A TERRIFIC performance by Bransgore darts ace Scott Mitchell saw him storm through the field and win the final day of a qualifying school to earn a spot on the lucrative PDC tour.
In an emotional interview last night (Wednesday) Mitchell said the win – which earns him a place on the high profile Professional Darts Corporation circuit and a chance to play legends such as Michael van Gerwen and current world number one Gerwyn Price – said it was a “massive” moment in his life.
“I’m a farmer’s kid from a little village in the New Forest, man!” he joked, speaking with PDC Darts after beating Danny Baggish in the final.
“This isn’t normal. This shouldn’t be happening to me… we’re more worried about who’s feeding the horses when they shouldn’t be, and it’s a 50-quid fine and all this!”
“They know me as ‘Scotty the tractor driver’ and I just keep trying to be me. I’m just so pleased – today I’ve been in tears.”
Mitchell, a beef farmer and freelance landscape gardener, has had quite the journey since he started playing darts aged 16 in the New Queen pub in Avon.
His career has since taken him from the ranks of very good amateurs, playing for The Young Farmers in the Thursday night Hants and Dorset League, under local legend Whistle Hayes and in the Dorset Superleague, before going all the way to the top in the BDO.
Following his 2015 BDO win there have been flashes of brilliance, a spot consulting on a Hollywood film and struggles with form – before the collapse of the BDO championship forced Mitchell to look to the PDC.
Mitchell admitted going to the qualifying school last year for the first time had been an eye-opener, and has spoken candidly about not wanting to spoil the love he has for darts by letting the pressures – and potential riches – of the professional game get to him.
Speaking after the Q-school final win, he alluded to some of the outside pressures facing players coming over from the BDO to compete in the PDC, which is regarded as a higher standard.
“We all know social media, lots of people say have you got it or that I haven’t got it, and with this I’ve answered the question… the one that I knew, wife knew, my daughter knew and my son knew – but it’s the one you sometimes are always the last to realise,” Mitchell said.
“I’m a former England captain, it’s the most amazing thing you could ever achieve. Today I was in tears in the back room and they had to come and get me to play the last game [the final].”
Mitchell struggled on the first three days at the school; he was knocked out in the first game by Fallon Sherrock.
It was tough draw for ‘Scotty Dog’, being up against the first-ever female player to win a match at the PDC Championship, and he was given an equally tough assignment on the second day.
Paired against Jack Main – a youngster who was in form having lost in the UK final on Q-school day one – the Bransgore farmer was upended 6-2. On the third day, he made it to the last 32, before being beaten by Joe Murnan.
It meant Mitchell went into the final day on just one ranking point, but it did not matter as his sumptuous form saw him rattle off a series of impressive wins.
He beat Alan Norris 6-1, Gary Butcher 6-2, Graham Usher 6-1, Shaun McDonald 6-2 and Carl Wilkinson 6-3 in the quarters.
By reaching the semi-final against Andrew Gilding, Mitchell earned his tour card through points earned but, he admitted afterwards, he had not realised after being caught up in the emotion of the day.
He beat Gilding 6-2 and then completed a great day’s work easing past Danny Baggish 6-2 in the final.