Leighton Bennett is commanding plenty of attention – and not always for good reasons.
For the most part, the 13-year-old has been earmarked for future glory after bursting onto the scene in style. A convincing victory over Nathan Girvan to seal the BDO World Youth Championship set tongues wagging, with Bennett tipped to go from strength to strength.
But the player dubbed “Boom Boom” has been criticised for his bombastic behaviour. Some enthusiastic celebrations in the win over Girvan led to claims accusing the Lincolnshire ace of arrogance. Bennett, speaking to Live Darts, wanted to distance himself from any perceived overconfidence.
“I was quite surprised to see some of the comments I got on social media. Lots of fans said I was too cocky,” the youngster said.
“I’m really not like that, I just got carried away in the moment. It’s not every day a 13-year-old gets to win a World Championship!
“It was definitely the best moment of my life so far, but I’m not getting carried away at all – my feet are definitely on the ground.”
“Winning is such a huge buzz”
Bennett paid tribute to the people who are offering support, including a Target Darts stablemate and fellow world champion.
“I’ve got good people around me including Rob Cross. He’s been an amazing mentor and he gives me quite a lot of stick as well, that certainly stops me from ever being arrogant!
“I won’t stop my celebrations though. I know that Gerwyn Price was fined for his celebrations in the Grand Slam but I think players have to show their emotions.
“Winning is such a huge buzz, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop leaping around.”
In one of the most unique darting exhibitions ever staged, Bennett will take on 16-time world champion Phil Taylor at the Tower of London. The darting prodigy is looking forward to meeting the master in ‘Power at the Tower’.
“I’m really looking forward to playing Phil. I’ve played Rob and James Wade previously but this is very special to me.
“I think the main thing is to make sure I don’t respect him too much and just to play my own game.
“I’m learning not to let any occasion get to me. The Tower of London will be such an amazing venue.
“Phil has already joked to me that he’s going to leave me hung, drawn and quartered in the Tower. He’s started his mind games but all the pressure is on him.”
Author: Ed McCosh