Darts: Turner prizes chance to take on the big boys

Curtis Turner

Curtis Turner

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TADCASTER MARKSMAN Curtis Turner is hoping to arrow in on a showdown with one of darts’ big stars.

Turner has qualified for the Coral UK Open, which begins at Butlins, in Minehead, tomorrow.

The tournament gives amateur dartists an opportunity to face the sport’s top professionals. Turner secured his place through the Rileys Qualifiers and will face Jonathan Worsley is the first round tomorrow afternoon.

The 21-year-old works for his father’s firm, Calcaria Carpets in Tadcaster, and plays for Royal Oak in the York and District League. He said: “I am aiming for the third round. That’s when the bigger players come in.”

Turner has already shown he could be a force to be reckoned with.

“Last month there was a tournament at Rileys [sports bar] in Sheffield,” he said.

“There was a fair few people there, 90-plus I would say.

“Whoever won the tournament qualified for the UK Open and I went and won that.

“I can’t actually remember how many games I played. It was all a bit of a blur by the end of it. I was that happy I won it, but I probably played seven or eight.”

Turner has played on the PDC’s development tour for the past two years and is a Yorkshire county player in the rival BDO.

He has played at the BDO’s famous Lakeside venue in the Gold Cup pairs, but admitted the UK Open will be his biggest tournament so far.

“I will be a bit nervous, but I will be okay,” he said. “I have played on big stages before. I have played for Yorkshire, so I have plenty of stage experience.”

Teams-mates at the Royal Oak have been helping him prepare.

“It is big for them as well and they are very supportive,” he said. “Everybody’s been ringing up and offering to practice with me. “It is hard practicing on your own. It is a lot easier when you have got somebody to practice with. You can have a laugh and a bit of fun.”

Turner is hoping this weekend’s event, which culminates on Sunday, could be the start of big things. His long-term aim is to play as a professional, and he said: “That’s what I would like to do. I just need that lucky break.”

The Tadcaster man, who has been playing darts since he was nine, was travelling to Somerset today with York’s Richie Corner, who is also among the 128-strong field.

The tournament features 96 professional players who won through the six Coral UK Open Qualifiers held in Wigan during February. The other 32 are Rileys amateur qualifiers.

The top 32 players from the UK Open order of merit – including reigning champion Michael van Gerwen, world champion Gary Anderson, 16-time world champion Phil Taylor and 2014 UK Open winner Adrian Lewis – will enter the action in tomorrow evening’s third round.

PIC: Steve Riding

Photo gallery: Betway Premier League darts in Leeds