Family Christmas will be the focus for in-form Darren Webster as he continues his PDC World Championship campaign
- Credit: LAWRENCE LUSTIG
He may be in the form of his life but Norwich darts star Darren Webster is looking forward to spending Christmas with his grand-daughter, rather than worrying about his big match at Alexandra Palace tonight.
The 48-year-old is in second round action against 17th seed Simon Whitlock at the PDC World Darts Championship – and is full of confidence.
'I'm playing better than ever in my life,' Webster said. 'I know it sounds daft but I don't think it's confidence, I just don't think too much about darts.
'I'll be in the hotel and just watching the TV and watching the darts, whereas I used to have about five hours sleep and worry.
'Now I sleep like a baby and I'm just looking forward to my grand-daughter (Ellie-Mae) enjoying her first Christmas.'
Webster won 3-2 against Stephen Bunting in the first round last Saturday, punishing the 16th seed for missing seven match darts, winning a tie-break, hitting eight maximums in the process.
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The Bowthorpe builder and Norwich City fan will not be able to wear his usual yellow and green shirt though, as his Australian opponent pulls rank as the higher seed.
'I'm feeling pretty confident going into it,' Webster added. 'I know you never know but I've probably never felt as confident in myself.'
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Webster has a positive 3-1 record against Whitlock and his opponent has spoken in the media about his hopes for revenge tonight (7pm).
The 47-year-old 2010 runner-up beat Dragutin Horvat 3-0 on Tuesday, taking the match with a superb 170 checkout.
'Revenge is all I am thinking,' Whitlock told the Daily Star. 'He beat me last year and he beat me in the last tournament I played him in, so I want to beat the man.
'He is playing his best darts at the moment, so I need to play my best darts to beat him.'
Webster will not worry about that rivalry though, as he continues with his policy of remaining relaxed.
'He's playing pretty good, I played him here not last year but the year before and then I beat him in Minehead (6-3 in the last 32 of the Players Championship Finals), so I'll let him do the worrying,' Webster continued.
'It's always going to be tough, even though I beat him last time and I'm playing well, he has been playing well recently as well.'
The victor is likely to face dominant world number one Michael van Gerwen in the third round – where beaten players claim £25,000 in prize money – which would be particularly tantalising for Webster.
That is due to the former Earlham High School pupil coming close to beating the Dutchman in the semi-finals in Minehead last month.
'If I win then obviously it will still be Christmas with my grand-daughter – but I'll probably carve the turkey in the shape of his head!' Webster joked about potentially facing van Gerwen again.
'I was 6-0 up against him but he came back at me and I guess that was inexperience but now I know how to deal with it because I know how to control myself better.'
North Walsham's Steve Beaton plays his second round match against sixth seed James Wade on Wednesday afternoon.