Small’s big darts victory

KIRKCALDY;'Darts player Alan Small, who won the Scottish Darts Singles at the weekend, at home with the trophy'photo; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'Darts player Alan Small, who won the Scottish Darts Singles at the weekend, at home with the trophy'photo; WALTER NEILSON
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A KIRKCALDY darts player is celebrating after winning a trophy that even the late great Jocky Wilson failed to get his hands on.

Alan Small won the Scottish Singles Championship at Bannockburn on Saturday – a notoriously competitive tournament between 128 of the best darts players in the country.

So difficult to win, in fact, that it even evaded the grasp of the former world champion who hailed from the same town.

For Small, the door to international darts is now open after he went one better than last year, when he finished runner-up.

“I lost last year’s final to Andy Boulton so just to get to the final again – let alone win it – is unbelievable,” he told the Press.

“It’s the best darts I’ve ever played in my life, and it had to be because it’s such a tough tournament to win.

“Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton never won it and they are two of the top players in the PDC at the moment – even Jocky Wilson didn’t manage to win the Scottish singles.

“This has hopefully put me in good stead for a Scotland call-up next year.”

Small’s victory is all the more remarkable when he explains that he was in questionable form leading up to the event.

“The night before I played for the Craigie Bar and lost my first league game of the season,” he said.

“I was absolutely terrible so to go and win the Scottish singles the next day is incredible.”

Small knocked out internationalists Alan Soutar and Craig Baxter on his way to the final, where he met Darren Beautiman of East Renfrewshire.

It proved a tense affair, with the match being decided on the seventh and final leg, with the players locked at 3-3.

“It was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Small said.

“I won the bull for the last leg, which really helped because it meant I was throwing first.

“I started with a 140 which settled the nerves and he never really caught up with me after that, and I managed to finish on double six.

“The feeling was absolutely unbelievable. The only time I’ve felt like that was when my three kids were born.”

It can be customary in darts to celebrate such a success with a few pints, but not for tee-total Small.

“I don’t drink so I drove the minibus,” he said.

“There was a nine of us from Fife at the tournament so I dropped everyone off, went home had a cup of tea, and then tried to get some sleep – which wasn’t easy!”

As well as earning him £500, Small’s victory has also secured his qualification for the prestigious Winmau World Championships held in Hull in September.