Darts player Carl Wilkinson is hoping to finish a mixed first year on the PDC tour by qualifying for next month’s World Championships. 

The 35-year-old courier driver from Darfield secured a two-year contract to play on the tour, which features the biggest names in the sport such as Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, at a qualifying event in January. 

He is yet to reach the last 16 of any tour event but recently competed in his first televised tournament at the Gibraltar Trophy in which he lost to world number three Daryl Gurney in the last 32 – earning £2,000. 

Wilkinson is set to compete at the end of this month in the qualifying event for the World Championship which will be held over Christmas at the Alexandra Palace in London and is seen as the pinnacle of the sport.  He is hoping to rise higher than his current ranking of 116th and compete in high-profile events such as the Premier League on Sky Sports. 

He told the Chronicle: “It’s a big end to the season. The World Championships are the one we all want to be involved in. This next month can make or break your year and change everything financially and with your ranking. 

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“I have averaged similar scores all year round but I know I need to really kick on. It hasn’t been the best year but it hasn’t been the worst either. I have learned a lot from playing some of the really big names like Daryl Gurney, Michael Smith, Mensur Suljovic and Peter Wright, and I have beaten some top 30 players.”

Wilkinson began playing darts aged 15 when he had finished a cricket training session and was walking through Darfield Village Club and he noticed a darts team was a player short.  He still plays for Darfield Village Club and Darfield Cross Keys in the local Barnsley leagues. Wilkinson hopes that his second year on the tour will be more successful than his first.

He said: “I didn’t set myself targets for the first year but I will have some targets for 2020. I want to be in the top 64 by the end of next year so I get automatically into the World Championship and I don’t have to qualify for a pro card again. 

“I have served my apprenticeship this year and I know what it is all about now. I have not been shocked by the standard but I know I have to improve a lot and that’s why I am starting to practice more. There’s a lot of hard work to do but I really want to make the most of this opportunity.  I need to get out of the bubble of watching darts on the TV all the time because I am one of those players now and I want to be playing against them not watching them.” 

Wilkinson has appeared at several tournaments in his hometown as the Metrodome regularly stages PDC events behind closed doors. He said: “Barnsley is the place we play most which is fantastic for me. It’s obviously right on my doorstep and easy to get to. I have played quite well at the Metrodome.”