Nick Fullwell is back on the PDC European Tour this weekend for the first time in more than three years, and is determined to prove himself on the big stage again.
The West Midlands-based thrower came through two rounds of qualifying in March to qualify for the Peperami Gibraltar Darts Trophy, which gets underway at the Victoria Stadium today (1pm).
Fullwell’s last appearance on the European Tour was in Germany back in 2013, where he beat both Jyhan Artut and Kevin Painter to reach the last 16 of the European Darts Trophy, before bowing out to the fourth seed Justin Pipe.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been in a European Tour event,” the 46-year-old said. “I’ve lost quite a few final qualifiers, but I managed to qualify for this one.
“I had a couple of good results to get through and I’m looking forward to going to Gibraltar. It’s one of the better European ones to qualify for in my opinion.
“I’m looking forward to proving myself again on the big stage, and hopefully competing at the higher level.”
Fullwell dropped off the main tour of the PDC at the end of 2013 but good performances at Q-School have enabled him to make several appearances in the Players Championship events.
Just a week after qualifying for Gibraltar, Fullwell enjoyed his best run in a PDC competition for nearly 18 months when he reached the semi-finals of a Challenge Tour event in Wigan.
“I’ve had a good start on the Challenge Tour this year,” he said. “I’m sat in 10th place on the Order of Merit, but then again that’s getting tougher and tougher.
“The standard has just gone through the roof. It’s different class with the youngsters coming through and a lot of players are finding it hard now. Players who have been there a long time and in the top 32, they’re seeing how difficult it is.
“I’m putting in a lot of practise most days of the week. I’m back to practising again, where I wasn’t before because I had a bit of an arm problem.
“But that seems to have cleared up now so I can put a lot more time in on the board.
“I went back to work a couple of years ago as a lorry driver. Starting at four o’clock in the morning and finishing at 11 or 12 and then I get the practise in then.
“Sometimes I’ll finish work and I’ll go and practise for three or four hours, so I’m missing out on sleep.
“But it’s something I’ve got to do to try and catch everyone else. You have to make sacrifices. If you don’t put the time in now you’re not going to get anywhere.”
2016 Peperami Gibraltar Darts Trophy Draw
First Round (Last 48)
N Fullwell v A Lopez
C Kist v C Reyes
A Hamilton v M Hopp
D van Duijvenbode v D Parody
M Rasztovits v S Beaton
M Walsh v S Bunting
J Pipe v J Lewis
G Federico v A Norris
D Gurney v D Pallett
G Price v D Francis
A Alcinas v S Kellett
R Smith v J Murnan
K Anderson v S West
J Henderson v W Jones
J Cullen v K Painter
R-J Rodriguez v J Wattimena
Second round (Last 32)
(1) M van Gerwen v Fullwell/Lopez
(16) M King v Kist/Reyes
(8) A Lewis v Hamilton/Hopp
(9) J Klaasen v van Duijvenbode/Parody
(5) K Huybrechts v Rasztovits/Beaton
(12) B van de Pas v Walsh/Bunting
(4) J Wade v Pipe/J Lewis
(13) G Anderson v Federico/Norris
(2) P Wright v Gurney/Pallett
(15) S Whitlock v Price/Francis
(7) I White v Alcinas/Kellett
(10) T Jenkins v Smith/Murnan
(6) D Chisnall v K Anderson/West
(11) R Thornton v Henderson/Jones
(3) M Smith v Cullen/Painter
(14) M Suljovic v Rodriguez/Wattimena