Ryan, who gave up his job as a window cleaner 18 months ago to commit full time to the PDC Pro Tour, lost the bull off but powered into an early lead in the opening leg with a 140 in response to Richard’s opening 40. Although Richard hit back with a 140 and ton of his own, he struggled to hit his double, letting Ryan back into a leg which he eventually won on 32 for an 18 dart leg.
The opening to the second leg was cagey as both players opened with sub-100 scores. Richard looked to have taken command though with a 180, the only one of the final, but could only follow up with a 41. Scores of 93, 96 and 124 meant Ryan clawed his way back again. Faced with 87, Richard could only score 71 to set up double eight. But once again, Ryan found the double 16 to seal a 2-0 win with a 28.63 average.
“He let me off in that first leg,” says Ryan. “I just kept telling myself to hang in.”
“I had no time to practice between the semi and the final and I’m the kind of player who needs to keep throwing to keep my arm loose. Perhaps that’s why I was slow off the mark,” he says.
Lifting the 2018 Worthington’s Champion of Champions crown and the £5,000 cheque is not only Westleigh, Devon based Ryan’s biggest win, he says it is also his hardest.
“The best of three format is cut throat,” he says. “Winning the bull is so important, but I failed to do so in both the semi and the final. I just concentrated on hitting a big score to start and try to put some pressure on.”
Looking forward, Ryan’s objective for the rest of the year is to continue competing on the PDC Pro tour and win qualification for the next three PDC European tours, and then the world championships.
Red Dragon’s marketing director, Simon Hall congratulated Ryan on his win.
“He’s a tremendous player and everyone on the circuit knows that behind that quiet exterior is the heart of a real competitor, as he showed today. He had tremendous support from his friends who came up from Bideford to support him and I’m sure he will be back next year looking to defend his title.”