KENDAL darter Tony Newell insists the experience of taking centre stage at the Coral UK Open has fuelled his appetite for more high-stakes competition.
The biggest names associated with the sport headed to Somerset for an occasion known as the FA Cup of darts – the 31-year-old’s first showcase event since securing his PDC card.
Entering the tournament in the second round after a successful qualifying process, Newell was edged out 5-4 by Alex Roy – one of 13 ever-presents in the history of the UK Open.
However, Newell – ranked 116th in the PDC rankings – believes exposure to elite competition is an invaluable learning curve which will stand him in good stead for the future.
“When I came off stage I had to go to a dark corner and sit there for a couple of minutes because I knew the match was there for the taking,” he said.
“Maybe it was just inexperience. Our game was the last one on so the crowd from six boards piled around and the cameras came over as well.
“I’ve never been in that position before so maybe nerves told a bit but on the whole it was an incredible experience and I felt I held my own out there.
“On the evening of my game I went to watcha match on the main stage but had to leave because I was thinking I should still be in this competition.
“But the next day I was alright and the next time I go up there I'll know what to expect and hopefully come out on top.”
As for the match itself, despite leading 4-2 and then having a clear run at hitting double top for victory, Newell saw Roy recover to claim victory.
The next few weeks sees Newell competing in the Players Championship in Barnsley, Crawley and Wigan – with an open draw among all PDC tour card holders.
“The match against Alex was really close and I should have won it in all fairness,” added Newell.
“It was 4-4 heading into the last leg. It was his darts but I set off like a steam train and went 177, 140 and 132, leaving 52 after nine darts.
“After hitting 12 with the tenth I missed three darts for double top and he came back to beat me – I was gutted to get down that quickly only for my doubles to let me down.
“My game is just about there for this level but I seem to be coming out on the wrong end of narrow matches at the minute.
“I cannot wait to get to Barnsley now as I feel I have something to make up for.”