KNOTTINGLEY darts player Dave Smith is making his mark on the professional circuit.
The 39-year-old (pictured), who plays for Progressive Club in the Castleford and District Darts and Dominoes League, recently qualified for a pro tour card from the Professional Darts Corporation which allows him to play in all PDC’s competitions this year.
He has also acquired a nickname and is now known in darts circles as Dave ‘The Rhino’ Smith due to him having lived most of his life in Leeds.
He has personalised shirts and flights thank to Tony Sharrett at Madhouse Darts.
Last weekend, he competed in the UK Open qualifiers at Barnsley Metrodome.
On Saturday, Smith drew former world number eight and Premier League player Mervyn King in the first round. At 5-3 up in a race to six legs, Smith had two shots at double 16 to win the match but he missed.
King won that leg and the next two to win 6-5 which included a 10 dart finish and a 13 dart finish but Smith was happy with his own form.
On Sunday, Smith was again out of luck in an open draw of 147 entries when he was paired with world number six Terry “The Bull” Jenkins in the first round.
Smith found himself 4-2 down but then hit 100, 180 and 180 on Jenkins’s throw to leave himself needing 41 after nine darts, only to miss two darts at double 16. Jenkins failed to capitalise and Smith won the leg before levelling at 4-4.
Jenkins went 5-4 ahead and Smith missed clear darts to make it 5-5 before eventually losing 6-4.
Smith said: “I am playing well but I am just not getting that crucial double at the right time. It’s back to the practice board to get the doubles as the trebles aren’t a problem.”
Smith started a busy period by playing in the two players’ championships in Germany. In the first, he lost 6-3 to Scotland’s John Henderson who reached the semi finals.
Smith was then beaten 6-1 by Sewden’s Magnas Caris in the first round of the second tournament.
The next two players’ championships were held in Derby.
He had a tough first round draw in the first tournament against number 14 seed Wayne Jones, of the Midlands.
Smith was 5-2 down but hit back superbly to win with the help of a 152 finish and then a 116 finish to clinch the match after Jones had left himself 40 after just 12 darts.
Smith beat Alex Roy 6-2 in the next match but then lost 6-4 to Yorkshire legend Dennis Priestley.
In the second tournament, Smith beat Andy Brown 6-4 in the first round but faced Magnas Caris again in the second round and was pipped 6-4.