From the 19th to 22nd January 2017 the PDC will hold their qualifying school at Wigan. Players who win or accumulate enough points over the 4 days earn a PDC tour card and can play as one of 128 players on the PDC professional dart circuit.
The only New Zealander to ever play in the school was Jack Harrington of the Richmond Working Mens Club, Christchurch. He went to England with his father Dave and mother Jane in December 2012 to support Dave who had qualified to play in the 2013 PDC worlds darts championship. Dave was knocked out in the preliminary round and Jack stayed and played in the qualifying school. He did not do well enough to get a tour card but is still the only New Zealander to try.
The pictures above show Jack after winning a Club NZ Youth title and the second shows Jack and his father Dave after Jack successfully trained his first winning horse in his chosen occupation of horse trainer.
I would love to see another top kiwi have a go but I am not sure it is going to happen. Not this year anyway. Most of our top players have families, jobs and other responsibilities which would make it hard financially to initially go to England and try and if successful in getting a tour card then commit to a life where missing a double could mean no food on the table.
Some commentators put the cost once you get to England at about $25,000 pound a year in just travel, accommodation and entries into tournaments. If you have not got a sponsor or you are not winning you will not last long.
Have we got players that could potentially make it? You bet we have. However just like we all know some super players in the different towns and cities around New Zealand who could succeed nationally but do not because they never travel the same applies internationally. Some players could make but will not take the risk.
One day someone will make the gamble and go for it. More power to them when they do it.