Ricky Evans says he is walking around with “a permanent smile on my face” after he brought the house down at the Alexandra Palace on Saturday night.
The Kettering darts player produced an incredible fightback from 2-0 down in sets and 2-0 down in legs to beat Australia’s Simon Whitlock 3-2 in the first round of the PDC’s William Hill World Darts Championship.
Evans, who lived up to his nickname of ‘Rapid’ by firing in 180s in double quick time, had the crowd right behind him as he made his mark in his second appearance at the biggest tournament on the darts calendar.
The 25-year-old is now preparing to take on Jamie Caven in the second round on Boxing Day night.
And he is enjoying the limelight his stunning success over Whitlock has brought with it.
Evans said: “I have never felt so popular!
“I am still on a bit of a high and I am walking around with a permanent smile on my face.
“If I had started like that then I probably would have won a lot easier but I didn’t play to my speed.
“Once the writing appeared to be on the wall I just relaxed and I didn’t look back from there.
“My manager said to me that he has never seen me so animated on stage but the crowd got right behind me and that drove me on.
“It was the crowd that got me over the line.”
“Everyone knows me now.
“I knew I was the fastest darts player but I have shown it on the biggest stage now and people seem to have taken to me.
“It’s been great to get a lot of coverage, that’s what any player wants.
“But I still have a job to do and now I am focused on playing Jamie on Boxing Day and trying to get through to the next round.”
Evans is already guaranteed a cheque for £15,000 for reaching the second round of the competition.
But he confirmed he was now having to try to get out of a shift of working in a petrol station in Kettering on Christmas Day as he prepares for the clash with Caven.
“I am supposed to be working on Christmas Day but I need to travel down there so I can prepare properly,” he added.
“The darts is obviously very important to me and we are trying to sort it out so someone else can cover my shift!”
Read more from Ricky Evans in the Christmas Eve edition of the Northamptonshire Telegraph on Thursday