Colin Osborne is a previous UK Open finalist, League of Darts Winner and multiple Pro Tour winner. Known as ‘The Wizard’ his thoughts appear regularly in Darts World magazine. Below is his review of the early part of 2020:
Well, it’s been a hectic start to 2020. The PDC season kicked off with the annual Q School in Wigan. To say it was a weekend of mixed fortunes is an understatement. Congratulations to everyone who won one of the cherished Tour Cards, they are hard seriously hard to earn and will reward those who can dedicate themselves to making another step up!
A special mention for Aaron Beeney. Some were surprised by his superb effort in gaining an automatically, but not me! A couple of years ago, at Q-School 2018, I encountered Aaron in one of the early rounds. He started the game superbly hitting many 140s and finishing off legs cleanly. I got a foothold in the game it seemed I may get back in into it, but Aaron stepped forward again and closed out the game very well. Later in the day, Canadian player Ken McNeil said that Aaron was a really difficult opponent as he was impossible to read and gave nothing away. Well done on a superb effort Aaron.
On a personal level I had one of those weekends that leaves any player both pleased and puzzled. Despite a poor start, on the Thursday, I played very well overall. My averages are increasing all the time and me game is coming together strongly. My run, to the last 16, on the Saturday featured some really good stuff, I was somewhat disappointed not to hit a 9-dart leg, in a very high-quality game against Paul Rowley, but finishing it in 10 was a reminder that things are coming together nicely.
The downside of Q-School was simply that I did not put together enough of my best darts in a row. Myself, Daryl Fitton and others, ended up in a similar boat after playing very strongly at times. Knowing that you’re playing very well and falling just short can be very frustrating, but the sheer number of quality players, who are capable of the standard needed, to gain a card, means that there are few easy matches and you need to play your best the entire time.
The Challenge Tour kicked off only a few days later and proved a very similar tale. Again, my averages were still improving, and consistent, but they were not translated into enough results. Scott Mitchell must be given huge credit. As a former World Champion he must have been very disappointed to miss out on a Tour Card. But, regrouping so quickly to claim an event, and leading the Challenge Tour rankings, will provide him with plenty of opportunities, on all the PDC Tours, this year.
For those embarking on the Pro Tour, and top level PDC, I would offer a small but of advice:
“Play your own way, work hard, don’t change too much and don’t take any part of it for granted”.Wizards Wizdom for Tour Card Winners!)
For me, it’s a matter of carrying on doing what I am doing and building toward being at my very best for the next Challenge Tour weekend in April*. I hope to see you out and about in the darting world between now and then.
*Sadly, due to the effect of Covid-19, the Challenge Tour events have been postponed/cancelled.