Limavady man, Paul Brown (right) took the world of darts by storm at the weekend, reaching the semi finals of the Winmau World Masters in Hull.
The 32-year-old, well known from his football days with Sligo Rovers, Limavady, Coleraine, and Ballymena, went into the prestigious tournament unranked and went up against the top players in the sport.
A player on the County Darts Area 10 team and a long-time player for the Thatch Bar in Limavady, Paul stunned the other players and commentators when he upset the odds by beating Scott Waites by 3 sets to 0 to reach the quarter finals. The match was screened on sports channel ESPN. Brown went on to play in the semi final on Sunday, but was beaten.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, Paul said the support he had from the crowd was unbelievable. Had he won he could have taken home £25,000, but he said what he achieved has opened up so many new possibilities for him.
“I went in as a massive underdog,” he said, “but the support was unbelievable. I suppose it was one of those things where everyone wants to see the underdog do well. I’m not cocky and I don’t get on anyone’s back. I try to be relaxed and the support was unbelievable.”
Paul was due home last night and was expected to get a massive welcome from his friends at The Thatch.
In the meantime, having gained 21 ranking points from the weekend, Paul is aiming for qualification at Lakeside in Sheffield in 2014. He is also hoping some of the contacts who made themselves known to him will lead him to sponsorship.
The Eglinton and District Darts League gave their “biggest congratulations” to Paul Brown, “who also plays for the Rising Sun Bar in our league for his great achievements in reaching the semi-finals in Hull in the Winmau World Masters.
“He threw super darts for four days and kept the interest going across the province with everyone supporting Paul. He should be very proud. He is now, as always, a force to be reckoned with in the sporting world of darts and will achieve much more in the years ahead,” said a spokesperson, adding: “Two other local lads, Cormac Begley from Ballykelly and Sean McKinney from Greysteel, also went to Hull to throw in the Lakeside Qualifiers and Winmau Masters, and all three of them have a bright future in darts, as do many players in this league and across the province as the talent is certainly out there in Northern Ireland as a whole.”