Suffolk’s Ryan Meikle earns PDC tour card
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Ryan Meikle hopes to cut the opposition down to size after securing his place on the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) tour.
The 19-year-old self-employed barber from Rendlesham, earned his Tour card at Q School, in Wigan, earlier this month – an achievement that could result in him locking horns with elite stars such as Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen (pictured), Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld as early as next month.
Meikle is aiming to qualify for the forthcoming UK Open, in Wigan, next month – a tournament that feature’s the world’s best players and the teenager, who cuts hair in Saxmundham, said: “My first tournament is the UK Open qualifier and all the top players have to qualify, so I could potentially be coming up against the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor.
“It’s going to be tough but I would also like to qualify for some of the TV tournaments too.”
Meikle overcame seven opponents on his way to qualification, defeating, amongst others, 2008 PDC World Championship runner-up, Kirk Shepherd and 2000 World Championship semi-finalist Dennis Smith and has secured his card for the next two years.
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“It was the first time I had entered Q School so I was a little bit nervous, but over the last year I have done well and won a lot of tournaments. I have also managed to get time off work and secured some sponsors which enabled me to play and practice more,” Meikle added. “It’s all a bit weird and it took a while to sink in.
“I have got two years on the main tour so my objective is to get as near as possible to the top 64, retain my card and try and dominate in the youth tournaments – I finished in world top 40 in the youth rankings last year, so I would like to kick on from there.”
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While Meikle and Hadleigh’s Curtis Hammond are East Anglia’s young pretenders on the PDC tour, a number of other local players have carved out successful careers on the oche.
Keith Deller won the 1983 BDO World Championship, while fellow Ipswich-born player Mervyn King, Essex-based Ipswich Town fan Kevin Painter and Mendham’s Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright, are also successful professionals.
“It would be a dream to play against some of the top players. It’s the kind of thing you think about when you are young,” Meikle explained.
“Phil Taylor is probably the player I look up to the most, given his achievements in the game.
“I am also a big fan of Peter Wright and have played him, which was just weird.”