Ross Twell tells Alex Moss that his success on the Development Tour has been a humbling experience
After winning two events on the PDC Development Tour in Wigan last weekend, Ross Twell is quick to admit his recent achievements are still sinking in this week.
The 23-year-old, from the Lincolnshire market town of Sleaford, now sits at the top of the Development Tour Order of Merit and has put himself firmly in contention for one of the tour cards on offer to the two highest-placed finishers later this year.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “It wasn’t part of my plan this year to be the number one.
“The achievement I wanted to do was to try and win one of the Development Tour events and qualify for the World Youth Championship, because I missed out on it last year.
“The top two on the Development Tour at the end of the year get a tour card. I lost my tour card this year.
“I previously played on the Pro Tour for two years, but I didn’t go back to Q-School this year.
“I needed a bit of time away from it and to concentrate on one tour. Trying to do the Development Tour and the Pro Tour got a little bit too much at the time.
“I refocused myself for the Development Tour this year and it seems to have worked at the moment.
“There are players on the Development Tour who also have tour cards and they are thriving. Keegan Brown, Max Hopp are two players going far.
“There are so many good players on the tour and it’s still a huge learning curve for me. I’m learning every time I play.”
Twell tested himself on the PDC Challenge Tour in the summer of 2013, and despite not finding immediate success he entered Q-School the following year.
A run to the final qualifying round on the second day was enough to earn Twell a two-year tour card in the PDC.
It turned out to be a tricky two years for the Sleaford thrower, who picked up £2,500 on the main tour and subsequently lost his tour card. His best run came at the end of last year, when he beat Mervyn King to reach the last 32 of a Players Championship event in Barnsley.
Twell decided against going to Q-School in January to try and win back his tour card, instead focusing on playing the Development Tour and trying to regain the confidence lost from a barren two years on the PDC’s main tour.
A 4-2 win over Adam Hunt sealed his first win on the Development Tour in Germany last month, with that maiden success followed by a double in Wigan last weekend.
“I’d like to admit it’s a bit surreal to be fair,” Twell said. “(Winning two events at the weekend) is by far the highest achievement I’ve ever done.
“To win one of them and then to win two in a weekend is an absolute privilege, but three in such a short space of time is a bit of a dream come true.
“You’ve got the best youth talent in the world at these events. The names speak for themselves.
“Rowby-John Rodriguez, Dean Reynolds, Kurt Parry, they all play at these events.
“They’re so difficult to win. The scoring you see there is just unreal at times.”
After losing 4-1 to Jimmy Hendriks in the second round of the first tournament held on Saturday, Twell got revenge on the Dutchman by beating him 4-2 in the final of the second event later on that day.
“Lighting kind of struck twice with that,” he reveals. “My first win on the tour in Germany I lost to Adam Hunt in the first round and then I beat him in the final in the next event.”
Twell would have to come from behind to complete his Wigan double on Sunday though, battling back from 3-1 down to beat Luke Humphries 4-3 in the final.
“Last year I was suffering on the Pro Tour – I didn’t believe I could do it”
“It was a good comeback but also Luke did miss a couple of match darts,” he said. “Luke is such a nice lad, you’ve got a lot of friends there but you’ve got to forget about that.
“I rode my luck when he missed darts at 90 to win it and then after that he didn’t get another shot.
“It’s been a very humbling experience so far. There’s a bit of a break now before the next Development Tour weekend.
“I’m 23 now so this is my last year on the Development Tour. If a tour card comes my way at the end of the year it would be brilliant, if not I’m definitely looking to go back to Q-School and getting back on the Pro Tour next year.
“Last year on the Pro Tour I was suffering where I didn’t believe I could do it. I didn’t think I could mix it with the top players.
“My confidence is through the roof now and confidence is a key part of darts. I believe 99 per cent is in the head, if you are mentally right it helps you in difficult situations knowing you can take out the big finishes in matches.”