Hadleigh’s Curtis Hammond says he is still having to pinch himself after managing to book his first Professional Darts Corporation(PDC) tour card at qualifying school.
The 24-year-old Suffolk County Council pensions worker is hoping he will be counting up the money from his darts now after earning his entry into all 20 Players Championship events in 2015.
“It is just amazing and I cannot believe I have done it,” said the player, whose nickname is ‘Hamster’. “It is what I have been playing for and I have finally achieved it.”
The former Sudbury Town player, who began playing for his hometown team in Hadleigh in the Suffolk Super League from September, is set for a meteoric rise when he takes his place among the top 128 players in the world, including the likes of 16-times world champion Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor and current world champion Gary ‘the Flying Scotsman’ Anderson.
Hammond qualified for a tour card at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan during four days of action from last Wednesday, coming out 17th out of 18 on the qualifying order of merit scores, with four winners each day also securing a coveted place.
The 24-year-old’s best performance came on the second day when he reached the last 16, but last 32 and 64 ventures saw him just about get ahead of the cut-off point.
Hammond added he is under no illusions how tough the step up will be, ahead of looking to make his mark in the qualifiers for the UK Open back in Wigan across three days from February 6.
He is also appealing for sponsors to come forward to help with financing the tour — for more information email curtis
Friend Brett Claydon did not manage to get a tour card, but he was also left celebrating in Wigan, with the Sudbury Town player qualifying for his first-ever European event, the PDC Gibraltar Darts Trophy in March.
Meanwhile, a depleted Sudbury Town team rescued a draw against lowly Stowmarket Arrows in the Suffolk Super League, coming back from 3-0 down to avoid defeat.
As well as Claydon, Steve Carrett (just two wins short of securing his PDC card) was also at qualifying school, and combined with Martin Totman’s absence through illness, Sudbury gave debuts to Bill Paris and Colin How.
At 79 years old, Paris (18.29 average) was playing his first Super League game for nearly 30 years.
But there was to be no fairytale ending as he
went down 3-0 to Darren Moyes.
Two wins in the last two games, from John Attwater and Stuart Bull (man of
the match) secured the draw.
Ian Randles, Martin Totman and Lavenham’s Dan Tatum (A team) and Attwater and Jason Stalker (B team) all played in Suffolk’s 18-18 draw with Wiltshire.