Highwayman Chris Dobey has completed the journey from putting out the cones on motorway lane closures to the darts Premier League big time.
And make no cones about it – the Geordie nicknamed ‘Hollywood’ is determined to pass his screen test with flying colours.
Dobey landed by far the biggest payday of his career on Sunday night when he scooped the £65,000 winner’s loot at the Cazoo Masters in Milton Keynes.
Just as Jonny Clayton and Joe Cullen were handed golden tickets to the Premier League by winning the Masters, 32-year-old Dobey has followed suit.
He has been named in the Professional Darts Corporation’s eight-man cast for the 17-week travelling circus which pitches its big top in Belfast on Thursday night for the start of the 2023 season.
But Joe Cullen – who reached last year’s final and came within a dart of beating Michael van Gerwen to the £275,000 top prize – has surprisingly missed out.
Cullen cursed that wiring his shot at double 16 for the title cost him £150,000 as the most expensive dart in history – as the difference between lifting the trophy and being runner-up.
For Dobey, who beat Rob Cross 11-7 in the Masters final, hopes his inclusion in the Premier League will only be the start of a momentous sporting week on Tyneside – with his beloved Newcastle United closing in on Wembley in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
He said: “I’ve come a long way since I was putting out the cones on motorway contraflows as a traffic management operative.
“I knew this moment was coming and I’m already thinking about winning the next TV major, not just stopping at one.
Mike Owen/Getty Images)
“Am I ready for the Premier League? Who knows? But it will mean the world to me to play on that stage in front of the fans in Newcastle and I know my game has an extra gear to kick in.
“I don’t think the Masters trophy is quite big enough to be taking it round St James’ Park on a lap of honour, but the city is buzzing at the minute – the football’s going better than most people expected and we’re living the dream.
“It’s a one-club city and this is a huge week for Newcastle United: We could make it to our first cup final at Wembley in 24 years and obviously this is the best time of my darts life.”
- Premier League line-up (top four in PDC order of merit qualify automatically, other four are selected by Sky Sports and PDC board): Michael Smith, Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price, Jonny Clayton, Nathan Aspinall, Dimitri van den Bergh, Chris Dobey.