Qualifying success leads to Kendal's Tony Newell securing Professional Darts Corporation Pro Tour spot (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Qualifying success leads to Kendal's Tony Newell securing Professional Darts Corporation Pro Tour spot
IT is a finish he has thrown countless times but for Kendal’s Tony Newell his latest double ten dart has parachuted him into the limelight and onto the PDC circuit.
A 5-0 final round whitewash of Dave Ladley at the PDC Qualifying School in Wigan saw the 31-year-old seal a full-time two-year spot on the PDC Pro Tour.
Newell, who works as a caretaker at Windermere School, only dropped two legs in opening wins against Geoff Whitworth and Marcel Hirzel before edging out Jason Lovett in a deciding leg.
He then defeated Brandon Walsh and Philip Wathen en route to securing his tour card – one of only 128 holders – despite being laid up 24 hours earlier with flu.
But having shelled out £250 from his own pocket for the privilege of playing, Newell was determined to take the oche and face his date with destiny.
“It’s a massive dream come true, I’ve always wanted to play darts professionally,” he said.
“Ever since I was four or five years old in fact when I used to throw darts at my board on the settee while watching the likes of Bobby George and Jocky Wilson.
“When I hit the winning double I found it a bit emotional and it still hasn’t sunk in properly.
“I’m absolutely elated though, I couldn’t ever imagine doing it – I only went there to see what sort of level I’m at and the next thing I knew I’d qualified.
“I missed one day of the competition ill in bed and feeling rotten but it’s a lot of money to enter and I thought I’d give it a good go even though I still wasn’t feeling great.
“It was a gamble but it paid off and my life completely changed in a matter of hours.”
Having done the BDO rounds for the last few years, Newell does not have a great deal of time to familiarise himself with his new surroundings or status.
His first engagement is the UK Open qualifiers next month before the main event in March and while playing down ambitions, Newell is focusing on his own particular bullseye.
“I’ve never been in this position before so I think I’ve just got to go with the philosophy of experiencing something new,” he added.
“I won’t be setting myself any major targets like trying to break into the top 16 in the world, I’ll go there and enjoy the first year, see what it’s about and hopefully appear on TV.
“A dream of mine has always been to play darts on TV even if just the once – the UK Open is televised and I’m one step away from qualifying.
“I definitely feel I have the darts for this level, I’ve always had confidence in my ability it’s just a case of getting to a place where you can showcase it.
“I’ve got the game but being consistent is the key and at Qualifying School I was the most consistent I’ve ever been.”
And over the coming months and years, Newell is determined to savour competing with and against some of the most illustrious names the sport has to offer.
“When I qualified there were perhaps half a dozen famous names with the majority just good darters,” he said.
“But the next time I walk into one of these events I’ll be there with the likes of Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis. That will be awesome.”
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