Neil Duff became world champion on the 10th of April after beating Thibault Tricole 6-5 in the WDF World Championship Final and he is already plotting how to return to win it again. Immediately taking advantage of competing in events such as the Online Live League.
Duff Man clearly enjoyed his debut campaign at Lakeside in what was a successful return to the famous venue after three years without competitive action.
The Northern Irishman said: “The WDF, the guys really pulled together coming off the back of COVID, financially it must have been tight. They got there in the end in what was a good week”. Neil produced victories over the likes of Richard Veenstra, Jim McEwan and Thibault Tricole in the Final, to become champion of the world for the first time in his career.
“The iconic stage has its own persona to it; experienced guys have said the buzz they got from playing on it.” The 49-year-old also said of his world stage appearances: “Lakeside is the home of world darts, I watched it growing up as a kid so for me walking out there it was some experience”.
The Ballyclare thrower didn’t start playing darts until he was 29 going on into his darting career. “Played local leagues then progressed on to counties and got a few caps for Northern Ireland. From then you start to realise there is a future in this, darts is a sport where you put your time in you get what you want out of it. I started practicing more and playing more tours, to me that was where I served my time.”
Duff was adamant that he was going to win the tournament because it was his daughter’s 18th birthday on the same day as the final, as a gift to her daughter and himself he wanted the trophy:
“The first interview I just thought to myself I’m going to win this; I’m not going to try my best I’m going to win this, and I had that installed in my head all week. No one was talking me out of it.”
The newly crowned champion didn’t have a set of signature darts going into the tournament so used a set of darts assigned to Premier League participant and Masters champion Joe Cullen:
“I had been using a set of darts in a competition in Scotland and someone stole them off my table before my first match, so I used a set of darts off the table: my friend’s darts. I won and he said to keep them, and I did because I was playing fantastic with them, hitting seventeen one eighties, I knew these were the darts for me.”
Neil was signed by Red Dragon back in November of last year and before his opening match saw RD worker Melvin working at Lakeside on a stand:
“Melvin was at the back at the RD stand, and I took a set off darts of him and went straight on the stage with them. Threw nine darts in the practise room, they’re that good a dart you pick them up and they’re exactly what you’re used to throwing.”
Northern Ireland captain Duff plans to stay in the WDF for another year and return to Lakeside and defend the title he won a month ago saying:
“WDF now until I go back and defend my title hopefully, 15th July do a bit of the senior events and exhibitions. There’s still a lot of work to be done before I go back and defend it, I go to Australia to the Australian open with my invite to as well as the Pacific Masters.”
“I set myself little targets to achieve and although I have the invite to go next year and defend it, my target is to get to WDF number 1”
Neil Duff was talking to his equipment sponsor Red Dragon Darts.
Full Interview: http://www.youtube.com/user/RedDragonDarts1
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