HAVING recorded his best-ever finish in the Players Championship to break into the PDC top 100, Kendal’s star of the oche Tony Newell insists he is developing a taste for the competition’s latter stages.

Competing at the K2 Centre in Crawley, Newell’s weekend failed to ignite initially as he went down 6-3 to 24th seed Vincent van der Voort in round nine.

However, the 31-year-old hit his straps in round ten, seeing off Paul Nicholson and Ross Twell 6-5, Matt Clark 6-4 and Steve Douglas 6-1 en route to the quarter final, where he lost 6-2 to training mate Andy Hamilton.

This result – which netted £1500 in prize money –represents Newell’s finest hour on the PDC circuit to date, while rubbing shoulders with the sport’s elite now forms a permanent fixture on his agenda.

“This result was a big confidence boost and massive for my career going forward,” he said.

“I wanted to start turning last 64s and 32s into last 16s and I got there. And while it was a position I’ve not been in before, I probably played the best darts I’ve ever played in that game.

“I thought when I got there that extra step might be nerve-racking but it just eased me up and I had four ton-plus finishes.

“In the last eight I played Andy Hamilton and went 2-0 up but fell away, maybe the day took its toll but I was happy and proud.

“I’ve been to a lot of last 64s and 32s and started to feel whether I was ever going to get any further but now I’ve pushed on to the last eight I know I can do it.

“It was important to get through and prove things to myself and now hopefully there can be a few more.”

For the last few weeks Newell has had a new sparring partner having teamed up with his weekend victor Hamilton, who is currently ranked eighth in the world.

And combined with him now turning his attentions to the game full-time following the emergence of an investor, Newell believes there is plenty of scope for his darts to improve further.

“For the last few weeks Andy has been coming through to the Albion or I’ve trained with him in Heysham and I can only learn off someone like that,” he added.

“He’s been there and done it, played in a World Championship final, and has already introduced me to some new practising regimes. It’s certainly helped, especially with my finishing.

“Not having work anymore also frees me up to travel further afield to different competitions and do more with my darts, which is all practice.

“It certainly looks as though it is paying off judging by the weekend.”