Darren Webster had a word of warning for any critics who continue to write him off.

It’s well documented that the world number 15 has had a tough start to the season. Webster has been hit with a case of tennis elbow that required surgery, but continued playing through the pain. Unsurprisingly given the injury, his form hasn’t been at the level it was in 2018. That being said, the Demolition Man has reached a number of European Tour events, recently reached successive board finals at the Players Championship events in Hildesheim, and held on to his seeding at the World Matchplay.

“You just have to get on with it. Gary Anderson and that, they didn’t even play [when injured]. I just played through it,” Webster told Live Darts.

“It seems I haven’t had too great a year, but I’ve still qualified with a bad arm for the Europeans. And I’m hopefully on the up for the Pro Tours.

“It can’t be helped. You can either strop or get on with it, and I’ve got on with it.”

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Not the underdog

Despite being the 15th seed at the World Matchplay, Webster wasn’t widely backed in his first round tie against Krzysztof Ratajski. The Norfolk thrower ended up losing 10-5 with an 88.61 average, but still feels that being written off was unwarranted.

“What frustrated me with the Matchplay was…I didn’t say [afterwards] that Krzysztof was a rubbish player, just that he played rubbish on the day.”

The Pole averaged 89.23, a similar level to Webster, but took advantage of missed doubles to close out the win.

“I missed an opportunity – I was practicing brilliant, my arm was great. I got up there and didn’t perform like I thought I was going to.

“He’d been playing brilliant, and for him to be off like that, and how I was practising, I missed a great opportunity,” the 51-year-old admitted.

“I mean, OK, I had my arm done. But they didn’t give me anything – like ‘his arm’s getting better’ – it was all about someone else.

“He was world number 37 and I was 16, so 21 places ahead. And it was his first time up there – no matter how well he was playing, that’s his first time.

“And the last two times, I’d reached the quarter-finals. Then they make me a complete underdog.”

Wayne Mardle was one of those who ruled out a Webster win. In a World Matchplay preview, the Sky pundit said that a Ratajski win was “the absolute certainty of all certainties”.

“To be fair, that’d upset you, because you put all that effort in all your life and they just write you off,” pointed out an animated Webster.

“That’s the best thing they can do for me. Because when you write me off, I come back fighting.”



Author: Ed McCosh