Missing first World Tour makes ace more focused
NARROWLY missing out on a place at the inaugural Professional Darts Corporation World Tour has made Justin Pipe more intent on making subsequent rounds.
The world's top eight ranked players head to the $250,000 Dubai Duty Free Masters in May for the first open air event of its kind, with the winner scooping $50,000.
However, Pipe of North Curry near Langport will be glued to the practice board having failed to qualify by the slenderest of margins. The Force is currently ninth globally, just £400 behind Dave Chisnall.
As Pipe starts preparations for the first PDC ProTour floor event in Crawley next month, he said he was focused on surpassing his achievements of 2012 which included two major quarter-final finishes and a semi-final at the Players Championship.
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He said: "My goals this year are very similar to what I had last year. I want to get inside the top eight and with the launch of the World Tour I want to be involved with that.
"Naturally that is a big goal, but my overriding goal for this year is to climb four places to get into the top six. That's the main goal if you like, but before that for me is to continue from where I left off last year and to do even better.
"If I do that then I will be doing really well and that is what I intend to work on. Hopefully I will reach a couple of televised semi-finals or even a quarter-final, but we will see and it all depends on a draw.
"I will be practising really hard for five hours a day so I really hit the ground running at Crawley. I want to climb up those rankings and get into this World Tour.
"It would have been nice to have been included in those eight players to go to Dubai in May, but those players are sorted now. There will be another event somewhere else so it would nice to crack that top eight, but who knows?
"I'm £400 behind Dave Chisnall and about £9,000 behind Raymond van Barneveld. I am looking to get past both of them by hopefully the fourth ProTour event but you never know as Barney might turn up at a couple of ProTours and win them.
"In the same breath I might win a couple instead, you just never know how it is going to go."
On the Dubai Masters, PDC chairman Barry Hearn said: "Our aim is that the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters will be the inaugural tournament in a World Series of Darts which will see our top players taking the sport around the world, and our negotiations are continuing to turn this vision into a reality."
Forty-one-year-old former tree surgeon Pipe returns to competitive action in Crawley towards the end of February and will take to the oche with new-look darts, two months after his last outing at the World Championships against Mark Walsh was characterised by the Midlands man lending his opponent an arrow after Pipe's broke.
"Crawley is the next PDC event and I am looking forward to that," said Pipe. "I am practicsng hard for it now and the preparation is going well.
"I have been sent some new darts from Japan and Cosmo have provided me with some 26g barrels to try out. We have been practising with them for about two weeks, trying different points to get the right balance on them and I think we've got it sorted now.
"I will be practising hard with them and getting ready for Crawley. We've got another month before that round so any preparation I haven't done by that point won't get done, I've got plenty of time to get going and I will look to use it well."
Pipe will entertain a Somerset crowd on May 11 when he heads BackLash 2013, an exhibition also boasting Burnham-based Scot Gary Anderson on the bill.
Simon Whitlock, Paul Nicholson, Kevin Painter, 1983 World Champion Keith Deller and BDO favourites Martin Adams and Tony O'Shea are also set to feature.
Pipe said he was looking forward to locking horns with some of the sport's biggest names at Bridgwater's Blake Hall.
"Bridgwater is the closest I'll get to home and it is my first exhibition there," he said. "It will be nice and having done one in Bristol and winning that one it would be good to win one even more local as well.
"You obviously want to turn up and win as there is pride at stake. You never want to lose and we will see what happens on the night.
"It should be a good night and I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be a good night and everybody will go there and try as we will all want to beat each other."
For more information on BackLash 2013 visit www.livesportsevents.co.uk.