Darts: Rachel Brooks ‘buzzing’ after Lakeside run
Rachel Brooks says her second experience of Lakeside Country Club has left her more motivated than ever.
Brooks, from Wroot, made the final eight at the BDO World Darts Championships - her best performance yet on the Lakeside stage.
The 51-year-old lost to Sharon Prins of the Netherlands after a first round exit on her Lakeside debut last year.
After her 2-0 victory over Casey Gallagher, shown live on BT Sport, she moved into the last eight of the prestigious competition for the first time.
And she says the experience has left her wanting much, much more.
“I’m still buzzing from it really,” Brooks said.
“It was even better this time as I was more confident and more settled.
“I went and sat in the crowd and everyone is fantastic, they were supporting everyone and asking for autographs.
“I was like a kid in a sweet shop.”
Brooks, who only took up darts at the age of 45, says she is pleased with her continued improvement after a narrow 2-1 defeat to Prins, who in turn was beaten by tournament winner Lisa Ashton.
This year she will be looking to emulate her run to the World Masters final in 2013 - but admits she still needs to toughen up on the oche.
“It was harder to qualify this time around than it was last year, because people know who I am,” she said.
“I know I have to toughen up.
“I know you have to take a few disappointments in order to appreciate the good stuff.
“But I’m just excited to go again next year if I can qualify.
“With a bit more dedication and practice I should be able to do it.
“I know how you need to concentrate and keep composure because if you lose once or miss once, you’re out, but I’m so pleased I’m showing improvement.
The long road to qualification begins almost immediately for Brooks, who admits her rapid progress in the sport comes with a lot of hard work.
“I’ve got county darts before the Dutch Open at the end of January, followed by the World Trophy which I think I’m seeded for, which I also think is televised,” she said.
“It’s hard sometimes with all the travelling.
“Sometimes you only have time for a pot noodle in the hotel at night but it’s all worth it when you play at Lakeside. What a place!
“I couldn’t do it without my husband Tony, he keeps me practicing and keeps me on the ball.
“All the girls on the tour are so dedicated and so good which makes it very difficult.
“It’s difficult to play against your friends because I get along with them all so well.
“Sharon Prins is a good friend.
“She’s expecting a baby in a few weeks and I’m expecting a card!”
n The draw for the Dutch open is set to be announced on Monday with registration for the event now closed.
Both the ladies and mens competitions take place on January 31st, and the current champion of the ladies event is Dutch player Aileen de Graaf, who also bowed out of the championships at Lakeside in the quarter-final stage earlier this month, losing to beaten finalist Fallon Sherlock.