Ricky Evans admits the very idea of him competing in the PDC’s Ladbrokes World Darts Championship is “crazy”.
But the Kettering youngster will be doing just that after he earned his place at the competition, which starts at the Alexandra Palace in London on December 13.
In only his first year on the Pro Tour, the 23-year-old has already been a World Youth Championship runner-up and competed at two of the PDC’s majors – the UK Open and the Grand Slam of Darts.
But a stunning showing in the second of two Players Championships in Barnsley last weekend saw him beat, amongst others, reigning Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen, on his way to the semi-finals.
It followed on from a couple of other fine displays late on in the calendar and the extra prize money pushed him into one of the automatic qualifying spots for the World Championship in the Pro Tour Order of Merit.
He will join Irthlingborough’s Kevin McDine in Monday’s draw, which is live on Sky Sports News at 11.30am, while Rushden’s James Richardson missed out on this occasion.
And Evans is still struggling to take it all in.
“At the beginning of the year, I just wanted to make it to Bolton (UK Open),” the Kettering star said.
“But this is crazy, I am going to the World Championship and I am going on merit. No-one has given me anything.
“I think I was on around £3,000 of prize money going into the last four Players Championships and I have picked up something like £8,000 in those to get there.
“I think the experience of playing on the youth tour has helped me. Darts is a confidence game and I have won matches on the youth tour and taken that into the senior one.
“I can’t wait for it. It is a dream come true for me and I hope I can go there and do myself justice.”
Evans will be drawn against one of the top 32 seeds in the first round and while he would prefer to face someone further down the scale, he insists he will fear no-one.
“It would be good to get a match where there is a real chance to get through,” he added.
“But it is going to be hard no matter who I get. I like to think I can play a bit and I am looking forward to seeing who I get.”
The World Championship will also be screened live on Sky Sports meaning another television appearance for Evans.