A TRIO of Swindon darts players will begin their quest to earn a PDC tour card at Qualifying School in Wigan today.
Mark Cox, Jack Tweddell and John Newland will be playing at the Robin Park Tennis Centre for the next four days in a bid to claim one of the 16 tour cards on offer, which would allow them to compete alongside the likes of Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen for a share of the PDC’s £7million prize fund.
The three players will have to battle their way through a field of 360 players to take one of the four cards on offer each day, against the likes of former Premier League player Peter Manley and other established starts including Kyle Anderson, who hit a nine-dart finish at the recent World Championship and former BDO world champion Christian Kist.
Cox has played in a large number of PDC events over the last two years, qualifying for the UK Open as well as a European Tour event, and is looking forward to the chance to earn a full-time slot this week.
“It should be good, although we all know it is going to be difficult because there are some very good players there,” he said.
“I went there last year thinking I would do okay, and I did do okay on certain days, but it’s very hard because of the quality of players there and you have to be very consistent and fit to do it.
“I know what to expect and none of the games will be easy but sometimes you have to start at the bottom. Peter Wright (2014 world finalist) did that and look at him now.”
Youngster Tweddell is looking to join his brother Chris Aubrey as a regular on the tour and believes he goes into this year’s school a much better player than last year.
“I’m really looking forward to it this year having been a bit nervous last year, but now I know how it’s done and what to do so I have to be more confident,” he said.
“I have got to the latter stages of the last two tournaments I’ve played and that’s great for my confidence, but I have to be on it from day one to make it through.
“There’s probably not much pressure on me because there are a lot of good players but I think I prefer nobody knowing who I am.”
The action begins in Wigan at midday.