LEEDS DARTS ace Martin Atkins has described his world championship exit as his “worst nightmare”.
Atkins’ hopes of at least a quarter-final place at the BDO Lakeside event, in Frimley Green, Surrey, were shattered by an injury to his throwing arm.
The Yorkshire star battled on for two sets in his second round tie against Holland’s Rick Hofstra before having to withdraw.
Atkins – nicknamed Assassin and usually a heavy scorer – was clearly struggling and went two sets down before calling a time out.
After consulting with tournament officials he conceded the tie, but went back on stage to apologise to the crowd for failing to complete the match.
Atkins was due to visit a hospital casualty unit close to the venue to get the injury checked out and is still hopeful of playing in the forthcoming Dutch Open.
This year was Atkins’ 10th at the Lakeside and his earlier 3-0 thrashing of eighth seed Jeffrey de Graaf was the fifth time he has progressed beyond the first round.
“It was my worst nightmare,” he said of the second round drama.
“I’d rather have a bad game than have to pull out.
“I was gutted, because I think I would have won that game.”
Explaining the circumstances, Atkin, 48, said: “I had a niggle with it in the first game. Whatever it is, it is right in the joint of my arm so it is affecting me releasing the darts.
“For the first game I took painkillers and put Ralgex on it and it settled down. I played all right, no problems, but it swelled up the following day.
“I left it the day before the (second round) game and didn’t practice, just used pain-killer and Ralgex and it seemed to ease off. But just before I went on stage I threw a dart and it pulled again. I was in two minds whether to go on and play, but in the end I thought I’d give it a go.
“I thought a bit of adrenaline might carry me through and I’d see what happened, but after about nine darts I knew I couldn’t carry on, it was too painful.”
Atkins, who is ranked 15 by the BDO, felt he would have overcome Hofstra, if he’d been fit. The Rawdon-based thrower, who works as a motor mechancic, said: “He was very nervous. I thought it was a game I should be going out and getting on top of and winning.
“I was looking to do really well this week. I started off well, so it’s really disappointing.”
Now Atkins is tipping his Yorkshire team-mate Jamie Wilson – the second seed, from Huddersfield – to win the title in Sunday’s final.