaps Ronaldo?

The Portuguese star has produced the outstanding display of the PDC Home Tour, dropping just one leg in his opening group. But the World No.59 is aiming high as the new cult hero of the sport before his last 32 group clashes tonight (Monday). He said: “My phone never stops after I win a game, it’s on fire. When I win I become very popular.

 “I would like to think I can be the biggest sportsman in Portugal. Maybe I can have a better body than Ronaldo!”

“I like football so much especially from the time of Figo, Ronaldo and other great players. I never go to the stadium because there are too much people together. But I watch on TV so much.

“It is amazing to be mentioned in social media messages by people saying that I’m the Ronaldo of darts. Maybe even I can be The Special One like Jose Mourinho!”

“I think it is possible one day that Ronaldo will come and watch me play at the Alexandra Palace, I speak with him and he can cheer me on.“When he has quit in a few years then maybe Portugal sport will be all about Jose De Sousa, I hope so anyway.”

In the opening group, the Portuguese-born player beat Robert Thornton and Keegan Brown without dropping a leg, averaging 109 against The Thorn. De Sousa completed a 5-1 win against Robinson to complete his unstoppable form from his home in Madrid.Now he faces Nathan Aspinall, Jamie Hughes and Jesús Noguera in yet another tricky Home Tour group.

Can De Sousa take advantage in the Home Tour? It is fast becoming t”he tournament of the underdog”.

But it is fast-becoming the tournament of the underdog with Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Glen Durrant, and Stephen Bunting all having crashed out. Gary Anderson and Rob Cross are so far the highest seeds who have qualified for the semi-finals. De Sousa fancies his chances of going further.

He added: “I think the Home Tour was one of the best performances yet for me in the PDC. I played fantastic. I was surprised a little bit, the previous two weeks I practiced so much with friends and small tournaments for fun.

“If I play always the same then maybe I can be the lockdown World Champion”. 

“Last year was my first in the PDC and in the middle of the season one of my sponsors make me a new arrow for me and gave me a big push up, my game is much better now.” That’s because of the new barrels.“

This year I think I’m a bit stronger, I always try to produce a solid game because that’s way you have more opportunities to win legs.

“This is another very tough group for me. But I know if I can play the same again like I did before, I can beat anyone.”

“High Trees Take A Lot of Wind” – MVG Unconcerned By Comments.

MIGHTY Michael van Gerwen admits he doesn’t care what people say about him as he prepares for a return to the big stage. The mean, green machine World No.1 has not competed since the last Unibet Premier League night in Liverpool on March 12, having sat out the PDC Home Tour.

MVG – Bullish in his response to the remarks of others. (Pic: Taylor Lanning).

But MVG, 31, was in a bullish mood and quick to dismiss any talk that a switch of darts to Winmau, following his World Championship final defeat to Scot Peter Wright, maybe the start of any decline. Van Gerwen revealed on his YouTube channel:

“People love saying things about me. From the biggest names to the smallest names. I’ve got a big target on my back. High trees take a lot of wind I always say, it’s a big saying in Holland”.

I have to deal with it. I take it as a positive if people talk about you, it means you’re still doing quite well.“There’s nothing to complain or worry about, I need to focus on my own game. Whatever anyone says, I don’t really care.”

MVG seems to have taken the coronavirus lockdown in his stride, enjoying an unexpected extended paternity leave with wife Daphne, daughter Zoe and new baby son Mike junior who was born in early April.

He also admits that he will practice stage social distancing with sparring partner Vincent van der Voort before the TV events commence again. He added: “It’s a big hit for everyone and everyone around you. The coronavirus has hit everyone, you have to deal with it as good as possible. Try to make the most out of it. But I’m looking forward to being back on tour.

“My new little boy is doing well, at the start he was crying a lot, that was difficult. But now he’s doing really well.“ I have rumours that they try to put on the Matchplay behind closed doors, if that’s the target then we need to all hope for it and see what the Government body says of course. The only thing we can do is wait until the PDC brings out more information.

Michael is adjusting to the likely new distancing requirements. (pic:Taylor Lanning)

“I’m practicing now, I do my routine but I’m not really playing matches yet. Myself and Vincent spoke about this that there’s no point yet to play games against each other.

“It’s difficult to imitate a normal game but without knowing what the rules are going to be, it’s pointless.“We will do. But first we need to wait for more details and we can’t do anything yet at this moment. “Vincent always speaks highly of me when we talk about practice. He’s playing really good. We are starting to push each other towards a high level. That’s what you want. I hope we can do some damage again on the big stages, that’s what I love.”

Van Gerwen certainly quashed any thoughts of a barren few months without trophies by taking the UK Open and comfortably placed second in the Premier League table. He added: “In the UK Open I played some phenomenal games, only one game I lost a little bit of focus. But still, I was good enough and my form was there.

“I just need to make sure I keep my form from the UK Open. Winmau have created this monster version for me. I want to be back on the tour, I want to do well with the new darts”. 

“I’m changing darts more often but I think it’s 90 percent who is throwing the dart.

“If you give me a set of brass darts I can beat 70 percent of the field in the PDC as well!”.

Michael has offered ‘5 Top Tips‘ to help you improve your game and take it to the next level.

Cross Ready To Kick Ass! But Voltage May Soon Become Eeyore!

ROB CROSS is ready to kick ass in the PDC Home Tour after becoming the owner of four new DONKEYS.

Cross is looking forward to getting back to ‘big-time darts’.

The 2018 World Champion has been handed a really tricky last 32 group with Ryan Searle, Luke Woodhouse, and Daniel Larsson for the online streaming event tonight (Sat). But the Hastings battler is convinced he can deliver more bulls than mules after making a home for his four new four-legged pals.He said:

“It’s actually a really emotional story. After my grandad died of Covid-19 a couple of months ago we took my Nan in to look after her.“

It’s obviously been such a stressful time for all of us. But we are getting there, day-by-day and settling into this new life.

“But out of the blue my Nan suddenly said that as a thank you for all the support we’ve given her and looked after her, she had bought four donkeys for her grandkids.

“My wife Georgia is pregnant with our fourth baby so that’s one each for all the kids. The kids are obviously so excited about this.

“It’s been left to me to build a stable, so the old JCB digger has been out again to get the ground ready to start work on it. “I’m also looking to put a giant extension on the house now that my Nan is living with us. Lockdown has been helpful in that way giving me so much time.

“We’ve not given the donkeys any names yet. We were thinking Snakey, MVG, Gerwyn, and Bully!

No seriously, the kids will get to give them their names.

“It’s been a fantastic distraction for the kids to have something so different to do. But for dad is been really hard labor for a few weeks now!” Cross admits that he is chomping at the bit to get back to big-time darts but is happy that the Home Tour is keeping him focused on practice.

Rob added: “I’m really missing the competition to be fair. You get so used to the traveling and rivalries, that’s what motivates me.“I’m not quite sure what will happen with the World Matchplay in late July, I was hoping to still be able to defend my title but that seems very unlikely now. “Whatever happens I won’t stress about it. I’m not that sort of person. Whenever it goes ahead, I’ll get the chance to defend it. 

What the hell’s that? It looks like four donkeys from here!

“The Home Tour has been very different. I think I was very lucky to get through the first group stage, I didn’t exactly set the world alight. But I got over the line.“I will have to up my game big time to get past Ryan, Luke and Daniel. They are such great players and people will realise that in years to come. Luke obviously hit a nine-darter in his opening group, he’s no mug!

“I think this is probably the tournament of the underdog. I know that Gary Anderson is through but so many top seeds have gone out, it proves once again just how strong the standard is in the PDC.”

Pics: Taylor Lanning

Full Steam Ahead! Chizzy Eyes Major Title.

DAVE CHISNALL has got his sights on a major title now that he’s dumped his glasses that kept STEAMING UP!

Chizzy hopes to better vision will aid his attempt to claim his first PDC major. (Pic; Taylor Lanning)

The St.Helens big-hitter lines up in the last 32 of the PDC Home Tour tonight (Friday) against Darren Webster, Geert Nentjes, Damon Heta. Fans favourite Chizzy, 39, believes he can beat anyone in his ‘shed’ especially after dropping the specs which affected his game earlier in the year. He said: “It’s not a shed, it’s a proper log cabin. I call it the shed, but it’s much more than that!“

The first time I played in the Home Tour was a good craic. Now we’re in the last 32, I just need to do the same as I did the last time and hopefully we’ll win the group again.

 “It’s been good because it has kept me motivated to practice. I don’t normally practice that much but since lockdown, I’ve not stopped”.

“I usually just practice more as the tournaments come up. But now I’m at the board every day. I’ve knocked in a few 100 averages online.

“Whatever happens in darts happens. It’s not just how you play, it’s how the other person plays as well. It’s hard but I’ve got a few goals when I get back. “To be fair I am looking forward to getting back to playing tournaments. It will hopefully show how well I’ve been practising in the events.

“In the Home Tour, if I turn up, I can beat them all. We’re all playing on our own boards, so we should all be good”.

“I started the year quite well but I had to play with glasses in a couple of games and I wasn’t very good with them on. I don’t wear them now.“My biggest problem was that when I was playing on stage, my glasses kept steaming up. “I took them off halfway through one game and I came back from seven-nil down to nine-all. “You lose all concentration when you are playing, worrying about your glasses steaming up.“Without the glasses I can still see trebles and doubles but it’s when they go in the corner, I don’t know whether it’s in or not. I have to keep asking the ref and I don’t like doing that, it breaks my rhythm.

“Now I just throw the darts, if it’s in, it’s in. I’ve actually celebrated a 180 and got to the board and realised it wasn’t in after all!“I’ve tried contact lenses but I got bloodshot eyes. I’d have to take time off darts to have laser treatment and I don’t want to do that.”

Chisnall has been a five-times major title runner-up, including the 2010 BDO World Championship. There is little doubt that he is a world-class performer and has been unlucky not to find the killer instinct in big finals. He added: “I was falling down the rankings so I thought I better do something about it quite quick. I just know I had to put the time in if I want to get back up and I have done.“

The important thing was getting my shed or cabin or whatever you want to call it in the garden. It’s my man cave and keeps me quiet, no trouble, no hassle. “I only go in there to practice. There are no distractions like going to the pub or being in the kitchen. The shed makes me want to practice, I’m in my own world.”

Everything is good at home and that helps me. My little girl is doing well, that’s life you just have to crack on.

“There is another level for Dave Chisnall. I’ve been in a few finals and missed out. I’ve always said if I get one win I can go on and win more and more. The hardest thing is getting that first one.“

So far I’ve not been good enough and given big leads to my rivals in finals. If you do that with Phil Taylor or Michael van Gerwen, it’s so hard to come back.

“It is annoying to hear I’m the nearly man. But you are only telling the truth. Until I get that one win, I am going to keep getting that said to me.”

It doesn’t keep me up at night worrying or anything like that. It does get on my nerves though when people say ‘you’ll win this one or that one’.“I’ve always said that darts is all on the day. You can’t say you are going to win anything.”

Pics: Taylor Lanning

Bunting “Scared” of Return to Big Stage. Bullet Vulnerable Due to Diabetes.

STEPHEN BUNTING is ready to step up his bid to be lockdown champion but admits he is “scared” about the sport returning to the big stage. The former BDO World Champion, talking exclusively to Darts World, continues his aim to be the first-ever PDC Home Tour winner tonight (Weds) against Glen Durrant, Alan Tavern, and Mike De Decker.

But The Bullet, 35, revealed he has major concerns about the re-start of sport during the coronavirus crisis.He said: “It’s tough to see what happens now if the Matchplay goes ahead because I haven’t had the chance to qualify for it as I’m World No.17. The tournaments I would have had to qualify haven’t happened.

“Also when we get back to full speed, how are they going to fit all these tournaments in? They are probably going to have to do five Pro Tours a week. “But is it safer for us to go over to Germany and play because restrictions have been lifted over there. 

“I’m not being funny but I’ve got Type 2 diabetes, I don’t want to be getting on a plane with loads of other people. There’s a lot of things to sort. “There’s a huge death rate with this disease for those who have diabetes. “I am more susceptible to death than most. The figures are there to show that. That’s why I’ve been more scared to leave the house because you just don’t know.“

Look at Kenny Dalglish. He was a carrier but no symptoms. So if we re-start the tour, who’s to say that no one has got it unless we are all tested? “At the same time, we want to get back playing again. It’s a really hard situation.”

Despite all the worries, Bunting is confident of going all the way to being the first-ever lockdown World Champion – now that’s he moved his board.He added: “The board was downstairs just as you come in the front door. But over the last few days I’ve been moving stuff around. “I’ve got a three storey house so I’ve now put my son Toby on the top floor. My practice board is now in his old bedroom. It’s a lot more secure.“

In the past I’ve been practising when the postman has been at the door or deliveries. It was a bit of an annoyance. “It also backed onto the living room so the wife had to keep the TV noise down and that wasn’t fair for her either.“

I think it looks pretty good and I played in an online tournament on Monday against Ricky Evans and a few others and got to the semi-final. But I played some really good stuff. “You are playing the best players in the world. To be the first lockdown World Champion would be a great achievement. “Obviously I’ve been practicing and getting ready for it. I’ve got a very tough group but if I can play the way I did in the first group, I’ll be OK. My first nine-dart average was pretty big so if I can keep that up and finish good, I’ve got a chance of winning the whole thing.“

Me and Alan (Tabern) over the years have had some great games, both from St Helens so there’s a bit of rivalry there. “Glen Durrant has come over to the PDC and done pretty much the same as I did. That’ll be a good game because I don’t think we’ve played each other since he came across from the BDO.“Mike De Decker is also playing well to qualify so three different games but all very hard in other ways.

“It’s a tournament that you want to win. You could be the first name on that trophy, it also may also be the only name ever as it may never happen again. Hopefully the only lockdown World Champion!

“I think the novelty bit has worn off now. It’s a proper tournament you want to win. Playing in this is actually similar to the Pro Tour.“There’s no noise, all you can hear is your opponent behind you. What I do is put the streaming on my TV which is behind me.

“That means it’s my normal rhythm. I turn round to watch them throw, then step forward for my throw just like I normally do. It feels more natural. I find that easier because you pace yourself.”

Wright Cooking Up A Home Tour Bid.

PETER WRIGHT has turned into Gordon Ramsay in lockdown as he cooks up a bid for the PDC Home Tour title.

Arrow to Arrows?

The reigning World Champion has gone all a la dart carte with the frying pan looking after the family during the coronavirus crisis. Wright, 50, takes his place tonight (Tues) in the last 32 of the online streaming event against Ryan Murray, Cristo Reyes and Jelle Klaasen.

Snakebite has been working flat-out on his farm building a 40 foot greenhouse, helping new born chicks settle into life while Jo has been making face masks for her hair salon – when it re-opens – and knitting clothes for Michael van Gerwen’s new baby boy.Plus Snakebite has been taking on lockdown lodger and fellow player Dimitri Van den Bergh at chess, archery and pool.He added: “I’m actually loving time off to be fair. We’ve been very busy. I’ve worked out that I’m a good cook as well. Jo tells me I am anyway!“I’ve been making sweet and sour chicken balls, toad in the hole, corned beef pie, poached eggs and my favourite roast dinners.“

Jo is also a dressmaker as well as a hairdresser. I organised her sewing room at last so now the sewing machine is at full blast. She’s made a hat and clothes for Michael’s young baby as well as face masks for when the salon finally opens again.“We’re also building the new 40-foot polytunnel greenhouse which is really hard work and I’ve found a way of growing tomatoes out of a two-liter bottle. Plus we’ve also got some new rabbits. It’s never not busy here!

“But obviously my first concern right now is Jo and that she comes through this op all safe and successful.” 

World No.2 Wright is in bullish mood after winning his qualifying group a week ago and is the top-seeded player left in the competition alongside the likes of Rob Cross, Gary Anderson, Nathan Aspinall, Glen Durrant, and Dave Chisnall. He added: “Of course I’ll hit the practice board now. I think Dimitri will help me. I’m still in the competition, I’m the World Champion and I think I’ll win it. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

“It was a tough last group to win over Justin Pipe, Krzysztof Ratajski and Adam Hunt. Justin is always awesome, he never gives up. It’s never easy playing Justin. I used to look up to Justin when I was trying to get better and improve myself when he was winning all the Players Championships. He’s a quality guy and a quality dart player.

“We all know that Krzysztof is a fantastic player and he’s going to get even better in the future. He’s immense.“

All he does is practice and practice and try and be better than anyone else. Respect to him, he’s a hard man to beat.”