DESPITE the euphoria of hitting his first professional nine-dart finish yesterday, Swindon’s Johnny Haines was most pleased with the way he maintained his focus in Crawley.
The High Street Club player achieved the feat when he hit double 12 in the third leg of his third round match with Jelle Klaasen in the Players Championship, putting him 3-0 up, but knew from bitter experience how vital it was he kept his focus.
His previous perfect leg came some two-and-a-half years earlier but, instead of being on the professional circuit against a former world champion, came in the semi-final of the Isle of Wight Open.
On that occasion Haines went on to lose the match, with his nine-darter proving to be his only leg victory in the contest, but this time the Swindon player was able to regain his focus and eventually eased past Klaasen 6-2.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Haines said.
“But my first thought was about winning the next leg because the last time I did it I lost 5-1 and it was the only leg I won.
“I had to see the match out and I did it and that’s the most important thing.
“It was a brilliant feeling, though, and you don’t really realise you’ve done it.
“This was the first one I’ve done in the PDC and it’s really special.”
Haines’ campaign ended in round four when he lost to Dean Winstanley, but he had already done enough to secure £1,000 by reaching round four, while Haines also qualified for the Gibraltar Darts Trophy on Friday night.
“It’s been a brilliant weekend and I played really well the whole time so it’s pretty pleasing,” Haines said.
“Getting through to Gibraltar is a good one because you can get some good money from those European Tour events.”
There was less to celebrate for the town’s other four players competing in Crawley, with none of Dennis Smith, Chris Aubrey, John Newland or Mark Cox making it to the Gibraltar event, before joining Haines in going out in round one of the first Players Championship event on Saturday.
Aubrey was beaten by Haines in round one of the second event yesterday while Smith went out to Mark Webster and Newland lost to Dave Ladley in the opening round.
Mark Cox was able to pick up money after winning his first round match but his haul was limited to just £250 as he went out to Robert Thornton in round two.