Not too many people had Reece Robinson on their list of potential winners at PDC Q-School 2019.
The 26-year-old, a regular on the Challenge Tour and Development Tour circuits, hadn’t been in the public eye since losing his Tour Card at the end of 2013. His previous Q-School attempts had been far from successful. And after two days of play at this year’s events, Robinson hadn’t made any inroads. But a superb run of form on day three in Wigan saw him win eight matches to reclaim a precious PDC Tour Card. In an exclusive interview with dartsnews.com, Robinson claimed that his breakthrough performance was very much business as usual.
“(It was) just as normal for me. I didn’t change anything from the first two days,” the Hull thrower said.
“I’d played pretty solid over days one and two, so thought ‘just continue to play your game and prepare correctly, and you’ll get your chances'”.
Robinson secured wins over the likes of Callum Loose and Sam Hewson to reach the last 16 of the third Q-School event. Eventual Q-School Order of Merit table-topper Jonathan Worsley and 2018 UK Open semi-finalist David Pallett were both edged out in a last-leg decider. All that stood between Robinson and a spot on the PDC Tour was reigning three-time BDO champion Glen Durrant.
The Lakeside winner was under pressure to fulfill what was expected of him; Robinson was very much the underdog. Averaging 86.8, the Humberside ace beat his Teesside rival 5-2 to cause a surprise. It was that expectation on Durrant’s shoulders that Robinson feels gave him the edge.
“I was quietly confident going into the game against Glen, knowing he had a lot of pressure on him,” he said.
“I did too, but maybe not on the same scale, knowing that a loss would have me still on nine points on the Q-School Order of Merit going into the last day.
“So I thought ‘nothing to lose, just try and relax, and play my game’.”
Pro Tour return
It isn’t the first time that Robinson will take part on the Pro Tour. The then-reigning World Youth Master was handed a spot on the circuit in 2011. He was unable to retain it, and it led to a period away from the top level of the game, before he made Q-School visits in 2017 and 2018. The time in the darting wilderness has helped his development, and it seems the PDC will see a new Reece Robinson in 2019 and 2020.
“I feel as though I’ve changed a lot over the last few years as a dart player and as a person.
“It probably all came a bit too soon for me the first time around,” he admitted.
“I had to go away and learn a lot about myself, and do a lot of growing up. I think I’m ready to give it a real go now.”
Playing on the Development Tour aided his progress, and gave Robinson the motivation to take the step up. Watching Development Tour opponents such as Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Dimitri van den Bergh lit a fire under the English prodigy.
“I mean, I can’t deny that watching these types of players do so well in the big TV majors made me feel it could have been me,” he said.
“But they have worked hard, and deserve everything they have got. It just gave me the hunger to have a go myself.”
Being a Tour Card holder opens a lot of doors for Robinson. He is guaranteed a return to the UK Open, where he has made waves in the past. A run to the last 64 of the 2010 UK Open was eclipsed a year later, where he beat the likes of Wayne Mardle and fellow 2019 Q-School graduate Barrie Bates en route to the last 32.
Robinson, while pleased to be heading to Minehead, has loftier goals in mind.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in the UK Open again this year. It’s where I made my name some years back,” he said.
“But I’m hoping to qualify for as many European Tour events as I can, and hopefully qualify for a few other majors.
“A place in the World Championships at the end of the year would be a successful year for me.”
And if Q-School 2019 taught us anything, it’s that Reece Robinson shouldn’t be written off.
Tags: Interview, PDC, Q-School 2019, Reece Robinson
— Live Darts (@livedarts) January 19, 2019
Author: Ed McCosh