Promising young darts player Robbie Hewson has his eyes on a place on the lucrative PDC tour after storming to the last 64 of the UK Open.
The 21-year-old produced the best results of his fledgling career as he beat world number 16 Simon Whitlock and then knocked out two-time BDO world semi-finalist Jan Dekker after a terrific fightback.
His performances came after finishing a highly creditable 47th out of the 550 who attended the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) qualifying school to try and earn a two-year professional tour card.
Despite missing out, his performance at Wigan and subsequent results have given him added impetus to try for another shot at the PDC which boasts the biggest names in darts including world number one Michael Van Gerwen and 16-time world champion Phil Taylor.
“He wants to go to Q School again next year to see if he can qualify,” said dad Kevin,
“If he gets his tour card he will commit to the darts and see if he can make it.
“He is there and thereabouts, but has got a bit more belief in his own game now.”
Robbie’s Q School results persuaded him to enter the 2017 UK Open, known within the sport as the FA Cup of darts, which attracts a prestigious international field.
He was among thousands of players to enter the qualifiers and faced the likes of world number 32 Darren Webster, Mervyn King and sixth seed and Premier League star Dave Chisnall.
The highlight of qualifying was a convincing 6-2 win over Australian star Whitlock on his way to a final ranking of 67th, good enough for a place in the 128-strong field for the UK Open finals.
Potentially facing three rounds on the first day at Minehead, Robbie opened with a 6-4 win against well-established player Ritchie Edhouse to set up a meeting with Dekker.
The Dutchman raced into a 5-2 lead, but after Hewson held his throw, he then took out a stunning 155 finish under fierce pressure, with Dekker on double top to win the match.
He then levelled the match with a clinical 13-dart leg before hitting tops to cap a stunning comeback.
Facing an extended best-of-19 legs format in round three, the Lincolnshire ace led 7-3 at the interval against Martin Lukeman.
He was one leg from winning at 9-6 and had two darts to go through at 9-8 only to succumb in a last leg shootout.
“It was a long day and he was tired by the end of it, but it is a good learning curve,” added Kevin. “Maybe longer practice will stand him in better stead for the next time.
“It has given him the belief that he can mix it and will only get better by playing the better players in the world.”
Robbie is following the same path as his older brother Sam (24) who spent two years on the rival BDO tour before financial pressures forced him to quit.
The siblings practice at their parents’ Maltby-le-Marsh home where the dining room was converted into a darts room and now houses between 200 and 300 trophies.
Both will continue to play PDC youth events this year, with Sam in his final year at the junior level.
The brothers currently run a gardening business, with Robbie getting support from Alford sponsor A. Murray, and both play regularly in the local darts leagues in Louth, Skegness, Alford and Mablethorpe.
On top of their prolific trophy haul, the Hewson brothers almost won a national title together when they reached the final of the county pairs championships at Lakeside.
Kevin added: “We are very proud of both of them.
“A lot of the other guys are playing day in and day out, but they have to fit work around their darts.”