DARTS player Tony Newell is feeling increasingly more comfortable with his lofty surroundings after some notable scalps at the PDC Players Championship in Barnsley at the weekend.
The 31-year-old reached the last 32 on both days, beating Antonio Alcinas and Paul Nicholson on Saturday before seeing off in-form Peter Wright and Dennis Smith on Sunday.
His progress was halted by 6-0 defeats to Andy Hamilton and Wayne Jones respectively but not before he accumulated £1000 in prize money.
And it is not just these high-calibre victories which have reassured Newell he belongs on this stage, but also the response to defeat against Alex Roy at the Coral UK Open.
“I was a bit worried about how I would come back from the disappointment in Mainhead,” he said. “I have never been in this position before so I didn’t know how it would affect me.
“But I picked up four good wins which have certainly made me believe in myself a bit more and that I can make a career at this level.
“I’m definitely more confident and it helps when you get to know the players a bit more.
“In the past I have only known these guys from the television and you can be a bit in awe of them and wonder whether you should really be there.
“Speaking to them though they’re just normal lads and picking up results certainly helps.
“To be fair I’ve never had a problem with the darts – that side is easy as long as you have the mentally you’re just playing the board.”
Newell’s performance has seen him rise to 108th in the PDC Order of Merit with a repeat showing this weekend in Crawley likely to see him break the top 100.
But it was his impressive defeat of trail-blazer Jones – the current leader of the Premier League – which generated the most satisfaction.
“I’m very happy with the weekend’s work and managed to record some good victories,” he added.
“Alcinas is a Spanish international who has played World Championships before while Paul Nicholson won the overall Players Championship a few years ago.
“Going 5-1 up against someone like Nicholson just reinforces the view I’m at the right level.
“Taking out 155 to beat Dennis Smith was another good result and the perfect follow on from the Peter Wright match.
“Wright is the man to beat at the minute – it’s his debut season and is taking it by storm. To sneak it 6-5 was fantastic.
“I went down 100, 140 and 180 in the last leg, leaving 81 after nine darts – similar to when I lost against Alex Roy.
“But this time I managed to finish it off fine and it’s a win I’m very pleased with.”