Wellington darts player Ryan Searle has broken through into the last 16 of the World Darts Championship in north London, earning a minimum of £35,000 in prize money, which rises to £50,000 if he makes the quarter finals after a crucial match on Friday.
“This is a lot of money to me. To these big boys in darts it might not be much, but that’s a life-changing sum of money to me. What other job can you have where you can earn that sort of money in a week?
“I’m over the moon,” said Ryan, who lives in Holcombe Rogus and plays in the Wellington Darts League . “I’m still feeling quite nervous, this is all quite new to me. But I’ve got a good Christmas break before the big game now so I can’t wait. I’m lucky to even be here and had to play well to get here at all.”
Ryan defeated William O’Connor 4-1 on Saturday evening. Searle, the world number 61, had already dumped out world number seven Mensur Suljovic on Thursday night and took that confidence into the clash with the Northern Irishman.
It did not all go to plan from the outset for Searle, who lost the first set, but it was one-way traffic thereafter as the Somerset man punished O’Connor’s profligacy on the doubles.
The third set proved crucial, as O’Connor came back from two legs down and missed a shot at double 12 to go 2-1 up in the match – Searle replied by nailing his double eight and never looked back.
O’Connor was growing visibly frustrated on stage and Searle won the last set 3-0 to secure comfortable progress and continue his fantastic run.
Ryan called the amount that he has earned in the WDC games up to now unreal and that it will massively help him with ambitions to break into the top world 32.
‘I’m hopefully trying to push for the top 32, that’s where I’d like to be. But I mean the money is unreal, where else can you earn that kind of money. Some people don’t earn that (£35,000) in a year so that’s an unbelievable amount of money.’