Ross Montgomery ended a two-and-a-half year BDO ranking title drought with victory in the Winmau Belgium Open on Sunday.
The Scotland captain’s last success had come in the Dutch Open back in February 2014, with final defeats in the World Trophy, Scotland National Championships and WDF World Cup Singles all following in the last 30 months.
Montgomery saw off the challenge of Northern Ireland’s Kyle McKinstry in the final, beating the ranking final debutant 3-1 to lift the trophy.
Speaking to the Daily Record earlier this week, the 53-year-old revealed it was his disappointing performance in Blackpool the previous weekend which forced his wife Dorothy to step in.
“In Blackpool I was shocking and I couldn’t hit a double if it was 10 foot wide,” he said.
“It was a really bad weekend and after that Dorothy gave me a real kick up the backside for how I was playing and my attitude.
“I’ve dropped down the rankings a bit in the last few months but she told me to get the finger out and let my darts do the talking instead of being too hard on myself in tournaments and letting things get to me.
“I listened to her and went into last week in a really positive frame of mind and her talking-to encouraged me to relax more and show people the kind of darts I’m capable of.”
Montgomery’s title-winning run in Antwerp began with wins over Bert Jan Mulder (4-2), Martin Steele (4-0) and Christoff Van de Wal (4-1), which set up a clash with Wesley Harms in the last 32.
After coming through a deciding leg to beat the German Masters champion 4-3, Montgomery saw off Willem Mandigers 4-2 to reach his third quarter-final of the season, but first since April.
The former Zuiderduin Masters winner then came through another decider, as he beat Scott Mitchell 5-4 to advance to his first ranking semi-final of the year.
And after a straight sets win over Jamie Hughes, Montgomery put an end to his ranking title drought by beating McKinstry (bottom right) 3-1 in the final.
It was a vital win for the Scot, who before last weekend was looking like failing to qualify for the World Championship next year.
But having now risen up to 21st in the Men’s Seasonal Invitational table, his hopes of returning to Lakeside once again are looking much healthier.
“My ranking was an added pressure going into the Belgium Open but this win has helped me rectify that,” he said.
“I relaxed more and I showed people the kind of darts I’m capable of”
“I’m in a position now where I don’t have any points to defend in my next few ranking events, whereas the players around me do, so I’m confident I will qualify for the Lakeside now.
“With the attitude I’m showing after this week you never know.
“I could even go and win another couple of events and end up being seeded for it.”
The BDO circuit continues this weekend with a quick return to Belgium for the Antwerp Open, where Montgomery will be hoping to build on Sunday’s win and further boost his chances of a 10th appearance in the BDO’s World Championship in January.
Jim Williams is the defending champion this weekend after he whitewashed Sven Verdonck 3-0 in last year’s final.
The tournament has seen nine different winners in the last nine years, with Jamie Hughes, Martin Adams, Joppe Bakens, Tony West, Stuart Kellett, Ian White, Andy Hamilton, Terry Jenkins and most recently Williams all having lifted the trophy since 2007.
◊ Elsewhere, this Sunday the BDO Champions Cup is being held at the Event City, in Manchester.