Dean Winstanley hopes for the World

Dean Winstanley

Dean Winstanley

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Dean Winstanley hopes after this year’s PDC World Darts Championship that he is remembered for much more than a wild celebration.

A year ago, the Swinton-born thrower etched his place on World Championship highlight reels for years to come after sprinting from the stage to celebrate his nine dart finish against Vincent van der Voort.

His perfect leg was just the fourth in the history of the competition but he went on to become the first man to lose the match in which he hit a nine-darter.

Now 12 months on, Winstanley focus is making sure he gets past his first round encounter with former BDO world champion Richie Burnett on Friday night.

“I’ve looked back on that nine-darter as a blessing and a curse,” Winstanley told the Times.

“I’ve not had the best of years and I think, certainly towards the start of the year, I was affected by it.

“I rode the wave of hitting that for a few months and it wasn’t the best thing for me.

“But I wouldn’t change what happened last year.

“People have asked if I had my chance again would I take the nine-darter or the win.

“I’d still go with the nine-darter.

“If I get the chance again this time around I’ll try and take it and I’ll probably run around like an idiot if I hit it.

“But what I would make sure of this time was that I got my head right quickly and concentrate on finishing the job.”

Winstanley is neck and neck with Burnett after two meetings on the PDC circuit and the 32-year-old is expecting an entertaining encounter.

After a year of poor form, ‘Over The Top’ is targeting a good run at the Alexandra Palace to kick off 2014 in style.

He said: “I want to be in the top 32 in the world and this tournament is the one where you can cut the gap down massively.

“It’s the end of the year but the start of the next year as well.

“We’ve seen in the past that the Worlds are a great platform to kick off from.

“It’s been a poor year for me. I was on TV twice this year and that’s not nearly enough for where I want to be.

“Things have started to come together well and I expected to do better at the Grand Slam of Darts last month.

“I was disappointed to go out in the group stage for the first time, particularly because I had Michael van Gerwen on the ropes but messed up on the doubles.

“But games like that build your confidence.

“Van Gerwen’s rightly built the reputation as a machine that can’t be stopped but I was so close to doing that.

“It’s time he was brought down a peg or two.”

Winstanley has spent this week in Fleetwood practicing with world number eight Wes Newton in preparation for what he hopes will be a lengthy stint in the World Championship, the final of which takes place on New Year’s Day.

The former BDO World Championship finalist said: “I’m delighted to be going to the Ally Pally at all to be honest after the year I’ve had.

“It’s the stage that everyone wants to play on and there’s nothing like it.

“The noise when I hit the nine-darter last year was incredible.

“I’ll be there to concentrate on my own game.

“We all go there with the same aim and that is to become world champion.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the odds on favourite or a preliminary round qualifier, there’s no difference in your goal.

“Everyone knows Phil Taylor has what it takes to do it and that he’s on great form going into it.

“But everyone is capable of going right through the tournament.

“Hopefully it will be me that shows that over the next couple of weeks.”