Justin Pipe back at Butlins Minehead for European Tour darts bid
Justin Pipe hopes enjoying quality family time whilst rivals descend on Somerset can give him an upper hand in recreating the European Tour success that kickstarted his 2012.
The Force returns to the scene of his biggest Professional Darts Corporation major success today, aiming to reproduce the form that earned him his most significant event win in Austria 11 months ago.
Lifting the inaugural Austrian Open in April last year boosted Pipe’s climb to ninth in the PDC Order of Merit, reaching the quarter-finals of both the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.
The 41-year-old then capped the year by bowing out in the last four of December’s Players Championship Finals at Butlins, Minehead.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Seventh-seed Pipe locks horns with German World Cup star Bernd Roith in the first round of this weekend’s UK Masters at the coastal venue following a week of practice at home with McCoy’s Premier League ace Gary Anderson.
And with the 2013 European Tour kicking off less than an hour from his doorstep, father-of-three Pipe was looking forward to a relatively relaxed approach.
He said: “I’m going there in a good, confident mood but we will obviously see what happens when I get up there on the stage. Being on home soil gives you a boost and it’s obviously been a happy hunting ground there for me.
“If I can carry on from where I left off I’ll be happy and if you told me now I’d be losing in the semi-finals on Sunday I’d be quite a happy chap. But obviously I want to go there and win it. I’m putting in the hours on the practice board to make sure I’m ready.
“It makes a big difference for us because all of the British lads have had to travel. We went to Berlin, Dusseldorf, Holland and Austria and for me I would normally have to go out on a Thursday and play on a Friday.
“This week I won’t have to go anywhere before Friday so it’s fantastic. I’ll be going there fresh, ready to rock and roll and get on the dartboard.
“The other players will be travelling on Thursday whilst I will have the luxury of staying him, practising and just chilling with the family. But you just never know, Bernd Roith might go out there and hit a 107 average to blow me away, you never know with darts.”
On his opening day opponent, Pipe added: “Bernd is one of those guys that slips under the radar and when he loses the score lines might not be flattering to Bernd, but it’s more because the other player has played really well.
“Bernd is a very solid player and a very steady player that can quite easily hit 90 averages very consistently. He’s a tough guy to beat and I’m quite sure that I will have to produce some great darts to win.”
After an unsuccessful trial with 26g darts in the opening ProTour round at Crawley last month, Pipe has returned to his 24g arrows.
He said he had no regrets at temporarily switching, believing the first of eight Speedy UK Open qualifiers was as good a chance as any to test the heavier darts even if he did not progress further than the second round on either day.
“They were going well at home but just didn’t seem right on the floor throws,” he said. “I’ll go back to the 24g and leave it at that now.
“They’re tried and tested, they’ve won ProTours and they’ve won a European Tour event so I know what they do. It’s silly to mess around, really, but I had to try.
“It was the first of eight UK Open qualifying rounds and if you are to try something different I think the first weekend is the time to do that.
“You can build on it if it goes well but whereas it was the right time to try different weights it didn’t go as well as I was hoping.
“Going back to my 24g I am going to be different with my confidence and I am looking forward to getting down there with my old darts and giving it a good go.”