Video: Norwich practice partners hoping to Lovett on PDC darts tour together
- Credit: Archant
Newcomer Jason Lovett is tapping into Darren Webster's knowledge of the circuit to prepare for life on the big stage.
Lovett earned one of 128 Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) tour cards at Wigan and needs to break into the top 64 within two years to keep it. So the Norwich player, nicknamed 'Love it', is using his fellow city practice partner to get ready for mixing it with the big boys.
Webster, 46, is enjoying his second stint with the PDC and Lovett admits his own arrival at darts' top table is all thanks to the support of the Demolition Man – as well as his partner Roz Bulmer, who he takes to the oche with him most evenings.
The 39-year-old rookie said: 'I've known Darren for years. We started practising seriously before he tried to get himself back into the PDC again (late 2013). I got pretty good and it was Darren who pushed me to take the next step.
'He told me I was good enough. A couple of years back he was always that bit better but playing with him helped me improve and he made me make that final push. He told me to give it a go.
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'I've practised hard for a couple of years but last year, playing on some tour events, was massive for me. It was a learning curve mainly on the mental side of the game. I learned about how to control my mind and body when I was playing and that's massive. I probably wouldn't have learned so quickly if it wasn't for Darren.
'He was pleased as punch I got my card as we're good friends. Now we want to push each other on and keep practising hard.'
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The pair head to Wigan next weekend for the UK Open qualifiers as they look to do their bit to ensure East Anglia's growing influence at the top level reaches new heights.
Webster, ranked 35, who trains with Lovett almost every day and will room with him on the road, said: 'I could always tell Jason had the ability to throw darts, anyone can see that.
'You can win in local leagues through ability but when you get to the pro circuit 90pc of the game is in the mind. It's about relaxing the legs, getting focused on the board, and not trying to give it the big one when the adrenaline rushes through you before a shot. You need to be able to control your emotions so that's what we've been working on a lot.
'If you practise on your own your own for three to five hours a day you can get bored. Jason has helped me along and it adds a bit of competition for us both. We want to beat each other. If he can get his focus right he's got the game there to do well. He wants to make the top 64 in two years but I think he can do it in one.'
Hopeful needs help after just missing target
While Jason Lovett was realising his dreams at Wigan another hopeful from Norfolk suffered heartbreak.
Downham Market's Stephen Carrett, last year's British Darts Organisation (BDO) English Championship winner, attended the PDC qualification school in an attempt to get into the top 128 in the world and earn a full tour card.
However, he narrowly missed out and now needs help to fund his chances of playing in a series of other high-profile events on the sport's best-known circuit.
Carrett can play in all six UK Open qualifiers, and the nine European Tour event UK qualifiers. In addition, he'll be able to enter Players' Championship events. And if the 128 tour card holders don't all enter further places are handed from the Q School Order of Merit (OOM) – where the 57-year-old scored seven points and is well placed to earn any available wildcards.
Carrett would need to pay to enter the pro tour events (£100 per event). The Challenge Tour events are for non-tour card holders. They are a series of 16 £10,000 tournaments held with two per day over four weekends during the year.
The top two players from the Challenge Tour OOM then win a full tour card, which is a good development pathway for Carrett and the other players.
'I first picked up a set of darts 11 years ago,' the Downham Market man said.
'I've become rather good and as a result of doing so well I can play against some of the top players. But I need sponsors to be able to do so.'
If you wish to help Carrett contact him on 01366 324442 or 07843 433927.
- Video by Antony Kelly