Richardson all set to claim his place at the Alexandra Palace

Rushden darts star James Richardson. Picture by Lawrence Lustig
Rushden darts star James Richardson. Picture by Lawrence Lustig

James Richardson is set to clinch his spot at the PDC’s Ladbrokes World Championship this weekend.

And should everything go as planned, the Rushden player will be making an emotional return to the place where he stunned the darts world nearly 12 months ago.

Having qualified for the PDC’s showpiece event at the Alexandra Palace in London for the first time last year, ‘Ruthless’ was handed a first-round clash with five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld and promptly stunned everyone with a brilliant 3-0 victory.

It was a moment that, by his own admission, has changed Richardson’s life and he is hoping to hit the headlines again when the tournament gets under way on December 14.

Richardson will join the other PDC ProTour players for two Players Championships in Barnsley this weekend and he knows only a miracle will prevent him from booking his place at the Worlds.

“I am pretty much there on the ProTour Order of Merit,” the Rushden darts star said.

“Mathematically, I can be caught but it means players below me having runs to the semi-finals and finals. To be honest, I am hopeful of doing pretty well myself.

“So providing there is no miracle, I can start looking forward to the World Championship.

“That victory over Raymond changed everything for me.

“I am recognised by everyone in the darts world now and it has helped me get into a lot more exhibitions over the past year or so.

“I can’t wait for it again. Provided everything goes to plan, I will be up against one of the top 32 in the world in the first round again so it will be difficult but something to look forward to.

“You always get chances against any player on the big stage and I will need to take those chances again like I did last year.”

Richardson will know for sure whether he has qualified once the second of the Players Championships has been completed on Sunday.

The draw for the World Championship is due to take place on December 4.