Ted Evetts has never gone beyond the last 32 of a senior PDC televised event
Following a trophy-laden campaign on the Development Tour, Ted Evetts is preparing for a different type of challenge as he embarks on a third successive World Championship appearance at Alexandra Palace this year.
Evetts’ haul of eight titles in 2019 saw him crowned Development Tour winner for the first time – sealing his World Championship qualification in the process.
The 22-year-old scooped at least one title every day on the Development Tour this season and he hopes to transfer that winning formula to the biggest darting stage of all.
“With the standard of the youth tour I’ve been quite lucky really, winning a tournament every weekend I’ve turned up – I don’t think anybody has done that before,” Evetts told the Darts Show podcast.
Luke Humphries’ World Youth Championship success last month provoked considerable debate surrounding age restrictions for those competing on the youth circuit, after the 24-year-old whitewashed 17-year-old Adam Gawlas in the final.
Michael van Gerwen credits the Development Tour for becoming the best player on the planet, as it gave the Dutchman the platform to regain his winning formula, having initially struggled after switching to the PDC as a 17-year-old.
Evetts acknowledges the varied demographic of the youth tour, yet, like Van Gerwen, ‘Super Ted’ admits the system has been invaluable for his confidence.
“It gives me the confidence to go into the Pro Tour and feeling like I can beat anyone,” he said. “There are other professional players on the youth tour and when you’re beating them in semi-finals, finals and so on, it is just giving you the boost to do the same on the tour with the older players as well.
Evetts has been beaten by Gerwyn Price and Adrian Lewis in his previous Alexandra Palace outings
“On the youth tour you can be quite lucky in the sense that some of the players have got a lack of experience, so you’re going to get extra opportunities there, whereas on the main tour you won’t. There’s a big range of talent on the youth tour.
“There are some players who are 16 who are just coming through and starting the game and then you’ve got players like Luke Humphries, Dimitri (Van den Bergh) in previous years – older players that already have that touch.”
The old adage of ‘there is no easy draw’ has certainly rung true for Evetts at the World Championship, as he has succumbed to Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price and two-time world champion Adrian Lewis in his previous two Ally Pally appearances.
He was beaten 3-0 by ‘The Iceman’ two years ago before registering his first World Championship win against Simon Stevenson last term, only to be denied by a clinical Lewis in round two.
It does not get any easier for Evetts, who could potentially face 11th-seed Mensur Suljovic in the second round of this year’s showpiece. Nevertheless, the Birmingham-born star remains in philosophical mood.
“You’re never going to get an easy draw or a passage through to the next round so I’m going up there planning to have my A-game ready,” he said.
“Every game we’re going to have up there is hard. My debut up there against Gerwyn Price was one to remember but sometimes not for the correct reason!
“After the first year, going into the second year, I got my first win and I was feeling more confident up there, going into the game against Adrian Lewis, who turned on a bit of form which was always a pleasure to watch, but not when it’s coming against you.
“Every final leg of each set it was all under 15 darts for him. Two of them were on his throw so they were more than hard to break. I was happy to be pushing him and he said some nice stuff after the game towards me: ‘Keep it up and your time will come’, which was really great to hear.”
However, before Evetts can contemplate a Suljovic showdown, he must first overcome former Lakeside finalist Fallon Sherrock – who came through the UK & Ireland Women’s qualifier last week.
Sherrock averaged over 99 in one tussle and also saw off four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton en route to qualification – averaging 109 after four legs of her tie against ‘The Lancashire Rose’.
Reigning women’s world champion Mikuru Suzuki and Sherrock will become the fourth and fifth women respectively to feature at a PDC World Championship, although a woman is still yet to register a victory in the event.
Having embraced the underdog tag against Price and Lewis, Evetts admits it will be a different challenge awaiting him against Sherrock, although he insists he is firmly focused on producing his best.
“Practice is going really well at the moment so I can’t complain, but it will definitely be different playing a lady because I haven’t played one for a very long while in any competition,” Evetts told Sky Sports.
“I’ve just got to treat it like any other game, hopefully play my best and put on a show. It will certainly be different because I’ve been quite fortunate with the crowd on my side, whether that be at the World Championship, the European Tour or anywhere really.
Fallon Sherrock and Mikuru Suzuki will be bidding to become the first women to win a match at the PDC World Championship
“If they’re against me it’s going to be what it will be, but fingers crossed they realise I’m actually an alright guy and don’t mind me too much.”
If Evetts requires any inspiration ahead of the biggest event on the calendar, he needs to no look further than last year’s Development Tour winner, Humphries.
‘Cool Hand’ had failed to record a solitary televised triumph prior to last year’s event but he produced a series of sparkling displays to progress to the quarter-finals.
It is a case of when, not if, Evetts enjoys a similar breakthrough and what better way to replicate the success of the World Youth champion by producing the goods on the biggest stage in world darts?
Check out daily Darts news on skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @skysportsdarts.
The action is back on your Sky Sports screens in December with the World Championship from Alexandra Palace. It all gets underway on Friday, December 13.