Craig Winstanley came through a big field at Riley’s Chester to qualify for the UK Open. Now the St Helens ace will rub shoulders with the big boys of World Darts.

Winstanley plays in the same Sunday team with Michael Smith and despite only going to the UK Open qualifier to have a few drinks and a bit of darts; he went on to win the whole event.

He spoke and admitted he was chuffed and that he had been practicing with Smith ahead of his PDC debut next weekend.

“I am just chuffed to get there and if it happens it happens.

“It would be a bonus if I won some money – but you need to win that first one to get anything,” he said.

He will have support at Butlins, with his parents and friends getting a minibus down for the event.

He has also received congratulations from Premier League leader Michael Smith, who he has been practising with.

“Michael congratulated me – and I have been practising with him and playing with Eddie Dootson.

“Although I had no holidays left, work have allowed me to go and have sponsored me too, so I have a lot to thank them for,” he said.

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Author: Samuel Gill