Debutants - and a short interview

Debutants - and a short interview
This year the debutants in the World Championship turn out to be players not to be underestimated. There were no novices among the top 32 of the Order of Merit but among the players who qualified by the Pro Tour Order of Merit there were nine and among the players who qualified otherwise ten stood or will stand on the stage of the Alexandra Palace.
On the first three days already 11 played their first matches and four of them progressed into the second round and caused discussions beside all the other upsets the tournament already had. Or they at least made life awkward for their opponents, as did American Scott Kirchner with his extraordinary throwing style who cause Gary Anderson quite a headache. About some of the players you've never heard before - for example Cristo Reyes from Spain of Australian well, better English Australian Laurence Ryder. Sascha Stein to be sure is not one of the best known German players either.

But to be sure the times are over when you could shrug of debutants and international qualifiers as cannon fodder for the top players. When I was the first time in London for the World Championship - I think that was 2008 - those Preliminary Round matches were most of the time boring and on a very low level and to be sure not taken serious. Nobody really wanted to watch them. That has changed a lot and the quality by now is much higher and often enough a Preliminary Round winner had a run through a few further rounds.

I used the not expected opportunity and talked to one of the debutants - naturally to German Sascha Stein after his win in the First Round.
From Sascha one probably didn't hear much till know because he played more or less only soft-darts - with the exception of the Superleague of course. Due to this he can't show of on any remarkable achievements in steeldarts while he had some success in soft-darts in Germany and Europe. From now on Sascha intends to concentrate mostly on steeldarts, play the qualifiers for the European events of the PDC and eventually the Pro Tour and to be sure he wants to qualify for the World Championship again. Till now he has now sponsors to help him financially with his plays but might be that will change now after his World Championship performance.

Sascha told me he liked it very much to play Superleague and thinks it has enhanced his performance a good deal. As he didn't know anything or only little about his two opponents so far he didn't know what to expect from them and entered the tournament unencumbered. He is not afraid to play Michael van Gerwen next - on the contrary he's looking forward to it and feels he's nothing to lose anyway. Sascha stays in the players hotel and already practiced with some of the players. He didn't get the impression there are any prejudices like "that's a player from Germany and those are not really good". He felt they treat one another more like: "I don't know you - you don't know me but we respect one another. He added that his English is not really good and that he might not catch everything right.
He loved it on stage though he was a little bit nervous at first. He told me that he doesn't look at all what his opponents do so that even after the matches he has now idea about their performances. One wouldn't really hear the noise on stage. As he travelled together with Thorsten Brock from the PDC Europe I asked him whether he would here at all when he is cheered by him and Sascha answered that were no problem at all because the German would clearly stand out from all the English!
So wherever you come from - should you visit the World Championship make sure you cheer your fellow country men on stage - they will hear it!!!

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