Big Interview: Aspiring Preston darts player Stuart Wilson
Craig Salmon talks to Preston darts player Stuart Wilson, who has enjoyed two big competition wins this month.
Stuart Wilson raised an eyebrow when he turned up for work one morning and saw a dartboard on the wall.
Despite having barely thrown an arrow in his life previously, curiosity got the better of him as he and his colleagues decided to have a game during their lunch hour.
Over the coming days and months, it became apparent to Wilson – who lives in Walton-le-Dale – that he had a natural eye for the sport.
Fast forward 15 years and the United Utilities employee is widely recognised as one of the best darters around these parts.
And after a weekend of unprecedented success which has seen the 44-year-old win two prestigious competitions, the father-of-two has not put any limit on what he can go on to achieve in the future.
On Sunday, he won the biggest title of his career when he beat a plethora of professional players to win the Cheshire Open, at the Coppenhall Club.
That came just a couple of days after a big win over Scott Taylor for the Super Regional belt of the Modern Amateur Darts (MAD) contender series finals held at Botanical Gardens, in Atherton.
That event has only recently been set up and is aimed at rejuvenating the sport in the country at amateur level after the British Darts Organisation (BDO) – the long-time governing body of the amateur game – went into liquidation in September of last year.
“I basically just started playing at work around 15 years ago,” recalled Wilson.
“One of the lads brought a dartboard in one day, put it up and we started having a throw at dinner time.
“I soon discovered that I was alright at it and that’s when I started playing for the Preston team in the Lancashire Super League.
“That was about 2012 and it’s just snowballed from there to be honest.”
Wilson ranked beating Taylor as the highlight of his career so far – that is until he went and won the Cheshire Open.
“Scott Taylor was the existing belt holder and I actually won a qualifier in Swinton to earn the right to play him,” said Wilson.
“We shared the first two legs and then I went 4-1 down.
“But I managed to get it back to 4-3 and then we had a short interval.
“I went 5-4 up and he got it back level, but then I won the last two legs to win the match.
“It was the biggest event I had won until Sunday.
“I went to the Cheshire Open and out of 128 entrants, I managed to win that as well.
“The best thing about that was there were eight professional players or eight PDC Tour card holders in the competition, various county players and players who play on the PDC Challenge Tour.”
Having won through the opening three rounds, Wilson came up against South Korean Kai Fan Leung, who is on the PDC Tour.
He was vanquished 5-3 which meant another meeting with a Tour card holder in the shape of David Evans.
Another 5-3 success ensued which put the Preston darter in to the last four stage .
That saw the competition move on to the stage with an audience and it was a platform which did not faze Wilson.
Taking on Bolton pro Joe Murnan, Wilson edged an exciting match via a decider.
“In the final, I played a young Welsh lad called Lewis Williams, who is another Tour card holder.
“He had just beaten Scott Waites,who is a former BDO world champion and PDC Grand Slam champion, in his semi-final.
“I managed to beat Lewis in another final leg thriller.”
Having taken so many big scalps this month , could there be a possibility of Wilson turning pro himself and who knows competing alongside the world’s best at the Professional Darts Corporation’s World Championships at Alexandra Palace in London?
A dart in the dark it could well be but after the confidence the Higher Waltonborn ace has gained over the past week, he is not ruling anything out.
“Absolutely there is always the chance that I could get a Tour card myself,” said Wilson, who has competed for Lancashire and plays for Preston’s 501 Darts team .
“It is very competitive. There are a lot of people out there with similar ability all fighting for the same thing.
“I need to have weekends like I have just had.
“I went to Q-School in February and unfortunately I didn’t qualify for the Tour although it did mean I got a place on the Challenge Tour.
“The top two on the Chellenge Tour win a place on the main Tour and that is the aim for me.”
Wilson – who is married to Joanne and has a daughter Sophie (19) and a son Sam (16) – has actually played on the main Tour in the past.
“I have been high enough in the rankings on the Challenge Tour to get invites to compete in main Tour tournaments,” he said.
“That was last year and I played Luke Humphries but I got beaten 6-3 unfortunately. It was a great experience and it’s happened on a few other occasions.
“I have played Luke Woodhouse and Rowby-John Rodriguez – I got beaten 6-4 on both occasions. So when I have played at that level, I certainly have not disgraced myself .
“Playing at the PDC World Championships is a dream – of course it’s a dream of mine.
“But I would never rule anything out.
“Arguably you would need some luck along the way but who is to say the luck won’t come your way one day.”
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