Brandon hits the bullseye

Rossington darts player Brandon Walsh, 18, has qualified for the UK Open. He is pictured with 2004 BDO World Champion Peter Manley.
Rossington darts player Brandon Walsh, 18, has qualified for the UK Open. He is pictured with 2004 BDO World Champion Peter Manley.

ROSSINGTON thrower Brandon Walsh is hoping to follow in family footsteps when he makes a dream debut appearance at the UK Open this afternoon, writes Liam Hoden.

The 18-year-old is a relation of former World Matchplay champion Rod Harrington and is determined to emulate ‘The Prince of Style’ by reaching the top of the game.

And his journey starts today in the first round of the tournament affectionately known as the FA Cup of darts, his first steps onto the big stage.

Walsh takes on world number 44 Mensur Suljovic at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium this afternoon.

But the confident Hall Cross A level student insists he will not be fazed.

He said: “I’m not really nervous about it, I’ve just got to go out and play the darts I know I can.

“I think I’ve got what it takes to get around Suljovic who is hot and cold.

“I’m confident in my abilities to get through it and from there you never know.

“It’s a dream come true and I can’t wait for it to start.”

Walsh is determined to reach tomorrow night’s third round stage when the biggest names in the sport enter.

“I’d love to play one of the top players and have a chance to show what I can do,” he added.

It was watching darts with his grandad - uncle of former world number one Harrington - that hooked Walsh on the sport.

He has played for the Yorkshire youth team and last year qualified for the inaugural PDC Under 21 World Championship.

Qualification for that event also sealed a place on the PDC Youth Tour in its maiden year, along with highly touted young Dutch thrower Michael Van Gerwen.

He said: “I’ve been doing okay on the tour, average I’d say, but the competition is hard.

“I’ve been playing really well but not picking up the wins.

“I do love it though.”

Walsh travelled to Stoke in April for the qualifying round for the UK Open.

He came through the first stage by scoring one of the eight highest totals with 15 darts before winning a straight knockout match to earn passage to the Bolton showpiece.

On hand at the qualifying stage was former BDO world champion Andy Fordham who offered advice to those competing.

Mexborough duo Dennis Priestley and Darren Johnson will both begin their UK Open campaign in the third round tomorrow night.