TABERN EYES UP GLOBAL GLORY
ALAN TABERN is plotting his bid for world glory – from the warmth of his son’s bedroom.
The recent cold snap has forced the 43-year-old inside his St Helens home as he prepares for the World Darts Championship, which gets underway at London’s Alexandra Palace on Friday.
The left-hander, who is nicknamed ‘The Saint’, believes he is capable of making a major impact on the sport’s showpiece event which this year boasts a record prize fund of £1million.
“My preparations have gone well and my confidence is high,” he said. “I’m feeling a bit nervous but that’s a good sign.
“Usually I practise in the garage for a couple of hours each morning after I’ve taken the grandkids to school, and then have another throw out there in the evening.
“But it’s been getting a bit too chilly recently so I’ve been practising in my son’s bedroom.
“Now I can’t wait to get down to London and get started.”
Tabern, who is ranked 12th in the world, begins his challenge on Sunday afternoon when he faces one of the qualifiers, Canadian Ken MacNeil or Norman Madhoo of Guyana.
Victory would set up a second round clash with Mark Dudbridge or Andree Welge on Sunday, December 27. Whatever happens Tabern will be back in his home town for Christmas.
“I haven’t come across either Ken or Norman before and it can be difficult to play someone you’ve never seen,” he said.
“I’m just going to focus on my own game and treat whoever I play as a world beater. I’m travelling down on Saturday and will come straight back after.
“If I win it will be a great Christmas with the family looking forward to the second round. Lose and it will be awful having to sit at home and watch the rest of the tournament.”
Tabern has enjoyed a steady if unspectacular 12 months. He reached the last eight of the UK Open, but has failed to hit the heights he reached in 2008.
He remains 12th in the PDC Order of Merit – the same position where he began the year – having landed £135,926 in prize money over a two-year period.
“It looks like I’m loaded,” Tabern said. “I get stopped in St Helens and people say ‘with the money you’re on, you’ll be retiring soon’. But I only have one sponsorship deal with Red Dragon which isn’t enough to cover the costs of playing on the circuit. Out of my prize money I have to pay for my travel and accommodation.
“I’m a house husband as I gave up my job with St Helens council last year because they weren’t very supportive. It was a problem getting time off but it was a blessing in disguise as since I left I’ve jumped up the rankings.
“Last year I got to four TV quarter-finals and won three Tour events so in comparison 2009 has been a bit disappointing. But I’m still in the top 16, in every TV event and I got to three Tour finals. I haven’t played as well as I would have liked but now I want to finish the year on a high.”
Phil Taylor is the overwhelming favourite to land a record 15th world crown and secure a cheque for £200,000. However, Tabern insists ‘The Power’ is beatable.
“I’ve had a couple of close games with Phil and I’d feel confident playing him,” he said. “If you have a little bit of luck then anything can happen. I should have got further last year when I went out to Co Stompe in the second round. If I turn up with my A game this year and play the way I know I can then anything is possible.”
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