Mark Webster’s scintillating run at last weekend’s World Grand Prix has certainly sparked attention. Webster put together an admirable semi-final run in Dublin and will look to continue revamping his career and reach towards a top 16 place once again.
Going into the tournament, Webby was a rank outsider and after speaking to him earlier this week, he informed me of his intentions: “Going into the tournament, I wanted to get through the first round and then take it from there. Making it all the way to the semi-final was a massive bonus.” This is a monumental understatement. His top 32 place was hanging in the balance, by a thread you could say. The magnificent performance at the CityWest gives him the impetuous to reignite his TV title chances: “The Grand Prix has done wonders for my confidence as it’s the best run I’ve had on TV in almost 4 years so I’ll now aim to build on this for future events.” His last broadcasted final four match came at the UK Open of 2011, a year where he demolished Phil Taylor 5-2 to reach the semis of the World Championships.
A jam packed three months represents a huge challenge for the Welshman, although it could materialize into a significant opportunity with The European Championship, Grand Slam, World Series and Players Championship all being fought for throughout November and on consecutive weekends. “In the coming months I’ll be hoping to just keep improving my ranking and hopefully competing in more TV events. I’d like to think I can compete with the big boys again, but I’m under no illusions. I’ve got a lot of improving still to do before I’ll be competing on a regular basis.”
Webster’s sudden slide down the rankings could have been put down to a lack of confidence. Prior to reaching the 2014 World Championship semi-finals, he had failed to reach a major quarter-final all year, all but ending his chances of regaining world title glory for the first time since 2008 in the BDO. Many of sports’ most renowned stars have associated the so called ‘nappy factor’ with a return to form, Gary Anderson the latest to add his name to the ever growing list. His World Championship and Premier League triumphs came following the birth of his son Kai in 2014. Now, Webby is in on the act. “The so called nappy factor I’d say has helped. Becoming a father is so rewarding and distracts you in a good way from the trials and tribulations for the darts circuit and has defiantly helped me get back on track.”
Whatever happens in the upcoming conglomeration of tournaments, Webster looks like a happy darts player, which can only be a good thing for the millions of viewers watching.